Wednesday, February 9, 2011
From teenagers to young adults
They came to NY upon my insistence that they needed a vacation from their hard work in the exchange student program in Colorado. They registered in an attractive program which is called Work and Travel, of a company called Universal Student Exchange....USE, designed for college and recently graduated students. Come to say in simple words, this is just a job seeker agency which is used by the winter resorts and hotels around the US, to hire minimum wage workers for hard and exhausting jobs which young people are willling to do in exchange for the thrill of traveling to a different country, meeting other guys of their same age and overall, I think, getting away from the family conventional rules and being able to live for three months on their own. Their families pay around 2,000 dollars which comprehend about 1,000 dollars in registration fees for the program, around 400 in paperwork, inmigration rights english aptitude tests, and the rest in airline transportation. Upon arrival, most of them are responsible of rent and food expenses and even though the program has strict rules and they go to preparation seminars, they still are on their own and not well supervised. Parents have come to think that this new "opportunity" or vogue is part of their children's education..to let them see the world, get to know other cultures and learn to be responsible. To tell you the truth...I have mixed feelings. I see it as one more business in which every agency which participates in the transaction gets a piece of the cake, to their best advantage. The money the kids get goes unto living and traveling expenses... besides, not everyone has the money to even dare want to enroll in such a program...some make sacrifices to please their children or make them feel as part of the privileged ones...the ones that get to see a different world. After having this experience, most of them don't want to come back. They get better advantage from reasonably paid internship summer jobs related to their professional background, in which they have no fees to pay in order to be able to work.
I am so satisfied that we were able to give them the idea and opportunity to really savor some of US culture and come for four days to this great city which is NY. They have an energy drive which never ceased to amaze me since the very first day they came. Walking, learning, shopping and having "real food" at their table when they came home every night, brought so much input to their thrive for getting to know other culture! I guess they were able to meet their expectations. As I said, for me, it was a fresh revival of my younger years!!!