My late father always taught me that in life I can’t only be a spectator, I have to go run, participate, try things, explore the world and leave a place better than before or else I’ll end up watching my life goes by without actually being part of it. It was such an abstract concept for me to understand that time. When he was with me watching the stars at night, he’d tell me that I should go see these stars from different side of the world. He taught me the importance of saving, as he said, “someday you’ll want to go see places I can’t afford you financially to go. Or maybe I’ll be too old to be with you but that shouldn’t stop you to go anyway.” As I grow older, his words ring clearer and clearer.
Bearing his words in mind, I always try my best to be available for life to happen to me. So when I heard about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with Walt Disney World, I applied without even thinking. There were friends with me back then, the people who were as excited as I was, and together we read blogs after blogs, discussed how we can write an epic cover letter, composed our CV and all that. It was 2013, I sent my first application and Disney replied back saying that there is no open vacancy that time and if I’m still interested I can try again the next year.
2013 passed pretty fast, and early in 2014 someone on Facebook posted a quote from Disney which instantly reminded me of the Cultural Representative Program (CRP).
CRP is a 12-month program in which Walt Disney World invites people from different countries to authentically represent the countries Disney has re-create in various pavilion (mostly) in EPCOT park. Currently there are 11 pavilions each representing Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, USA, Japan, Morocco, France, UK and Canada. Other regions that don’t have their own pavilion but are represented through Animal Kingdom park and Animal Kingdom Lodge are Brazil, Southeast Asia (India, Indonesia and Thailand) and Sub Saharan Africa.
|France Pavilion, EPCOT|
The idea is to give Guests the realistic touch and feel experience. With the pavilion, signature food, native cultural representative and Disney’s magic, people would feel as if they were really visiting that particular country. So basically a Cultural Representative job is to bring their own culture to life at Walt Disney World.
|Disney Animal Kingdom, new home for the next year if I got accepted|
I applied for the second time that night, completely aware I was — am the biggest nerdiest dreamer ever. Who am I to send Disney World an application from different side of the globe trying to convince them that I’m half-Mulan (or Merida)-half the bouncy Tigger and they should let me stay there as a Cast Member? I’m glad I did. After all God causes everything to work together for the good of those who loves Him and are called according to His purpose for them. The journey begins.