By Mustafa Umut Ozbeck, CIEE Work & Travel USA 2018 and 2019 participant
My name is Mustafa Ozbek. I live in Izmir, Turkey and I am studying Mechanical Engineering. Last summer I worked at The Breakers Hotel and this summer I worked at the Atlantic Sands Hotel. Although I applied for the program in October, I didn’t come to the U.S. until the 20th of June – it takes time to prepare for this experience.
When I first arrived, I felt a little scared and nervous because you are going to a different country and you will meet different cultures and people. But actually, this adventure really changed my perspective. There were three people that I met who really impressed me and influenced my experience. One of them was Robert. He lives in America. We worked together at the same hotel. He was really crazy and a helpful person. I was always smiling when I was by Robert and when I met a problem, he showed me an option and helped me. I taught him about tea culture in Turkey and how there are a lot of differences from tea drinking in the U.S.
There was also Toni – she was my supervisor. She was like my mother in the U.S. She showed me everything about my job and told me about American life and people. Finally, there was Michelle. She was another one of my supervisors. She, too, helped me with everything – like getting a social security number and showing me how I can go anywhere by bus. Her English was very clear. In my country, when someone speaks Turkish so clearly, we say that they speak “Istanbul Turkish”, so I use to always tell Michelle that she speaks like “Istanbul Turkish”. When I left for my travel period, she prepared a cake for me. She affected me deeply.
I will never forget the memories I made. I learned a lot of things on this program. I think that the main topic is that we can believe different religions, we can be of different colors, we have so many different ideas, but I saw that everyone can still communicate well with each other. We should meet new friends, see new cultures, and taste new foods. I improved myself with Work & Travel USA. Now I want to go to other countries, and I want to learn about new cultures. The last thing I want to say is trust yourself and talk to other people!
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