WAT of a Non-AUBG-er

Hallo dear followers ,workers, travelers, and fall breakers!

The break is almost over but I am here with a fast post. Being home for a week, I decided to interviewed my brother, Stefan Donchev, about his Work and Travel experience during the summer of 2013. He is almost 24 now and he already got a Bachelor degree in Finance from the Economy University in Varna.

Stefan in Central Park, New York City (Personal Archive)

Stefan in Central Park, New York City (Personal Archive)

During the summer of 2013 he went on a Work and Travel program in Wildwood, New Jersey. The issues started from the beginning: Firstly, he and one of his best friends were supposed to go to another place however, on the job fair they attended in March 2013 they were told there are no more working places. Therefore, they chose Wildwood, a town my brother’s friend had already visited the summer before. I was also happy that they were going in Wildwood, since I was going there as well ( my first WAT experience). Everything was ok until my brother’s friend did not get a visa and my brother was supposed to travel alone. He was quite disappointed about the fact and almost on the edge of giving up to go in the States… but he did.

When I asked my brother to tell me in short about his work experience he started like that:

“Well, you know well that I had some issues changing and finding jobs. However, I did not give up and finally I succeeded”

My brother quitted his first job since he did not like it at all and he had some troubles with the sponsor agency, but he managed to find another contract and dealt with the situation. Before that, however, he switched quite a few jobs:

“At the beginning I changed my jobs since I did not like them- the place, the people, the conditions. I could not imagine working there for the whole summer. It is not only about money, therefore I decided to search until I find something which suits me.”

My brother and his roomates having a night off. (Personal Archive)

My brother and his roomates having a night off. (Personal Archive)

And he did – finally, he was working as a bus boy and a beach taxi driver, making around 80-90 working hours per week.

“I actually enjoyed being a bus guy, since my co-workers (mostly Bulgarians ) were really nice and we had fun while working. Driving this beach taxi was quite exhausting because I was constantly exposed to the sun and when the weather was bad my boss used to send me home, which sometimes I didn’t like, but there was nothing I can do.”

As for Wildwood, my brother liked it becasue it is a small town and many students go there to work. Still, it is a crazy place- night life, graduating seniors, a long Boardwalk full of people. However, if you really want to make money, be aware that New Jersey is not a place famous for its high salaries.

My brother shared that his worst moments in the States were connected to the period while he was dealing with the sponsor agency (since they were threatening to terminate him). The best moments for him were the trips he made: several times to Atlantic City, NJ (thank you for patience while shopping with me, bro :D) and a final three-day staying in New York City.

Me, one of our roommates and my brother (Personal Archive)

Me, one of our roommates and my brother (Personal Archive)

“My dream was to visit New York  City and although I did not have the best summer in my life, the moment my feet stepped in New York I felt so excited and happy that I thought every struggle I faced was worth it.”

In the Metropolian Museum of Art, New York City (Personal Archive)

In the Metropolian Museum of Art, New York City (Personal Archive)

Comming back to the summer of 2013, my brother does not regret trying the WAT experience. On the contrary- now he remembers only the good moments and the friendships he made.

“I recommend going on WAT at least once beacuse you mature and get stronger in a psychological way.”

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Halfway Through

Hallo dear followers, workers and travelers!

Today’s post will not be the usual interview with someone who has experienced the Work and Travel adventure but it will rather be a summary of what does the blog contain so far and the things I’ve learned in my Multi Media Journalism class.

To start with, it is the first time in my life that I am using WordPress. At the beginning it was something new, unknown and kind of difficult, but after a while I understood how to work with it and now I don’t feel uncomfortable anymore.

I decided to make a blog which will not only be interesting but also helpful for students. Since many AUBG-ers are going in the States during the summer break, I chose the topic of my blog to be connected to the Work and Travel program.

One of the things we learned in the first classes is how to make a slideshow. Although it is quite easy, it looks nice in a post and gives visual information to the reader. Here you can see the people who I interviewed so far:

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The first story that I posted was that of Ivan Hristov. He had an adventurous summer- his job offer appeared to be fake, he witnessed a shooting fight, he had nowhere to sleep… However, as in the fairy tales there was a happy end- Ivan and his friends were helped by the local Roteract Club.

I explained them everything, I explained how I spent all my life helping people by this organization and now it’s time this organization to help me“, remembers Ivan.

This was the first post in which I put audio. I learned how to work with audio editing program and how to upload audio files on soundcloud.

My second interviewee was Anna Bashuk. She went to Wisconsin, Dells for a second consecutive summer. This year she fulfilled one of her dreams- to go on Linkin Park concert:

“… it was August 29. That was the day when I decided that I should stop saving money for school related stuff and I bought myself tickets to the concert of my favorite band, which is Linkin Park, and I went to their concert in Chicago, Illinois

Vera's Favorite Nikes

Vera’s Favorite Nikes

My third post was the story of Vera Daskalova. She spent her summer in a National park. The interesting part of her story is that she did not go so much for the money but for the adventure and experience. She spent a nice summer managing to combine work, fun, training and… love . : “A summer without love affair is a wasted summer“, Vera said.

