The realities of working in the USA

Author: Gabrielė Malūkaitė

Editor: Maryna Barysheva

Photos credits: Alexandra Andriushchenko archives.

Photos from New York City.

In summer 2019, Alexandra Andriushchenko, a senior Contemporary Communications student worked as a barista in the USA with the help of the LCC work and travel program. 

When recalling her summer in the Hamptons, Andriushchenko first thinks of an offended customer at the “Hampton Coffee Company” she worked at:

“Once there was a lady that was convinced that our muffins were not fresh, although new fresh muffins were baked every single day. I offered her a new muffin and she was satisfied with it, but the twist was - it was the muffin from the same tray,” Andriushchenko remembered with the smile.

Coworkers brought Alexandra a delicious cake on her birthday.

According to the Andriushchenko, “Smile is an integral part of the American customer service.”

The student shared about experiencing culture shock after realizing how drastically people’s attitudes vary from state to state. 

“First working in Virginia and then going to New York state for my work and travel experience, I discovered that people are generally nicer in Virginia,” she said. “Dirty and bigger than I thought, New York City is definitely not the same as people see it in the movies.”

While there were no life-threatening incidents during Andriushchenko’s stay in the USA, the student remembers several disturbing situations that happened in New York. 

“Quite a few guys tried to hit on me, especially Latin Americans and African Americans,” she said. “Also, there were many homeless people laying on the streets, making the sight and smells in the city unpleasant.”. 

Coworkers brought Alexandra a delicious cake on her birthday.

For those who smoke cigarettes, Andriushchenko has bad news.

“People don't smoke there as much as Europeans,” she said. From her observations, people would rather smoke marijuana, since cigarettes are expensive in the USA and weed is legal in many states. 

Even during the hectic working schedule,  Andriushchenko recalls her trips around the USA.

“I took some days off and traveled to New York City for two days,” the student shared. We went around, saw Liberty Statue, and almost the whole of Manhattan.” 

Eglė Valiaugienė, the director of Student Support and Career Development Centre told more in detail how LCC is connected with the Work and Travel program.

 „LCC advertises two Work and Travel programs: Zip travel and Lithuanian world travel,” she said.

The university also collects documents and sends them to said agencies and assists students with finances.

Valiaugienė mentioned

However, the students are responsible for finding their own job opportunities since LCC has partnership connections with Chick-Fil-A only.

The director of the Student Support and Career Development center also acknowledges that not everybody can participate in the Work and Travel program. 

Valiaugienė said: “Students need to be up to 25 years old, meet visa criteria, have good grades and be able to pay.” When asked about the potential issues,  she assured that students are mostly satisfied both with the experience and savings they made. 

“The general experience, in the end, is always good if the student is hard-working and knows how to communicate and cooperate with people,” concluded Valiaugienė.

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