Thursday, May 4, 2017

Day 80: Where in the World is The Baldpate Inn Staff From – International Staff & Star Wars Day (Part 2)

One can only imagine how “other world” the Baldpate experience must seem to our international staff members!

We’ve been honored to have staff members from Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, England, France, Kosovo, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Turkey, and Vietnam, to name a few.

Our international students have been in the USA Work & Travel  program which provides the opportunity for them to come to the USA to experience our culture, share their culture with us, and visit different parts of our country.  

I know we have learned as much from them as they from us!  Be it during 9-11 when it was hard for them to understand our shock, when bombings happen nearly every day in their homeland, or their amazement at the cost of a haircut or how “cheaply” we can buy some electronics!  I will never forget the student that broke into tears with their first paycheck. When I asked if something was wrong, they said it was almost more money than their father would earn in a year! And then there is trying to explain taxes and social security…

We’ve had some awkward and some ahaa! moments talking about the roles of women or what is the perceived appropriate standard for the length of a work week. Often our US staff are amazed at the dedication of their world peers.

Not to say it has all been rosy!  Occasionally my lack of world history has caused some strife as I’ve housed students together from traditionally non-friendly countries. 

And of course, there is the occasional Inn guest that is irked when their server struggles to understand a unique request.  We have learned to do our best to prepare our diners with an explanation of where their server is from, and that they are trying to improve their English – and that you may either speak to them in their language or English, and they will gladly get assistance if their English cannot be understood.

Our international students have enriched the Baldpate experience, contributing many things to the Inn over the years, including our key collection!  One impressive key added was from a returning international staff member, Claudia, who requested and received a key to a secret passageway in the castle that inspired Braum Stoker’s Dracula!  See the full story in our Key Room blog. 

My hope is that we continue to each become better world citizens by our “other world” exchanges.

Written by Lois Smith 

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