Destination: Serbia

A Sort of Homecoming

Ivana Waz left Serbia for America when she was 14. She returned to her homeland with her son to answer the question: Was she more Serbian or American?

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In Defense of British Food, Redux

I went there a few months back. Now, Matador Nights has joined the cause, with an excellent starter guide for anyone we’ve convinced to give British food a fair shot.

World Travel Watch: Protests in Nepal, Tensions in Nicaragua and More

Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news

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Sawasdee, Golden Arches

Sawasdee, Golden Arches Photo by kennymatic via Flickr (Creative Commons).

Anyone who has frequented a suburban swimming pool or beach resort on the East Coast in recent summers should be familiar, by now, with the sound of consonant-heavy Eastern European accents piercing the salt air. That’s because thousands of college students from places like Moldova and Ukraine arrive each year to work summer gigs as lifeguards, waitresses or hotel clerks under the increasingly popular J-1 student visa program.

Now comes word that the next big J-1 wave could be from Thailand. GlobalPost reports that large numbers of Thai students have begun securing summer visas to work at U.S. fast food joints, with McDonald’s emerging as the workplace of choice. The story portrays the students as single-minded in their endeavor, trudging dutifully to the local Mickey D’s in unglamorous locales like Pittsburgh and Mobile, determined to parlay foreign work experience into hospitality-related jobs back in Bangkok. I hope they’re working in some fun as well. If the Serbian kids who staffed my sister’s pool outside Washington, D.C., last summer are any indication, I’d advise the Thais to consult their Eastern European counterparts on the finer points of letting loose.

I’m not in McDonald’s often (maybe twice a year), but I’ll keep an eye out this summer to see if the trend has reached the nation’s capital.

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