My next post presented the story of Mario Grachenov. He spent two summers in Nantucket, a destination that is a desire for many Work and Travel enthusiasts. What was interesting about his story is the fact that Mario did not push to the limits to work as many hours as possible, on the contrary- he worked enough and managed to get the most of his summer and to make a travel around many States. In this post I put a five-shot video with Mario. Thanks to it, I realized that I enjoy shooting and I am really eager to continue learning more in this sphere. I always ask my blog guests about their best and worst memories during the summer. On the question of the worst moments, Mario was certain:

“I enjoyed the summer at a top level. All the memories I have right now are only good ones.”

While Mario did not work crazy hours, my last guest before the break- Adri Llapi did! He was in Martha’s Vineyard for a second year and he was working over 100 hours per week. Still, he managed to enjoy his summer and he is considering going back there next year.

 “ I would recommend it to everyone because you learn so many new things. You learn how to survive by yourself”, Ardi said.

What I also learned from the course so far is that Twitter is a vital social media, although here in Bulgaria we do not use it a lot. However it is important if you want others to know about you, to promote ideas, campaigns, etc.

What is coming next? Well, more WAT stories, more adventures and more things to learn, I guess. As for this post, I decided to interview someone who has not been on a Work and travel yet, but is willing to try. In this short video you can watch Iva Naumova, a junior, explaining in a nutshell why did she not go to the States:

Iva Naumova enjoying the weather outside while sudying.

Iva Naumova enjoying the weather outside                                                while sudying.

As you saw: you can always wait and make up your mind before deciding to try the WAT program. Naumova does not regret that she devoted her summer to an internship but she is definitely eager to try the program since she thinks it will test her psychological sthrenght and will leave her with a completly different experiencce from this that the internship gave her.

This is it for now. See you after the break! Meanwhile, follow me on facebook and twitter:

https://www.facebook.com/aubgWAT

https://twitter.com/aubgWAT

WAT? Promotions?

Hallo dear followers! Today we have an assignment to shoot a video and write a blog post about some news regarding the topic of our blog. Well, there are no recent news around Work and Travel programs, since most of them appear when the Job Fairs start. However, I found a topic that is relevant to the subject and it is about the promotions which the WAT agencies are offering.

There are many Work and Travel agencies in Blagoevgrad that students from the American University in Bulgaria can choose. Each of them is offering promotions like : “Apply by the end of October to get the lowest price”. Then, when the promotion is over, a new one appears: “Apply by the end of November to get the lowest price”. 

I interviewed Sezen Hodzha, a sophomore at AUBG to share her opinion about the ongoing promotions and about the agencies:

“If you are not sure that you really want to go, better make up you mind and do not rush. Make sure that this is really what you want.”

Sezi (as her friends call her) was quite skeptical about these promotions. She shared that she applied for WAT in January, 2014 and she still got the same price that one of her friends paid, the difference- her friend applied in October. What Sezi recommends to the students is to go in the agencies’ offices and see the staff. She says, since the prices of all the agencies are almost the same, it is better to pick the one which staff the students find helpful and nice.

“Instead of looking through the prices, better see the agencies’ employees, since they are the one to help you through the your summer adventure.”

Here is my news package about the story:

 

And not run away from the traditions of my blog, here you can hear Sezi sharing her best memory during her Work and Travel summer, which she spent working in Provincetown, Massachusetts:

Sezi looking through the agencies’ leaflets:

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Work Hard, Enjoy Your Summer

Hallo, dear followers, workers and travelers! From Nantucket, Massatchusets, we are taking hte fast ferry straight to another island in the same state- Martha’s Vineyard.

My guest today is Ardi Llapi. He is from Albania, and he is a junior at the American University in Bulgaria, studying Business Administration.

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Ardi in New York (Personal Archive from 2013)

Ardi went to the same place for a second consecutive year. This time he spent three and a half months in the States. Ardi’s first job was at a cheese and charcuterie store, in the customer service section. His second one he found in a restaurant where he was working as a line cook, doing appetizers. When I asked Ardi which job did he enjoyed more and why, without thinking too long he answered that he preferred the second one simply because he really enjoys cooking! [Attention, ladies! 🙂 ]

Ardi said that he returned to Martha’s Vineyard because he wanted to experience the same things he did last summer. Here you can hear him comparing summer 2013 to summer 2014:

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Ardi at Work (Personal Archive)

Ardi shared that he had a lot of friends there- Martha’s is full of AUBG students during the summer, plus, he made a lot of friends there.

“Sadly, I didn’t have so much time to hang out, though.”

Ardi did not make a trip in the States since he had plans to travel during this fall break.

Ardi’s typical days off (although not so many) consisted primarily of taking rest. However, when he had time he enjoyed jet skiing with friends.His best memory was connected to one night when he and his friends went to the beach, where they had a good time, letting the steam off from so much work. As for a worst memory- Ardi did not have a particular one during this summer but he shared that he remembers when once he was late for work with one hour and his boss yelled at him. He was really upset about it, after all- we are all human beings and things like that happen.

