The Power of a Familiar Word

By: Audrey Hutnick, Greenheart Exchange Senior Marketing Coordinator

Traveling to Kingston, Jamaica to meet and hire some of our remarkable participants on a Job Fair was a reminder of a valuable life lesson- the remarkable power of a familiar word.

This past February marked my first time traveling on a Greenheart Job Fair, and I was pumped to be traveling alongside several host organizations who were also embarking on their first job. Though we were well prepared for our interviews and had a detailed itinerary mapped out for us, we were still a bit nervous as to what to truly expect. The nerves didn’t last long though, as it was pointed out that any nerves or uneasiness we may be feeling was amplified by 10 for our participants waiting in the auditorium. With this in mind, we came up with a game plan!

We all learned a different greeting in Jamaican Patois. As we entered the auditorium to introduce ourselves, we were ready to break the ice.

“Wah gwaan, mi name ah Audrey.”

Our participants busted out laughing. I am not entirely sure how much I butchered the pronunciation or how silly I may have looked… because it didn’t matter! The only thing that mattered was that we were able to make our participants feel a little more at ease as we instantly began exchanging cultures.

As the presentations continued, and the fair was underway, I was able to reflect on how such a small deed could go such a long way. With our summer season just around the corner, I was reminded how the smallest kind deeds and actions can be so powerful and comforting! This is something we should all keep in mind as we welcome our new participants to the United States!

Exchanging cultures can be anything from a small conversation to a big gesture! Look into the Summer Work Travel program with Greenheart Exchange today – your summer of cultural exchange could be just around the corner.