APEX Foundation
Blogs, Participant Stories

Katinka: Summer in Emerald Isle, NC – SWT USA 2009

Monday, June 21, 2010 by

Summer work in supermarket SWT 2009

Working at supermarket

I will never forget that day when I woke up in Budapest: my friend and me had to leave for the USA. That morning was very exciting and very scary as well. Not every day it happens to a 23-year–old young girl to be on the way to the Field of the Dreams!! Even though we knew where we were going and what kind of job we would be doing in the next three months, that 10 cm between Budapest and New York on the map seemed immediately too much. On the way to the airport we were just laughing on the funny stories about lost luggage and various horror experiences broadcast by the local radio station.

We arrived in New York without any problem. And we got the first shock stepping outside of the airport: OH MY GODNESSS!!! Everything was just HUGE. Yeah, the US is a big country, with big cars, huge buildings and enormous distance, I think it can be very strange for a European. OK. We are in the Big Apple. Second shock: our hotel room is on the 29th floor. The view was just incredible.

We went looking around in the city: we felt like Alice in Wonderland: Manhattan, Little Italy, Chinese Town, Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, lot of people, the famous yellow taxis, Times Square – complete cultural shock.

Times Square New York SWT 2009

Times Square, NYC

Statue of Liberty SWT 2009

Statue of Liberty

Exchange Students in Boston SWT 2009

With Eniko in Boston

The next three month was the best time in my life so far. Simply outstanding. 11 weeks holiday in an oceanfront cozy condo with the greatest people I have ever met. With European international students and of course with our new American friends we had lots of fun in our jacuzzi, crazy battles in the private swimming pool, and we played big matches on the tennis court. And we made new friends on the beach of course, which was just a few steps from our place. Oh, this Paradise called Emerald Isle in North-Carolina. Unfortunately just some of us could get a second job (lucky persons who could come very early in the summer) but on the other hand they had to miss the party mountains with nice dudes. At least we had great times together and we could absolutely enjoy the summer in the USA. We can still work in the upcoming decades, right?

SWT USA students from around the world

International Party

Beach boys with girl

In a good company ;-)

SWT USA students visit Washington DC

Trip to Washington

But if you go to the USA to get some money, and then you would love to travel or whatever, maybe some things can help you.

  • Arrive to the States as early as possible, the sooner the better.
  • Start to find your extra job, right when you arrived! Do not belive the old foxes who already have experience: “You still have much time, firstly you should get use to your first job.” No, you do not have time. They will get the all the opportunities.
  • Do not be lazy! Ask for the job everywhere: all the shops, restaurants, your managers, at the disco, at the pub, Americans – everywhere and everybody. Go to the party! That is the best place to get to know new people! If it is needed ask again and again, make a phonecall, actually YOU need a job.
  • Ask for the minimum salary!
  • And be very kind, confident, polite, smile a lot, and be pleased if somebody offers you something.

And now a few words about the job. I was a cashier at a supermarket. I always had to be nice of course, and very-very patient to all of the customers. I really liked the way as the Americans treated us. Every time if some problem came up, the managers always supported and encouraged the students. I will never forget the head manager, who picked up me and another guy on the local airport, cooked us delicious dinner and talked to us in a great manner. And what was the most important thing: he spoke some words with my Mom on the phone to tell her, her little daughter is in a good place, she doesn’t need to worry about me. Mom almost cried, but she was happy, I had such a fantastic boss.

SWT USA Student's accommodation

Our living room

Bridge from kitchen to beach

View from the room

Emerald Isle beech

Our beach

I learnt a lot during this time: the urban legends about different nations are not always true. We have to be open-minded and tolerant with each other. Now I have great friends from Serbia, Slovakia, Taiwan and Russia. And I believe these friendships will last forever, we can count on each other later in the adult’s world too. Another thing which had an affect on me was the charity. It was unbelievable how many people wanted to support the little patients of the local hospital, or the troops far away from the country. I think giving a helping hand to indigent people should play much more important role in our life too.

Shore side of Emerald Isle

Other side of the Isle

Emerald Isle Pier Pointe Drive

Our street

SWT USA student on beach

Fun on our beach

After the summer job with my friends we lived the good life: we conquered the East Coast! The baseball match in Philly, the White House in Washington, the simply amazing Boston, the marvelous and peaceful coast in New Hampshire, and the unknown parts of New York made my dreams become true.

In September my parents almost could not recognize me. I was a different person, in a good way. Thousands of positive experience, the freedom and life-style changed my life forever! I had a dream…and I did it!

P.S: Many thanks to APEX-Foundation which helped me to arrange all the official things in order to have fun in the US.

Katinka Illés

[APEX Bootnote: Katinka became our Student Cooperator at her school when she came back]

Former SWT USA student describing experience

Katinka at her school


View APEX Worktravelers 2009 in a larger map

Questions? Ask below :-) In English, please.

APEX Foundation