A note from our Director of Sales: Wilka Jones
Participating in an Exchange Program is much more than just travel , it is a life lesson. I started when I was 19 years old when I applied for my first
Work & Travel Program. I went to work in Lake Placid, NY for five months. Of course coming from a small town like Cuiaba, Brazil I wanted to experience
life in a big city, full of people and energy, which Lake Placid definitely
lacked. The small community of Lake Placid allowed me to experience" a new
culture, language, and work environment, but not the big city feel I was
looking for. Even though I had different expectations of my environment my
days went by quickly and every second gave me goose bumps. Life at that time
was a box full of surprises.... I didn't know what was going to happen next.
My second visit to America was in the winter of 2005. I was in the state of
Vermont and the drastic change from 100 - degree weather in Brazil to
freezing temperatures of the North East left me excited to experience a new
way of life. I did a little bit of everything I was a waitress, fast food
cashier, and hotel front desk clerk. Working in the hotel peaked my
interest in hospitality. I loved to accommodate and make people feel
welcomed. I soon returned to my home country and completed my Bachelor's
degree in Hospitality. I later decided to enroll in the Marriott Internship program that was based in the U.S.
Being Brazilian in America was a beautiful experience; everyone welcomed my
culture and my personality. Brazil is filled with welcoming people that
embrace global culture. We work to cultivate our future while appreciating
our past and our heritage.
Things to share:
1.Have a positive attitude, smile and always keep an open mind.
2. Passion? Without it you would never get up out of bed in the morning!
Today I live in New York City and I'm the Director of Sales at Just
Homestay. I welcome international students to stay with our American Host
families and share some of the experiences I was blessed to have. Giving
back love and opportunity is what I believe in and I look forward to see you
soon in NYC!
If you want to learn more about it please contact me directly at