First Video

Hallo, dear readers!

This post is not connected to the topic of my blog. In our Multimedia Journalism class we are learning how to shoot videos and how to edit them. It is really exciting. We had the task to find someone who we can shoot. Well, my group and I found one cute little boy playing tennis. The video is not good quality ( I know, I know), but we are still learning! I have to mention that the video has nothing to do with the blog’s topic, it is just a trial. I promise, my next one will be much better!

Keep reading my blog! My next post is coming soon!

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Work(out), Travel, and Enjoy!

Hallo, dear worker, travelers and followers! After Wisconsin we are heading to Wyoming.

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Middle May Snow.Vera (first girl from the left) and her co-workers. (Personal Archive)

But before that, let me introduce you my guest this week. Her name is Vera Daskalova. She is a sophomore at AUBG and she is planning to major in Business Administration and Information Systems. She spent her Work and Travel summer in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Vera was there for around three months (from the beginning of May till the middle of August). She went in the States because she wanted to earn her own money …and to spend them. And guess what- she spent them all- she returned with two suitcases one with overload luggage (later on you will have the chance to see what did she put in them). Money, of course, is not the single reason why my guest decided to spend her summer in the States- she chose her destination wisely and it perfectly fitted her expectations- a place where she can have some rest from the city life and all its buzz, and meet new people. Vera was working only as a housekeeper at one resort and she was making around 50 to 55 hours per week. Three weeks after her arrival, her employer made Vera responsible for the most expensive sector of the resort- where the rooms’ prices were going up to $700 per night.

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Housekeeping is not only about cleaning. (Personal Archive)

Vera says that housekeeping is a physically demanding job, especially for girls who are not used to such tension. However, for Vera lifting heavy mattresses was not a problem because she is working out on a daily basis! Many sport addicts are afraid that when they go to the States they will not have the opportunity to work out… No excuses for this girl, however – not only did she work out regularly, but also tried to incorporate some of the most popular basic exercises ( squat, and lunges) in her working time. As a person who tries to lead a healthy lifestyle, Vera confesses she is  not a fan of the food in the States. There she ate mostly veggies and fruit but still she gained four kilograms, which she immediately lost when she came back home.

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A Note from Customers (Vera’s Personal Archive)

One of her best days was when she received $160 tips from just one room. She was really happy not only because of the money, but also because this meant her customers appreciated the effort she was putting in! One month Vera got the recognition for the best employee of the month! She received a free dinner at the fancy restaurant of the hotel she was working for. At the dinner she invited one of her friends and they spent a really nice time there making a bill of $200!

Favorite things she bought–  a camera and a laptop but her most favorite objects are the ones connected to the sport- CDs with workouts led by her (and mine) fitness guru- Zuzana Light (I also strongly recommend them!). Of course, she bought Nike’s trainers… three pairs of them! She bought a lot of supplements, vitamins and sport apparel .

“They are not only cheaper in the States but also better quality, as far as i know.”, explains Vera

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Salt Lake City (Vera’s Personal Archive)

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Vera in Yellowstone National Park (Personal Archive)

Vera’s best memory was her trip to the Yellowstone National Park. She and other six people went there by car. She was impressed with the gazers and the nature there as a whole and she strongly recommends it as a destination for all nature-loving students! Vera had the chance to see wide range of animals- bison, moose, elks, bears, foxes, and different birds. My guest also did a trip to Salt Lake City for three days (just before her flight back home). She was amazed by the city, more particularly by its architecture, and what grabbed her attention the most were the Mormons. There were a lot of them on the streets.

“The girls were dressed like old ladies, the boys, however wore suits. I even had the chance to talk to them!”, Vera explains.

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Last Staff Party (Personal Archive)

Her  last day was her worst from emotional point of view. She had to say goodbye to all of the people she met there. Besides, she met her boyfriend there (yes, there is always time forlove) and although she knew she will see him after a couple of months it was a hard moment for her. According to Vera:

A summer without a love affair is a wasted summer!

Although she has some other plans for the upcoming summer, Vera would like to go back on a Work and Travel program one more time. She is not sure if she will return to the same place but she is certain that she wants to go somewhere in the nature again, because she loved it.

Vera recommends the Work and Travel program to the students because in her opinion it is a way for people to get to know a different culture and to meet new people.

 

 

 

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A Dream Coming True

Hallo, dear workers, travelers and followers! It is time for my second post and I cannot wait to introduce you my guest! Her name is Anna Bashuk. She is a junior from Russia and she is studying Journalism and Mass Communication and “possibly” (she says) – Political Science. Although she was on Erasmus exchange last semester, she found a way to go on a Work and Travel again! Yes- this was her second summer there. She went to the same place –Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, and one of her jobs was the same, as well!

