It is recruitment season for our recruiter, Javier! He is currently taking applications for the Cultural Representative Program in Norway. This October, Javier will be visiting Oslo to conduct some presentations and interviews. Selected candidates will have their program start in the beginning of Spring 2017. Our recruitment team is looking to fill all our positions at the Norway Pavilion – Food and Beverage, Merchandise and Attractions! I was able to take some time with two of our current participants, Camilla and Hans to talk about their experiences so far.
Q: Where is your hometown?
CAMILLA: My hometown is Bergen. It is a beautiful city on the west coast of Norway that is surrounded by seven mountains, giving the city the nickname “The city between seven mountains”.
HANS: I’m from Lillehammer, a small town in the eastern part of Norway. Some of you might know it from the winter Olympics in 1994.
Q: Where did you work and what do you do?
HANS: I’m a part of the Food and Beverage line [of business], and I work as a server in Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.
Q: What apartment complex do you live in?
CAMILLA: I started out living in Vista Way. I was there for about three months until I asked for a voluntarily move to Chatham Square. In the beginning, I really enjoyed Vista Way, but all my friends live at the other complexes…I live with two other Norwegians, one from Japan and one from Germany.
HANS: I live in a one-bedroom apartment at The Commons. Since we’re three boys sharing a flat, we’re having one of those famous bunk beds. (This comes from the guy living in the top bunk!)
Q: What would you say was the biggest adjustment you had to make from living at home to living in the United States?
CAMILLA: The biggest adjustment for me was being without my parents. This is my first-ever time living away from home, and I didn’t just move out, I moved to the other side of the world. Here – everything is up to me…I think this is a huge opportunity and I will grow so much as a person.
Q: Have you experienced anything that is completely different from your cultural and the American culture? Please expand!
CAMILLA: The thing I reacted most to in the beginning was when people called me “ma’am”. In Norway, you never really call anyone “ma’am” or “sir”. I have gotten used to it by now, but it still makes me feel a little weird. In Norway, we don’t really use that kind of courtesy when we talk to people we just met, let alone someone who works in a store you visit.
Q: What was the most impactful experience that you had with a guest that you had or witnessed?
HANS: Since I work in a character dining restaurant, I’m surrounded by princesses every day. And I have to say; watching the faces of small children meeting their favorite princess is priceless. Their smile is stretching from ear to ear, and they jump up and down in excitement. Whenever a guest at my table has a birthday, I bring them a birthday cupcake and a birthday card. And when this someone is a small child who gets thrilled by someone acknowledging their big day, it makes all the hard work worth it. Creating happiness is by far the most impactful experience I’ve had here.
Q: There are plenty of housing events (including beach trips, market trips, etc.). Did you participate in any thus far?
HANS: The event I participated in was the Starlit Splash. After closing hours, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park turned into a big pool party arena for Disney Housing residents. There was this big scene with a DJ, and people were dancing all night in their swimsuits. Besides the music, they had a lot of food, ice cream and chips. The whole park was crowded with energetic youths, and you could hear the music rumble through the park like a tropical storm.
CAMILLA: My first week down here we went to Starlit Splash. We ran around like kids having fun in the wave pool and slides. In this moment, I am actually waiting for a pool party at Chatham Square to start. I will go down there and check it out with a couple of friends!
Q: What do you plan to do immediately after the completion after your program?
HANS: When my program ends, I get one month of travel time in the states before my visa expires. During this time, I want to travel as much as possible, starting on the West Coast working my way to the East Coast.
Q: If you can give any advice to someone that wants to participate in a program, what would you suggest?
CAMILLA: My advice would be to make the most of it! All that you are going to experience during your program will be amazing. There will be ups and downs, but that is what makes it so special. The friends you make here turns into you family! In my down times there is always someone to cheer me up! If you have the chance before you come here, save some money so that you will be able to travel as well…most of all, just enjoy! It is an amazing opportunity.
HANS: Be kind, patient and open-minded. Listen to what all our great guests have to say, and respect their diversities. You’ll learn so much, and working for one of the biggest companies in the world will truly help you grow as a person. You’ll make a lot of new friends and magical moments, and the memories will forever be with you.
Thank you, Camilla and Hans for your time! I hope you enjoy the rest of your programs. We look forward to seeing your adventures continue! If you are interested in applying for an opportunity, feel free to apply today!