International workers experience the Crystal Difference through cultural exchange program

THOMPSONVILLE, Mich. (Aug. 1, 2022) – More than a dozen international workers at Crystal Mountain are learning what it’s like to not only work, but play, in northern Michigan. The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program places students in different industries in the U.S. to earn money while learning new skills. However, one of the most important aspects of the program is cultural exchange.

“This program is beneficial for all parties involved, the students and the company hiring the workers,” Jennifer King, vice president of Human Resources at Crystal Mountain, said. ”There are a variety of different skillsets one can learn within the hospitality industry, but in order to really embrace the whole experience it’s important to put an emphasis on the different cultures.”

Crystal’s Human Resources team has planned several cultural activities for the group outside of work. Some of the trips this summer include a Traverse City Pit Spitters baseball game, a day trip to Traverse City for the National Cherry Festival, swimming in Crystal Lake and tubing on Platte River.

“At the moment, this place seems incredible to me,” said one student. “The people around me, as well as my co-workers, are super attentive, they make me feel part of the community. Being in a place far from the city seems perfect to me, to recreate and be able to observe nature.”
 
This past winter, around a dozen J-1 students signed up for a ski or snowboarding lesson lead by Crystal Mountain certified snowsports instructors. After about an hour on the bunny hill, many advanced to the chairlift to ski down green (beginner) runs. Afterwards, Crystal Mountain snowsports staff helped put on a potluck dinner where students could share some of their favorite recipes from their home country.

“We just want them to feel as at-home as possible,” Joanna Tomei, Crystal Mountain snowsports operations manager, said. “We are so grateful they are here and they are hard workers, so we’re always looking for fun ways to interact and learn from each other. It’s all about making everyone feel welcome.”

The next planned outing is a day trip to Crystal Lake.

Student workers currently at Crystal for the summer are visiting from Albania, Dominican Republic, Poland, Ukraine and India. Since implementing the program in 2016, Crystal has hosted more than 120 international workers.
 
About Crystal Mountain:
Established in 1956, Crystal Mountain is a family-owned, four-season resort destination located 28 miles southwest of Traverse City and a short drive from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The 1,500-acre resort features lodging, dining, downhill and cross-country skiing, two championship golf courses, shopping, award-winning Crystal Spa, Michigan’s only alpine slide, Peak Fitness, the Park at Water’s Edge, Michigan Legacy Art Park, weddings, a conference center and real estate options. Visit www.CrystalMountain.com for more resort details or information about Four Seasons Club memberships.