Speedwing is an agency that helps recruit students from all over Malaysia to undergo a work and travel program. I attended this program and had benefited a lot from it. They asked us to do a short video for an international contest. So here is my short video for the past 5 months i was there at the United States.
I also wrote some pretty essay for that.. here it went :-
“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky –
forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not
the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear
witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and
bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are
capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.”– Mark Jenkins
It all began with a dream and who knows ‘dreams do really come true’. I had always
wanted to travel to US and live an American dream. Rushing with assignments and final
year project was an ideal life style of a final year graduating student. I was indeed one of
them. In all the hustle and bustle of that, it came across to my mind what I am going to
continue after graduation. The typical answer would be I will start applying jobs and start
working. It all changed when I came across this Work and Travel USA program and I
was 100% into it, so called love at first sight. I love adventure and traveling! This
program was definitely for me. What spurred me the most? It was definitely the idea of
working and traveling during winter season. It was perfect for me as I was graduating in
July 2013 and had time to settle all applications and participate for it in November.
Coming to realize it was a huge challenge for me as I am the only child in the family and
my parents would have a hard time letting me go. Who knows, they were perfectly fine
with me going to US and encouraged me to even pursue my dream when opportunity is
infront of me. I even got two course mates going with me. What could even be possibly
better? It was all well planned, thanks be to God.Time passed so quickly and I was all set and ready to fly and achieve my dreams. When I first landed in Denver, I was full geared and excited to meet new people and to embark in my new adventure here in Colorado. I was greeted by friendly awesome people in the YCMA. They were all ready to give in a helping hand if needed and were so welcoming. Knowing that I had originated from a foreign country, where English wasn’t our first language, intimidated me as I wasn’t really prepared mentally. Hearing stories that Americans were more advanced and their thinking were so
different from us Asians, made me anxious.
First day in YMCA I took it as a challenge and told myself that I am here to learn and experience new things. Whatever happens, it is all part of the learning process. Getting my lodging settled, identification worker card made and a YMCA bottle as part of the program was the start. I stayed in the same lodge with the two of my mates, Tan Xue Er and Vivian Hiew. The both of them were in housekeeping department and I was the only one in food service department. There were so many things to learn here in the YMCA. I started my work in working under a special event where I was required to be on guards at all times in handling guests with a buffet style food serving. It was a challenge and yet exciting moment where I got to learn how to handle 150 guests with my co-worker, Marixi Gundran. She was my mentor and has thought me on how to replenish the salad bars and as well as the hot bars, where the main dishes were served. She was indeed my first Filipino Food Service Staff
friend. I learned to prepare various kinds of salads and set it up on time every morning
and afternoon shifts. Besides that, I also learned to help in the dish washer department
and make sure all the plates, bowls and utensils were properly washed and cleaned.
As a food service worker, I was trained to be brave enough to speak up when it comes to
handling responsibilities such as people management. Being raised up as an introvert, it
was a tough challenge and also a risk as I am not good in talking up front. My manger
and supervisors were so encouraging. They helped me develop my communication and
The YMCA is a community centered, where they bring people together
from different backgrounds and all ages to bridge the gaps in community needs. I got to
work with special events such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, weddings and camps. Besides
working, I also got my day offs and it was a great deal as I could enroll myself in various
outdoor activities that were in the YCMA. They have ice-skating, hiking activities, rollerskating, gym, basketball courts, arts and crafts center, swimming pool, library and many more. They even provide a chapel for Christian staffs to participate in the Sunday service. It was definitely made for all. Hence, it was a great and remarkable experience for me.
As time goes by, I had made so many friends from North America, South America and
Asia (Japan, China& Philippine). They came from different backgrounds and cultures.
Knowing them one by one was a great experience for me. We bonded quickly and formed
a small family. We did so many things together such as hiking, international buffet and
even shopping. We also got together and cook meals for each other which was definitely
close to heart. I was indeed amazed as I was supposed to enhance my English language in
the States but ended up leaning more new languages such as Spanish, Tagalog and
Japanese. It was indeed a bonus for me. We always say communication is the key to
making new friends. During the process, the internationals and I got to teach each other
our own languages in simple phrases so that we could understand each other better. It was
a process of getting to know each country as well as their particular language and culture.
