At Spirit, we love having the opportunity to meet our participants in person to hear about their BridgeUSA program experience firsthand. For our Work and Travel participants in Old Orchard Beach, this program has been an opportunity to learn about American culture, work a part-time job, and live their American dreams. Colleen, one of our Spirit representatives, recently visited a couple of our Host Employers in Maine and talked with the participants who are there. She enjoyed spending time with the participants and their American hosts and seeing the charming resort town herself.
At the first Host Employer, Colleen met with the owners and their six participants from the Dominican Republic. This employer is a hotel right across from the beach. The community itself is home to about 9,000 residents, with over 40,000 visitors in the summer. The hotel owners were very friendly and very happy with the participants.
One owner shared that she bought the participants ear pods so they can listen to music while working, as well as pants and shoes. She also provided bikes for transportation though housing is on site. The other owner overseas housekeeping and works closely with the participants. He enjoys working with them and views it as his responsibility to help teach them life skills.
The participants showed Colleen their housing. They were very pleased with the housing and had nothing but nice things to say about their hosts. They have been able to visit the local amusement park and go to Portland for a lobster boat tour. Colleen took them for pizza, and they shared more about what they are studying in school, their bewilderment of a cold beach, and lack of seasoning in American food. According to Colleen, “It was such a pleasure to visit with them and the Host Employer.”
At the second Host Employer, Colleen met the owner and our three Turkish participants who are placed there. This hotel is also across from the beach in a quieter part of town, and the owner was also very friendly. The participants and Colleen walked along the beach and chatted. They were very excited to receive Spirit sunglasses, and all had glowing things to say about their housing and host.
The owner provides bikes and all the things they need in their housing, including a few groceries. The participants were encouraged by the kindness of the people they had met and even though they knew housekeeping would be hard work, they were excited to be living out a childhood dream to be in the U.S.
Thank you to our fabulous Host Employers and to our participants for meeting with Colleen and sharing their experience!
Host Employers on the Work and Travel Program provide full-time seasonal employment to international students on break from their universities, as well as organize fun group activities to immerse participants in American culture.
International university students from around the world travel to the U.S. every year for 3-4 months to take part in a once in a lifetime opportunity to live and work in the USA. Participants work in a variety of seasonal positions at U.S. Host Employers nationwide while experiencing the people and way of life in the USA. You can learn more about the Work and Travel program here.
If you are interested in hiring Work and Travel participants, please consider being a Spirit Host Employer. Learn more about hosting Work and Travel participants.