Meet the Summer Work & Travel Students Working at CIEE Portland this Summer

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We're happy to have 18 Work & Travel USA participants from around the globe working with us this summer at CIEE Portland. 


Evelina is from Balti, Moldova, the second largest city in the country and also known as "The Northern Capital". Her native language is Romanian, but she also speaks Russian fluently. As a second year student in Architecture at Universitatea Politechnica Timisoara,
most of her hobbies have been relegated to designing, studying architecture projects and almost everything related to visual arts the last couple of years; however, she also really enjoys swimming, jogging and good conversation. Being introduced to new ideas, thoughts and feelings is the main reason she has chosen to join us this year for Work & Travel.


Emel is a student in Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, where she studies International Trade. Although she has enjoyed living in Istanbul for 12 years, she has lived in different cities of Russia and Ukraine before the age of 8, making her fluent in the languages of those countries as well. Emel’s biggest hobby is Turkish folk dances, specifically zeybek, a dance which is unique to Turkey’s Aegean Region.  She has been dancing for two years now and is a member of her university’s Zeybek Team. A link to one of her performances is here:  


Natalia is originally from the small city of Magadan, Russia, an area which she describes as having majestic, beautiful nature, and a terrain similar to Alaska (that would make sense, since Magadan is closer to Alaska than her current residence of Moscow!). Naturally she speaks Russian, but also studies English and German, as her discipline is Linguistics and Translation. She participated on the WAT program last year in Mackinaw City, Michigan, and loved interacting with people as a sales assistant. Natalia is an avid sports fan (NHL, Formula One), enjoys yoga and athletics, and is pretty much interested in anything related to America (culture-wise in particular), such as movies and screenwriting.


Darya joins us from Kharkov (aka Kharkiv), Ukraine. She is a second year student in the country’s National Law University, where she majors in international law. This is Darya’s first summer in the USA! She is an active runner and looks forward to exploring Portland by foot (which is the best way to explore it, anyway). She also likes to draw portraits of her friends, relatives, and in her words, “just beautiful people.”


Deniz joins us as a Political Science and International Relations major at Istanbul Aydin University. He also studied European Studies and International Relations at the Metropolitan University Prague (Czech Republic) as an exchange student for one term. Deniz previously participated in the WAT program last year as a ride operator at Carowinds, North Carolina. It was such a great experience, he just had to come back! He is looking forward to forging new connections with people from around the world, not to mention being back in the land of donuts and hamburgers 


Sena is also from Turkey, born and raised in beautiful Izmir. She wants us to know that Izmir is known as "The Pearl of the Aegean Region,” and it almost never snows there! [Editor’s Note: Rub it in, why don’t you??]Besides speaking Turkish and English, she is also learning Japanese and knows a little bit of French and German too. Sena is seeking a double major in Translation & Interpreting and International Relations. It’s her first time in the Work and Travel program and with CIEE; among her cultural experience wishes are to try Maine seafood, and to fulfill a running joke with a friend by visiting a Walmart. She has a pet budgie named Fistik, which is Turkish for "peanut". She'll miss him a lot but has millions of pics of him in her phone in case anyone wants to see!


Georgi joins us from Pleven, Bulgaria, where he works for one of CIEE’s international representatives, USIT Colours. He is pursuing a Master’s degree in Media and Public Relations, and currently holds a Bachelor’s in Tourism. Georgi is no stranger to the US or to the WAT program; he has participated twice before, first in Virginia Beach in 2015, then in Alaska the following year.  He enjoys playing soccer and volleyball, but is also interested in taking up baseball or (field) hockey this summer, because these sports aren't as popular in Bulgaria.


Nicola returns to CIEE after his first summer in our office last year! He lives in Novi Sad, Serbia, which he describes as a beautiful city on the Danube river; among its other noteworthy aspects, it is the place where Einstein lived with his wife during the period when he wrote his famous mass–energy equivalence theory of special relativity. He studies Architecture and Urban Planning at the Faculty of Technical Sciences at the University of Novi Sad. Nicola is a true polyglot who can speak English, Serbian, and Russian fluently, as well as German, Croatian, Bosnian, Slovenian, Macedonian, and Montenegrin (he has already volunteered to take any “difficult” calls from participants hailing from these countries). He’s also a classic car enthusiast who has restored and owns a yellow 1984 Zastava 750 Luxe Elegant (a Yugoslav version of the Fiat 600D). Nicknamed “Luigi,” the car has become a recognizable fixture in his home town, and has even become famous at the national level due to his appearance in magazines, blogs, and music videos.


