Working and Swimming near the Capital
By: Erin Nyhan, Work Programs Services Director and Kate Lapinski, Work and Travel Employer Services Manager
CCI arrived in Washington, DC, this August to visit our Summer Work & Travel participants working throughout Washington, Maryland and Virginia. We enjoyed seeing our participants on the job, and enjoyed learning about the challenges & successes of our program. Mainly, students commented that at the beginning there were some difficulties with the language, and confusion over why Americans are always saying, “Hi, How are you?”, as this caught the students off guard. After a few full nights of sleep and feeling more comfortable in their surroundings, however, everyone agreed they were making many new friends from the US and many other countries! One participant mentioned that “it was a lot of information, but I learned, even from the boarding pass in the airport – I’ve never traveled before!”
We caught Bartosz from Poland just after he finished vacuuming the pool where he works. Bartosz is part of a SWT family legacy – his brother participated in 2008, and had rave reviews about his awesome lifeguarding job in the DC area. Bartosz always wanted to visit the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia, as he is an avid 76ers fan. At home in Poland he wakes up at night just to watch the NBA. Although he does ‘like’ Derrick Rose, his professional of preference is Wilt the Stilt Chamberlain! Bartosz was hired at the CCI Job Fair in Poznan, and traveled to his position by way of NYC, where, he quips, “you have to see it but it’s tooooooo crowded!” Bartosz’s experience as a lifeguard in the US has taught him that Americans are very hard working – the pool is most crowded in the evening, after work hours.
Eugenia from Moldova was working at a pool in a gated community where some ‘American royalty’ (the Kennedys!) are rumored to have a home! She was very happy at the pool, and even has a welcoming chalkboard so guests feel more comfortable approaching her. CCI was greeted with a warm & welcoming smile, it was wonderful! In her free time, Eugenia goes to museums with her friends, and was astonished to learn they are FREE in DC! So far the Air & Space museum is her favorite. She plans on visiting more museums in the DC area during her travel period before returning to Chisinau for university.