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Anna (Personal Archive)

This year Anna was working at the front desk at a hotel again. She was checking people out and in and she shares that though it sounds easy it is not:

“We had about 30 hotels so it was pretty busy every day”

Anna and her co-workers at the hotel (Personal Archive)

Anna (first girl from the left) and her                              co-workers at the hotel (Personal Archive)

Coming back again at the same place did not only saved Anna the fee for a contract but it gave her a raise in the salary with $0.25. Not a big difference- true. But Anna shared that even a small amount like that makes a difference if you have overtime.Anna was also working as a server at a seafood restaurant in the afternoons. The restaurant was a seasonal one- working only from June until September, which is exactly what she was looking for!

Usual working day for Anna was: Waking up at 5.50 in the morning. Going to work at the hotel at 7am. Working there until 5pm. Coming back home to change uniforms and then at 5.30 pm starting the other job up unitil 11 pm.The biggest problem, according to her, was that she never had a full day of this year! Twice she called in sick for her second job because she felt that she needed to rest and she wanted to see some places in town. So, for those of you who think that going on a Work and Travel in the States is just a regular working experience, get ready to work a lot! Although Anna was working way more hours (around 10 per day) at the hotel, emotionally and physically she felt better there, because the people she was helping at the front desk were more polite in general (tough once one guest made her cry, but it is another story). She also liked the fact that at the hotel she had the chance to meet variety of people- from all over the States, and from Europe as well!

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Anna and customers at the restaurant (Personal Archive)

Anna had one little tradition on her days (or should I say half days) off: she used to devote around two hours for skyping- both with her mom and her boyfriend. Then, she would go to the bank to deposit her check and after that she used to go to pick up the things she had ordered online.

Comparing summer 2013 to summer 2014: First time she went to the States to see the cultural difference. ” I don’t have this American dream“, categorically said Anna.  She met a lot of people and she spent a great time. However, though she went to the same place, she did not feel the same way. Despite the fact that last year Anna used to work until 1am and she got three or four hours of sleep, she felt this summer the exhaustion was much bigger. She does not regret her decision to return , though.

A bad memory: Anna remembered that once the hotel went out of power. She got really scared! There were many people waiting to be helped but it was not possible.

“They were waiting for us and we were waiting for the electricity. We were not able to do anything!”

Customers were impatient. At some point she just sat under the dask because she was shaking from all the chaos.

Best memory: Anna got really excited about the topic and she started to talk as if she was living through the moment again:

“… 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”

Anna at the concert (Personal Archive)

Anna at the concert (Personal Archive)

Anna and her friends were at the concert at 3 pm and they had to wait up until 9 pm before Linkin Park got on stage. But do not be left with the impression that they got bored waiting for their favorite band- some local band was playing during that time and… Thirty Seconds to Mars, as well!  With a huge smile on her face Anna shared to me that for her it was a really special concert not only because it was her first time seeing her favorite band but also because of the fact that it was in the States!

For her, this concert was a dream coming true! And with the same excitement she was talking about it she shared that it was not only her best memory for the summer but probably for years!

Anna did not make a trip. She is not sure if she is going on Work and Travel but if she does she would go to the same place just because she already knows it.

Three words to describe her 2014 summer: One Crazy Week! (the one with the concert)

Best thing she bought: a sport suit for her father who really wanted one and a watch for herself that she did not buy last year since it seemed expensive to her. She corrected her mistake, though, and got herself this gift! Anna deserves it anyways, doesn’t she?!

 

All in all, Anna recommends to students to try Work and Travel because, according to her it is a chance to become more independent.

Interested in more Work and Travel stories? Follow me on facebook and twitter:

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A Summer Full of Emotions

Hallo, dear followers! Are you excited to see who is going to be the first person sharing his story for my blog? Well, I am not going to keep the secret anymore- Ivan Hristov.

Ivan in New York (Personal Archive)

Ivan in New York (Personal Archive)

Ivan is a sophomore at AUBG. He is double majoring in Business Administration and Political Science and he is also doing a Minor in Fine Arts. This summer was his first chance to try the Work and Travel program and he did not miss this opportunity. For a destination, Ivan chose Southampton, located on Long Island, New York. He spent there his whole summer (from May until the beginning of September). He was working as a bus guy in two restaurants. However, the interesting part of his summer was not directly connected to his jobs.