Iulia comes from a small, beautiful town in Romania named Sibiu, which hosts one of the biggest festivals in the world: The International Theatre Festival from Sibiu (FITS), for which she has volunteered 8 years in a row. She recently got her license degree in Psychology, and is now pursuing a Masters in Psycho-Traumatology and Psychological Assistance. Her hobbies include swimming, volleyball, reading, and travelling (which is why she’s participating in the WAT program for the first time!). Iulia is also a dog trainer, and has two dachshunds and a large rescue dog at her home in Romania (don’t worry; her parents and younger brother are looking after them)


Charlie joins us from Changhua City, Taiwan, a small beautiful city that has different natural environments. Like Portland, there is easy access to both climbing and fishing for recreation; unlike Portland, its temperatures average 65F- 77F in the winter and around 91F in the summer. Although not through CIEE, he has been on the WAT program previously as a café attendant at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. He has, however, worked for CIEE previously as a program coordinator in our Taiwan office, so he has joined us already equipped with some administrative experience with the program. Charlie’s hobbies include movies, table tennis, badminton, and karaoke, though he warns us that he’s not a great singer!


Celine joins us from Bangkok, Thailand, a place she affectionately refers to as the "busy dizzy city". She describes it as a big mix of old and new: among the skyscrapers, there are some of the most beautiful palaces and temples in the world. It also has two things in common with Portland: great shopping and terrible traffic. Naturally, she speaks Thai and English, but she is pursuing a major in Spanish and a minor in Korean at Chulalongkorn University. This is her second time on the WAT program (as a lifeguard in Wisconsin Dells last year), and her second time on a CIEE program (as a high school student in Champaign, IL, in 2013-14). Celine loves many music artists, but above all else, she is a *huge* fan of Celine Dion! She says that if you have not yet watched “Celine Dion Carpool Karaoke” on YouTube, you should stop what you’re doing and watch it right now. (Go ahead. We’ll wait.)


Daniel is back at CIEE after working in our office last summer! A native of Ruse, Bulgaria, he has actually participated in the WAT program four times now (including this one), having worked his first two summers as a housekeeper, fry cook, server and host—all in the same hotel! He loves that this program has allowed him to gain knowledge of how the service industry works in the US, as well as opening his mind to a different side of the world. It makes sense that he enjoys playing video games as a Computer Science major, but his other big hobby is dancing... especially Bulgarian folk dance. We’re sure he’ll teach anyone who wants to learn!


Andon comes from Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria. It is a town of significant historical value (its name can be translated as “Great Tarnovo”) and should be considered a worthy destination for anyone who is able to visit Bulgaria. A student of Applied Linguistics, he is fluent in Bulgarian and English, and is also able to converse in Dutch. This is Andon’s first time on the Work and Travel program. Regarding his food and musical tastes, he has already developed a fondness for pizza and burgers since arriving in the US; and his favorite band is Led Zeppelin, because, in his words: “I feel confident a group will not let me down if they are no longer releasing music, right?"


Shanel joins us from Lionel Town, Clarendon, Jamaica, which she describes as a very small but developed and diverse town. She is reading for her Bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management at the University of The West Indies, Mona. She joins us this summer after participating in the program last year at Cedar Point, where she travelled with her friends from Jamaica and made many new friends from other countries. The most memorable experience that summer was a trip to Niagara Falls, which in her own words was “EPIC!” Shanel admits that she can be a picky eater, but has not yet met a pizza she didn’t like.


Victor joins us from the city of Taichung, Taiwan. He is a junior at his university, majoring in Risk Management and Insurance. Last summer, he worked in a gift shop in Yellowstone National Park for the Work and Travel program. He found working inside Yellowstone a very cool experience, because it was so remote compared to his hometown (population: 2.8 million), and you could see lots of animals all the time. His favorite sport is basketball, and would have to count Maroon 5 as his favorite band. He confesses that most American food, from what he’s tried, isn’t that appetizing to him; however, because he’s in Maine this summer, he *is* looking forward to eating lots of lobster!


Yazan joins us from Amman, Jordan, with family roots in Nablus, Palestine. He is enrolled in a special business school where he is studying accounting. He took part in Work and Travel last year as both a lifeguard and line cook at Six Flags Darien Lake last summer. Given the park’s proximity to Buffalo, NY, it perhaps should come as no surprise that Yazan’s favorite American food is buffalo wings! Yazan enjoys swimming and wrestling, and is looking forward to another summer with CIEE.


Vlad is back with us at CIEE after spending the latter half of a summer with us last year. He had originally been placed in 2018 at Yellowstone National Park before joining us in Maine; while he hopes to visit Yellowstone again, he is just as glad to be back in Portland! Vlad is from Vawkavysk, Belarus, near the border with Poland and Lithuania. He speaks Belarussian, Russian, Polish, English, and Chinese (!), and is pursuing a degree in Film Studies. Many of you may find Vlad in the office after hours leading a meditation group. If interested, come by and say hello!


Neil joins us from Chengde, Hebei Province, China. Chengde is a beautiful city that is very significant to Chinese history, as it was both the palace home of the Qing Dynasty and the birthplace of Mandarin (which Neil is fluent in, naturally!). Despite claiming to hate numbers and math, he just graduated university with a degree in Financial Management. Neil took part in the WAT program previously in 2017 as a ride attendant for several roller coasters in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He is big fan of soccer (Go, Arsenal!), baseball and basketball, and is looking forward to eating all the lobster he can get his hands on while here in Maine!

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