by Noelia Sanchez
My first job was 9 years ago in 2007. I was a student, and a friend told me “Let’s try to participate in a cultural exchange for university students.
I said, “I don’t know! Getting a visa is too difficult!!”
I knew that trying to travel to the USA was very hard and sometimes you couldn’t do it. But my friend insisted very much until I agree to participate. While in the process I felt exhausted by all of the requirements they requested from me and all the money I spent. Soon, it was time to go to the consulate, and thank God I got the visa. The most curious thing was, that the friend who encouraged me to participate didn’t continue with the process.
Well, the time came for me to travel and it was the first time that I took a plane. Everything was exciting to me. It was an experience that I will never forget. I went to Miami and I had the opportunity to work in a restaurant as a waitress. The owner was Dominican like me. But it was a wider Latin restaurant. There were a variety of foods from different culture, like all who work there. We were from different countries, Honduran, Cubans, Mexicans, Ecuadorians, and Dominicans. They are the nationalities I can remember. I had never been in a place where people worked together from different countries. But we all tried and helped each other as brothers.
Since that time, as a customer, I am nicer with waiters. I understand the hard work they have day to day and how little they earn. There are long standing periods, many demanding customers or people with upset temperaments.
I only had 4 months of work there, but I learned a lot. I learned how to work in a restaurant, how to socialize with customers, the name of certain dishes, and how to deal with colleagues from different places. But something important that I learned was to improve my soft skills and my capacity to do my best.
My first job helped me to be more independent, work hard to achieve my goals and think about my future profession. My first job was the most interesting experience that I had. It changed my way of thinking, and it changed my life.
Noelia Sanchez was born in Dominican Republic, and has lived in the United States for nine months. She studies English at the Harlem Adult Learning Center of the New York Public Library. Her instructor is Myrna Holguin. She writes “I am Adventist, with a strong trust in God, happily married and ready to conquer the world.”