By: Kevin Smith, Work and Travel Summer 2014 Ambassador Scholar

Kevin Smith is a Work and Travel participant from Jamaica, working in Harrisburg, PA. In his fourth blog post, he shares his experience living in Harrisburg.

When I traveled to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for the first time in the summer of 2012, I was completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of things that one could do in the city. Living on a small island for most of my life and only having visited the United States for short periods of times in the past, I found myself dazed living in a city like Harrisburg. I had three months to take part in so many activities, many of which I had only seen on American movies and TV shows. Since my first year I have had the ability to explore Harrisburg and its adjacent towns and communities, allowing me to share what a typical day in my host community entails.

One of the things I love about Harrisburg is that there are numerous day and night activities that are easily accessible for city dwellers. For example, on any typical day you can go to City Island and play baseball or go for a quick jog. There are several bookstores in walking distance of the downtown city center so you have a safe area to read and relax. During the day, you can go camping, swimming, hiking and play many different sports on the campgrounds of resorts in the Harrisburg area. These activities are very health, but they are even better when you share them with your friends, which can result in an incredibly exciting experience.

However, an important caveat to traveling in the Harrisburg area that I have found is that if you do not have a car, transportation is very difficult as you will have to rely very heavily on the bus system. This means that during a typical day, you should be prepared to spend a significant portion of your day in a bus. That being said, the bus system is very good with its well-defined routes. The buses are usually on time so the experience is not uncomfortable.

If you want to avoid traveling altogether, downtown Harrisburg has a great nightlife with many bars and clubs lining 2nd Street. What makes the nightlife so interesting is the sheer variety of places that one can go, including the vast number of different restaurants with ethnic foods from countries in Europe and the Middle Eastern. There is an IMAX movie theater in the heart of the city so you can watch movies with your friends right next door, which is very convenient. All of these culminate to an experience that is very enjoyable. It sums up what a day in my host community is like: one that is filled with interesting places and memorable moments.

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