Work & Travel USA Host Highlight: Susan At The Big Moose Inn

Welcome to our Work & Travel USA host highlight series! Today, we’re talking to Susan Meyer, who runs the century-old Big Moose Inn and Restaurant in the Adirondacks. Each year, Susan employs international students who make the Big Moose Inn their home.


Susan and Mark, owners of the Big Moose Inn.

Image courtesy of Susan via Facebook.

What did you think working with international staff was going to be like, and how did it turn out?

Being a hospitality veteran, I have always known there is a wealth of knowledge that comes with hiring international students. They provide a nice outlet and exposure to you. It’s rewarding for my husband and me to hire them because we know we are making an impact on their lives, and they will move forward with a different perspective after working here with us. In turn, we move forward with a different perspective.

Big Moose Inn
Big Moose Inn

The Big Moose Inn in upstate New York. Images courtesy of Smita Jayaram.

How do you train and orient the students when they first arrive?

For the first couple of days we get them used to the lay of the land, let them soak in the environment. Our students do a variety of different jobs, so each day they have training for a different job. Once they figure out where they are most comfortable and what they enjoy doing most, we get into a routine.

Big Moose Inn
Big Moose Inn

International students enjoy the winter months. There can be a lot more snow than in their home countries! Images courtesy of Susan.

What kind of feedback have customers given you about their experiences with the international students?

A lot of customers are impressed that people from all over the world come here, to upstate New York. It’s a little bit of a remote place, and they are intrigued about how the students got here and why they are here. A lot of the students are happy to talk to customers about their different countries, experiences, and what they are studying in school.

InterExchange’s participants forge great connections with the guests.

InterExchange’s participants forge great connections with the guests. Image courtesy of Susan.

What have you learned about your students and their home countries?

Turkish coffee has become our favorite! We have several students from Turkey who bring that. A lot of them come with cooking experience, so they make meals for us. It makes them feel more at home when they are homesick and gives us different culinary exposure.

International students love to enjoy the lake when they’re not working.

International students love to enjoy the lake when they’re not working. Image courtesy of Susan.

What has been the best part about working with InterExchange?

Flexibility and ease, especially of hiring through InterExchange’s online portal! Being able to go on the portal to see my applicants, their work experiences, and what they are doing now. I get to know quite a bit about them before I even set up an interview. It makes it a lot easier for me to be able to line the interviews up, get them all taken care off, hire the students, and be done.

What would you tell fellow business owners who are considering hosting international students?

Your business will be enhanced in more ways than you realize. The work ethic that comes with these students is amazing. Your customers will love the international exposure and will appreciate that you value more than just your local area.

Joy Lo By

Joy is a huge advocate for cultural exchange. She's lived across the U.S. and various countries around the world including the UK, Australia and Indonesia. She has a unique perspective on working and thriving in other cultures. She's been a contributing author on Au Pair USA program.

U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
The International Coalition for Global Education and Exchange
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation