Working in Yosemite National Park with BUNAC
Welcome to the wild wild West Coast. Work America alumni Edvinas spent his summer in one of the world's most awe-inspiring locations, working at Aramark Yosemite National Park. We caught up with our West Coast wonder to see how he got on...
What inspired you to sign up to the Work American program?
Well, I first heard of the program around three years ago back in high school, and it just seemed like the most amazing experience. Then last year my close friend spent his summer in Maryland and I was super jealous of him. I started looking online for ways to join a similar program and BUNAC seemed the most reliable agency, offering the best seasonal work.
That’s awesome to hear. What was a typical working day like?
Wake up in a tent. Cycle to work for ten minutes through the forest. Work in the kitchen of a fancy hotel. Cycle back. Meet and make American and international friends. Enjoy the great outdoors by going hiking and rock climbing. Hang out with my new friends in the evening!
What did you get up to in your spare time?
I was hiking a lot and would say I know Yosemite very, very well now! I was also learning how to climb and am now looking to join an indoor climbing gym. Hanging out with many people from all around the world was great too. Also, with the friends I made we camped in some pretty cool places around the park and did a four-day trip to San Francisco.
What about the social life?
There was a community centre that was dedicated just for employees, so this was where a lot of the action was happening. The community was incredibly friendly, open-minded and interesting. The centre's team would organise different events throughout the summer, like hikes, stargazing, educational meetings, yoga classes, delivering watermelons to people working outside on a hot day, tie dye t-shirt day, we even had a DJ one night - plus many more!
Where did you travel at the end of the summer?
Other than camping in the park and going to San Francisco for a few days, I went on a four-week road trip which was definitely a summer highlight! I visited eight western states, visiting LA, Las Vegas and San Diego while crossing the following National Parks off my bucket list: Joshua Tree, Grand Canyon, Zion, Arches, Yellowstone, Olympic, Crater Lake, while also experiencing Haystack rock, ice climb Mt. Hood and Highway 1. National parks and seeing how nature changes while driving from state to state was fascinating.
Finally, what advice would you have for someone thinking about doing Work America?
Do it. Now. I am going to do this again! Also, I would like to say thank you for this life changing opportunity to BUNAC team.
Has Edvinas’ story inspired you to have your own all-American summer? On our Work America program we’ll help match you with a summer job before you go, provide the sponsorship you need to apply for your J-1 visa, and support you throughout the whole process. Find out more and sign up here.