Everything happened from the day he arrived – May 10. He and his Bulgarian friends landed in New York and the man who was responsible for their housing and jobs took them with his minivan. Here came the first issue,although not a big deal- the van was for six people but they were 13 all together. “I felt something was wrong“, Ivan said. Not a long after they headed to New York, the man lighted some weed and he even offered them. “Of course- we refused“, Ivan immediately made it clear! But the surprises for the day did not come to an end- when they arrived at the place there were not two house for 20 people but just one that is designed to suit 10. Tired and not having any other option, the students slept in one room, which according to Ivan, was with the size of a Scapto room. The next five days the Bulgarians spent in six different hotels, which was neither a pleasant nor a cheap option, but they did not have any other. Yet, this was not the worst thing- the owners of the restaurants did not know that they are coming and it seemed that the contracts they had were all fake! On the sixth day, however, there was some light in the tunnel- the guy that brought them from New York found them a new house. Perfect end, you might think… but the most interesting part is to come!

Ivan noticed some police signs around the house and he decided to google it. What he found was unbelievable- the previous owners of the house were drug dealers and pimps. Then, when Ivan went to check his room he found some objects like diapers, cut women hair , which were obviously not the things you expect to find in your room when you go on such a program! Doesn’t it look like a story from a movie?! Well, wait to see what is about to come…

Ivan and the other Bulgarians became friends with another man who was promising to help them. The climax of the problems came one night when the man who was taking care of them and the new guy they met had a fight. And… this was not just a regular fight- they started shooting each other in front the students. Thanks God- no one got hurt!

The Police Checking the House ( Personal Archive)

The Police Checking the House        (Personal Archive)

Three weeks after his arrival, Ivan felt it was high time do something. As a member of the Rotary Club, Ivan had the genius idea to go on one of their meetings. He was kindly welcomed and the vice president let him speak in front everybody. Using his public speaking skills and having in mind that he was emotional about the things that were happening, he managed to touch the hearts of all the people there.

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“, Ivan remembered.

And the salvation came- members of the club found a new house and jobs for the students, and gave them money which Ivan used to cover some expenses for all of them. Ivan told me that he saved around $300 which he will invest in a project for the Rotary Club here in Bulgaria. “So if it wasn’t for this Rotary Club I don’t know what would happen with us!“, Ivan shared. After the help of the club, everything changed for the better! According to Ivan- if you are part of an organization, you are never alone.

After the worst moments during his summer, it is high time to mention Ivan’s best ones. He went to New York City three times and made his dream become true! On one of his visits he attended a Yankees game and felt the spirit of a typical American sports fan! Moreover, since the restaurant he was working at was a fancy one, Ivan had a chance to meet VIPs like Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, Johnny Depp, Jon Bon Jovy and Alec Baldwin…

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Yankees Game (Personal Archive)

Happy Ivan is Working (Personal Archive)

Happy Ivan is Working (Personal Archive)

After all, Ivan shared that this was definitely his most emotional summer and he will not miss the chance to come back there not only because the things that happened made him more mature but also because of all the good memories he had after the not so happy beginning. Ivan is advising all students who are on a doubt whether to go or no not to miss this opportunity!

Personal Archive

Personal Archive

I hope the summer story of Ivan Hristov was interesting for you, dear followers. Remember that in even the hardest situation there is hope that things will get better and you should never give up! Do not be scared of what Ivan shared. Some troubles in our lives happen as a reminder to us that we often take the most important things for granted! Never stop dreaming; never stop thanking for each day! See you next week with another Work and Travel story!

Interested in more Work and Travel stories? Follow me on facebook and twitter:
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About the Blog

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What did you do this summer? Most of the AUBG students will answer that they were working in the United States. However this does not mean they all have one and the same experience since the country with the unlimited opportunities has so much to offer.

My name is Elena, a junior at AUBG, and I myself have been working in the States for two consecutive summers. In 2013 I was working in Wildwood, New Jersey, while this summer I chose to go to Nantucket, Massachusetts. These are just two destinations from the endless list which the agencies offer for Work and Travel programs and they left me with experience which made me grow mentally and memories that will never forget.

With this blog I want to give students who have never been on a Work and Travel program a perception of what is it. Of course, for those who already have tried it, the blog will be a chance to compare their experience to the one of the others. Every week AUBG students will share their stories, best and worst memories and their overall impression. Therefore, if you are curious to see numerous points of view about the Work and Travel adventure, you are more than welcome to visit this blog regularly!

Interested in more Work and Travel stories? Follow me on facebook and twitter:
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