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NOLA : A home far away from home

By: Christie Dominique Alison Castillo, CAP J-1 Intern and 2017 Ambassador Scholar

New Orleans has its own unique beauty and distinct culture, the influence of another state and country makes this city more interesting and engaging to visit. It has its own diversity, comfort foods, traditions, and of course, unlimited party events! It is really a perfect place for relaxation since the locals cater to whatever you need for your satisfaction. This city should definitely be on your bucket list!

It has been couple of months since I came to the place that they call “The Big Easy”. This state really set pace to people where they can do everything in much easier ways, like finding work that fits you, having easy access to other establishments, even going to parties all night long. These few reasons are why New Orleans still remains on top.

There are a lot of reasons to stay in NOLA such as great restaurants, food that can really spice up your cravings, notable chefs, and award winning sites. There are also crafts and works of art that represent the remarkable people and their culture. Every year, there is a celebration where people dress up in different colors and costumes that will impress you. This is one of the biggest gatherings in this state and it is called “Mardi Gras”. You probably shouldn’t miss this kind of event here.

One of the reasons why my heart fell in love with this city is because of the similarities to my hometown in the Philippines. NOLA stood up and rose again from different calamities, storms and hurricanes; usually people tend to lose hope because of shattered homes, destroyed crops, destroyed businesses, and a lot more. One common motivation of people here and my homeland is that they refuse to accept defeat or downfall, instead they stand and let the whole world see that no floods, or any other disasters can wreck hopes and dreams of people.

Lately, I realized that this state granted one of my dreams of working outside of my country as a trainee. This opportunity helps me not only gain experience, but to encounter some problems, stressors, and challenges that help me become a better version of myself and realize the essence of being mature. My training here will soon be finished, but I hope to come back not only to work but also to relax. This once in a lifetime opportunity will always remain in my heart, especially all of my learnings here in NOLA.

New Orleans, Louisiana taught me to become strong, patient, live in the moment, taste little bitterness, talk to other people with different perspectives, personalities, and nationalities. I have befriended them, spoken up, and realized that no matter how far I am from my family and loved ones, they still care and love me unconditionally. As my remaining months and days will soon be over in this state, I wish to have all the courage and wisdom to pass all circumstances and challenges that come and be ready to face them all with confidence and wit. This is my new home and I am thankful for all who invited me to stay in this wondrous place.

Ready to find your home away from home? See how you can become a J-1 Intern or J-1 Trainee with Greenheart Exchange!