Some days ago, I was lucky enough to catch up with two intelligent and kind girls of our university. Anna and Alexandra,currently studying English and American Studies, spent their last summer in America by the cc USA program, working in a restaurant in Mill Creek nearby Chester and Susanville in California. I hope that you’ll enjoy the interview I had with them.
First of all, please tell me something about the cc U.S.A. program. Was it hard to get a job in America? How much time did it take to find the perfect job and the right place for you?
-We were thinking about this job first in February and we applied through this organization that found for us a position in about a month. Since we didn’t know anyone in America, we had to turn to this program. Although one month does not sound as a long time to find a job, and even if it it involved a lot of paperwork, it was definitely worth it. They also helped us a lot.
Why did you decide to go to America and not somewhere in the EU? Was it your specific destination to go?
– We always wanted to go to America, to be honest, it was on our “bucket list”. Also, we both are English mayor students and we wanted to practice the language.
Was it your first time in the US or have you been there before?
It was our first time, but we hope that it wasn’t our last one. Firstly, we were afraid, but honestly, it was our best decision to pack our bags and go there before graduation.
How was your trip? What was most difficult part of travelling to America?
The journey was extremely long, but the hardest part was that we had to spend the night at the LA airport. We got there around midnight and our next flight was leaving the next morning at seven. We slept under the chairs, it was freezing cold so it was very uncomfortable. The second hardest part was that we need to change our flights two times.
How did the stuff welcome you?
They were incredibly kind and helpful. It felt like they were our second family. They were understanding and patient as well. Whenever we needed help, we could turn to them.
Could you describe your job and what your tasks were?
At first time we thought that we would work as dishwashers, but when we arrived there, the stuff told us that first we would start as bussers to help the servers and later we would have the possibility to be a server. After three weeks, one of the servers who was working there for a long time, supervised us and after that we could do the whole shift just by ourselves.
We just basically needed to serve people the food and of course we had to do some of the basic restaurant duties, such as making coffee or lemonade or polishing.
What did you enjoy the most about the work?
We think being around those lovely, kind and understanding people is what we enjoyed the most. They always made us smile. Sometimes the main chef was working in the early morning listening to popular songs very loud, that made the whole kitchen like a party spot. It was funny and we enjoyed it.
Did you have a daily routine in the restaurant?
It depended on which shift we worked in. The morning shift and the evening shift was totally different. During the morning shift we had to make coffee, put some jams and honey on the tables and polishing the glasses. Whereas during the evening shift, we had to cook bread, make butter. It was a little bit more stressful because we needed to be familiar with the whole menu.
What was your hardest experience working as servers and living far away from home?
One the hardest part was memorizing the menu. When it came to dishes, we had to know the ingredients as well. Living far away from home wasn’t as hard as we thought it would be. While we were there, we talked to our family every single day, but we really enjoyed the whole trip and the work, so to be honest, we didn’t miss our family that much.
What was the main difference in the country that you’ve noticed? Something totally different from Hungary?
Food. For example the bread was sweet, it didn’t taste like the Hungarian bread at all. We recognized that every food was more oily, fatter and greasier, like in movies and it was a little bit hard to get used to it.
Did you have a chance to visit some beautiful, interesting places?
Luckily, we had two days off while we were working at the restaurant and we had a car that we could use and go to visit places. We went to San Francisco, though it was 4 hours to get there, it was worth it. As we were working between two national parks, we visited those several times, they were beautiful. After we finished the work, we had one week to travel before going home and we could visit LA and New York City.
Can you imagine yourself living in the US in the future?
Sure. We’re planning to go back there next summer and maybe we will stay there. Who knows? Now that we know some people out there, it’ll be easier to go there next time.
Do you have any advice for those who are thinking about working abroad?
Of course! Advice number one: Take an almost empty luggage! We took more clothes than we needed. When we decided to buy some souvenirs and new clothes we had to leave some stuff behind because we were not allowed to take it onto the plane with us. Advice number two: Try to pick an almost non-stop flight. We needed to change flights, as we mentioned before, and it was really stressful. Also, you don’t need to take too much money with you, because in the first three weeks you just have to pay for your own food and the prices are similar to Hungary’, so don’t be afraid, you don’t have to pay a fortune for that . In case if your job don’t provide you with accommodation, then yes, you need much more money, but in our case, we didn’t need that. We had our best summer, so we definitely recommendyou not to be afraid but try America! Even though it only lasted three months, these girls came back with once in a lifetime experiences. They both agree that they will never forget this summer and the people there will be always in their heart. We wish them a good luck for the future and their university studies.
Szerző: Komáromi Klaudia
Fotók: Szente Alexandra