When I asked him whether he recommends the Work and Travel program to other students, Ardi answered:

“Yes I would recommend it to everyone because you learn so many new things. You learn how to survive by yourself.”

At the end of our interview, Ardi shared some thoughts about his experience in the States:

“What I learned this summer is that nothing is impossible. I was working 105 hours per week because I had three jobs. I had my own motivation. It was hard because I didn’t get enough sleep during the summer but I made it. I achieved my goal and I am  proud of myself.”

He shared that he would like to go back to his favorite island next summer as well since, despite of the hard work, he managed to enjoy his summer!

A little bit off topic but here you can see Ardi studying Bulgarian language, since he thinks it is important to know the native language of the country you are living in. (And by the way, the watch which he is wearing is his favorite thing that he bought in the States this summer)

As you can see, dear readers, if you are willing to work during the summer- you can do over a hundred working hours per week and still enjoy your time! But before taking this cardinal decision, keep reading my blog posts for other Work and Travel stories.

Meanwhile, follow me on facebook and twitter:

https://www.facebook.com/aubgWAT

https://twitter.com/aubgWAT

One Work and Travel Summer at a Top Level

Hallo dear followers, workers, and travelers!

This week’s post will send you to one of the most desired Work and Travel destinations among students from the American University in Bulgaria. It’s an Island in the state of Massachusetts, also known as the “far away land”… it is Nantucket!

Well, after revealing the place it is time to mention who is going to share his summer experience on the island. He is a well-known figure at university. He is the President of the Student Government, or simply said- he is Mario Grachenov. Mario is an active member of a few clubs on and off campus and I am pretty sure that every student knows him- if not personally, at least by his appearance.

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Mario (Personal Archive)

But let’s start with Mario’s summer story- something that not everyone knows, but I guess many of you are willing to read about. Mario went on the same place as last year- Nantucket (as I already mentioned). This summer he stayed there for ten weeks. When I asked Mario why did he returned to the island he explained that way:

“I just felt in love with that place and promised to myself that  I’ll be back and probably my best memory during this summer was the moment when I was in Hyannis and bought the ferry ticket to Nantucket. I just felt so happy that after one year I’m back to that place.”

Mr. President (as I like to call him) was working at the bar and sometimes serving food and cocktails at a fine-dining restaurant. He shared that the place was one of the busiest on the island. He did not have another job but sometimes he was helping in a window cleaning company which was ran by a Bulgarian living on the island year-round.

“I know him from the time when he was still living in Bulgaria and playing soccer with me in one and the same team. So sometimes he was pretty busy and he needed some help and as a person who he could trust he was calling me for that.”

Mario’s typical working day started at 5pm and usually lasted no more than five or six hours! He was working around 35-40 hours per week and “in extremely cases around 50” (surprise, surprise: work and travel does not always mean working the whole day all summer long and then if you are not so exhausted traveling a few days before coming back to college…). What Mario loved about his job is that after the working day he and his co-workers used to gather together for some dinks and nice chats. He also loved the time spent helping the window-cleaning company. His co-workers there were mainly Bulgarian guys and you can make your own conclusions about the fun they were having while cleaning.

His free time (which was more than enough for a program like Work and Travel) Mario spend exploring the beauty of the island. He enjoyed fishing, water-skiing, surfing, and many other beach related activities. Of course, needless to say he went partying when he had the mood and Nantucket is offering a lot of clubs where one can chill and have fun after a tough working day…week…month.

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Mario Ejnoying His Free Time (Persnal Active)

When I asked him about his worst memory during this summer, Mario spent some time thinking but he could not find any moment that left in his mind bad memories :

“I enjoyed the summer at a top level. All the memories I have right now are only good ones.”

As for the travelling part of Mario’s summer, I may say that he did a great job! He visited Boston, Connecticut, Texas, Chicago, Las Vegas, New York, Provincetown and Martha’s Vineyard.

Welcome to Las Vegas (Personal Archive)

Welcome to Las Vegas (Personal Archive)

“However, none of these can be compared to Nantucket- there is just an unique spirit and atmosphere which you can’t find anywhere else.”

What were the best things Mario bought? He just said:

“They weren’t anything material, they were the trips I did around the states and the things I saw in each of the cities I visited.”

Mr Grachenov shared he cannot wait for the summer of 2015 because he wants to go back to Nantucket again, see his friends, have fun and do his yearly trip around the States!

Mario is recommending the Work and Travel program to all students. According to him it is an opportunity not only to earn money, but also to meet new people, cultures, traditions and to travel.

iIn this short video you can check out three of the things that Mario missed in the States :
1. Eating his favorite chicken bites 2. Watching TV 3.Arranging meetings via social media

 

 

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Me and Mario Having Fun in Nantucket                                              (Personal Archive)

Before saying goodbye until the next week I would like to spend some space in my blog post to say a hugeTHANK YOU to Mario! I was also in Nantucket this summer and I can honestly say that he was part of many of my good memories there. Good moments cannot be bought- you live them and then the only think you have left is the feeling and the smile you have when you think of them!

See you next week with another Work and Travel story!
Meanwhile follow me on twitter and facebook:

https://twitter.com/aubgWAT

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