Little by little, we all ended up as a small international family where we know we can
count on each other despite the different language and background. I know I can count on
them and it was good as the feeling of home sick wasn’t even affecting me as it would do
to others normally.
Knocking into the main focus here was, I enrolled in the winter program as snow was
part of it. In Malaysia we don’t have experience on having snow falling gracefully on our
heads, building snow mans, doing snow angels or even playing snow ball fights. It was a
definitely a great experience for me as I was so excited when I saw the first snow fall and
decided to have fun at all times during my stay here. I managed to enroll myself in so
many activities that involve ice-skating, skiing, hiking, making snow man and snow
angels and lots more that were snow and ice related. It was an opportunity not to be
missed. I grabbed it and wouldn’t let it go for any chances at all. Some may not want to
join as they assumed it could be dangerous but it is not at all. “A pessimist sees the
difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” ― Winston Churchill. All I can say is, when opportunity like this knocks, grab it and achieve it like an optimist.
The Work & Travel USA has benefited me more than I could even imagine. It has open
up opportunities for me, an ordinary student to experience working and traveling in USA.
Looking for a job and applying for it could be easy but getting approved and accepted
were another issue. This program enabled me to get in contact directly to the employers
which were much easier. Besides that, I got to even travel which adds to the advantages. I
managed to explore most of the big cities and learn so much on their historical values and
heritage. It was indeed an eye opener for me as I get to travel and experience so many
things in just few weeks. I managed to work for 4 months and travel for at most 3 weeks.
There were so many places that I visited such as Chicago, Las Vegas, New York City,
Washington DC, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Chicago was my first place to visit and it was amazing. Chicago was the third most popular city after New York City and Los Angeles.
Chicago is very famous for its culture of visual arts and music. It is also known as the “Windy City”. I got to try the famous deepdish pizza from Pizzeria Uno. It was definitely a mouthwatering dish. I witnessed the eye-catching scenery, building and arts center.
The next place I visited was New York city and Washington DC. Well we all know that these are popular cities in the United States. New York city has a significant impact in mostly fashion, media, research, technology,education and entertainment. In New York, I managed to visit most of the famous and historical sites such as the Times Square, Central Park, Statue of Liberty and many more. Besides that, I got to watch Broadway as it was one of my dreams. I got the chance to use their subways and were hoping always that I wouldn’t get lost. It was funny as I could see people rushing and chasing for the train and it was a serious matter for them. It is part of New York. The public transportation here are just amazing. To my amaze, there were more taxi then normal cars. New York City What an amazing view. Next, Washington Dc! What else would you know about DC? Well of course the White House. How could you not visit the one and only White House? It was another dream come true and part of the capital pride. I got to visit other places such as the Washington Monument, historical and scientific museums, the Lincoln Memorial and many more. Next I
visited Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
My friends and I planned the travel in such a way where we could travel almost Washington DC all the main big cities in such a limited time. Las Vegas was full of the glitters of night life and full of entertainment. I was excited to see casinos everywhere and people were out and partying to their hearts most. Not to my type of interest, I am glad I got to see Las Vegas with my own eyes and it was part of my checklist of the places I definitely must visit and explore. Los Angeles and San Fransisco are almost the same. Very country and calm like. Full of Asians I could say and people are so warm at heart. I indeed managed to visit Disneyland , Universal Studios and the famous San Fransisco bridge. My journey ended in Los Angeles and it was sad to leave but indeed a great journey. Memories were made that are hard to let go. Disneyland, LA I would definitely recommend this program 100% as it is a good exposure for students to experience and gain skills which they could if they want to. It is definitely a life-changing experience and I would go again if I could. Dreams do come true if one truly have the desire to pursue it with a heart to explore. I did and so can you.