Cultural Activities with Wilderness at the Smokies

June 13, 2019

Our Summer 2019 season has begun, and our participants have already been sharing all the cool things they’ve gotten to do in the United States so far! Many of these fun experiences have come from Sevier County, Tennessee, where our partner Trish from Wilderness at the Smokies has already planned so many cultural activities for our participants. You can read about their adventures in the Smoky Mountains below!

Anyone who knows Sevier County (which includes the towns of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville) knows that there is no shortage of fun things to do in the area!

Trish Cook, Talent Acquisition Manager at Wilderness at the Smokies, knows the area well and has been the perfect resource for helping participants get settled in and sharing all the natural beauty and endless entertainment that the Smoky Mountains have to offer.

From hiking the surrounding area to visiting unique tourist attractions, Trish has planned an assortment of cultural activities that our participants will remember for a lifetime. And it’s a lot of fun for Trish as well! “I love going out with the students!” she says.

Spirit Participants Visiting Cades CoveAbout her planned trip to Cades Cove, Trish told us, “Cades Cove was AWESOME! I got some good pics. We got caught in traffic for like 2 hours, because there was a bear that did not want to get out of the road! I always wanted to see a bear (not just in the zoo of course)! I was in a car behind the bus, the bus got up quite ahead of me, and the students got to see the bear! I’m glad they did, but I am jealous! It was so fun!”

Varintorn L. from Thailand agreed, saying, “I went to the Smoky Mountains with my employer and my friends. We went by bus of the Wilderness and ate American foods. It was very good and tasty. I liked to go the mountain so much because I saw American people picnicked in the national park.”


On another trip, Trish took the participants to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. “We had dinner at our buffet in Thirsty Miner for 2 hours, and then we headed to the Aquarium! It was a really fun time!” she told us.

Her participants had a blast. “We went to the aquarium with my partners and my employer. It was incredible. We saw a different kind of sharks. Amazing!” said Frandy F. from the Dominican Republic.

Shark at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies

These planned trips have given participants the confidence to go out and do their own exploring as well.

Darlin M. from the Dominican Republic said, “I went to the church with some friends to share a dinner with some American people. They were pretty good to us. I felt very good over there. We danced, met new people from another country, and we talked about our cultures.”

“I was with some American people in a restaurant, and we were talking and having fun,” said Ozan U. from Turkey.

Thanks to our awesome partner Trish, our participants at Wilderness at the Smokies have been able to settle comfortably into the Sevier County community and confidently form cross-cultural relationships with Americans as well as one another.

Check out more photos of these fun events below!