Monday, 22 May 2017

Should I or should I not?

By Carmille Cole
These are the words that kept playing in my mind. Nevertheless, I took on a new challenge and this is where I am today. My name is Carmille, I am 34 years old and this is my story.
In August 2016 I accepted a job to work in Dubai. I was very stable and quite set in my career. However, I was still thinking; “Should I or should I not?". I went on vacation that month, after returning home, I did research and decided to pursue a different career path with Workaway International.  In October 2016, I found myself at Fountains Country Club. It has been such an amazing journey so far!

I boarded the plane and happened to sit next to Workaway participants. Little did I know that one of them will eventually be my roommate.
We arrived in New York and decided to hop on the sub-way. We didn’t even know each other yet, but we had a blast! The autumn weather was perfect – the leaves were perfect shades of yellow and orange. I still couldn’t believe that I was in New York City!

My first day definitely set the tone for the rest of my stay. Since then, I have enjoyed working and spending time exploring with the rest of the group. I worked a Halloween Party for the first time - with face painting and all. The events are on another level here, it is always very interesting and exciting and I always look forward to the next one.  Guests were fascinated and intrigued by our beautiful South African accents. While the work was hard, I definitely had much more fun.  
This experience has given me the opportunity to travel. Places like Miami and Cuba have always been on my bucket list and I am happy to say that it has been ticked off. Cuba was mind-blowing. The warm welcoming locals, their culture and cuisine is amongst the best I have ever come across in my time traveling. It didn’t hurt that Cuba is also the birthplace of Mojitos and Cigars.

I am happy to say the end of my time in the USA brought along something better - I have landed the position of head recruiter for the Workaway International office in Cape Town. With this, another adventure awaits. I get to meet new people from all walks of life and this is one of the biggest reasons why I enjoy hospitality so much.
With that said, I am looking forward to meeting you and sending eager, passionate people to the USA. Remember that you should be willing to go the extra mile and work hard while having fun! This opportunity is not just mind blowing but an experience of a lifetime.

Monday, 15 May 2017

And then there was America

By Chevonne Kieser

My name is Chevonne Kieser, 28 years old and from Boksburg. I am thrilled to officially introduce myself as the Head Recruiter in Johannesburg for Workaway International for the 2017/2018 winter program.

I recently returned from America and I can honestly say that it has been a life changing experience.

When I left high school, I decided to study Tourism as I always had a passion for travelling. Part of my studies required me to do a six months practical outside of South Africa.  That was the first time I got a taste of the American lifestyle. Although my first working experience in America was not through Workaway International, it was Workaway International that kept me going back for five seasons. 

Having international working experience in hospitality was enough for me to be accepted onto the Workaway International program. I was hired as a hostess at Boca West Country Club, where I worked my way up to Hostess Captain.

This program pushes you to be better. You meet people from all around the world, and they end up becoming family by the end of the season. 

This program is not all fun and games. Yes, work sometimes does not feel like work because of the familiar atmosphere that you are in; but this program does push you to limits you never thought you could reach. It opens up your eyes to things you would not normally see and changes your prospective. You can only grow while being on this program.

I am so excited for the upcoming season and to see what the Johannesburg candidates have to offer. I really look forward to meeting everyone and hope to see you at the upcoming presentations.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

New Beginnings

By Emma Seager

I have one more day left until I begin my journey to Long Island, New York. I cannot believe how quickly the past 6 months have gone! I have made some amazing memories and have had an experience of a lifetime. The Workaway International program has made so many things possible.

The hardest part is saying goodbye to all the amazing people who I have shared this experience with. If you considering doing this program alone, I can assure you, you will never be alone. You will make friends that become like family.

My roommate became like a sister to me. She left this morning to fly home and I am heartbroken. I am going to miss her so much. However, I know it is not goodbye but rather, “See you later”.

As one door closes, another one opens and I am so excited to see what New York has to offer. I will be making new friends and experiencing so many new things and I cannot even begin to describe my excitement. New York, I hope you are ready for me!

But first - I need to figure out how I am going to get all my stuff into one suitcase ;)

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

What a season!

By Nasiphi Sobahle

It feels like it was just yesterday when we were packing our bags, getting ready to leave South Africa and head to the United States to work at our respective and prestigious country clubs in South Florida.

However, the season is slowly coming to an end and I would like to congratulate each and every candidate that made it through the winter season, regardless of which country club you are at. I know I speak for most when I say that it was not as easy as we had imagined it to be, but it was definitely worth it.

There are a few people I would like to thank - each of you have impacted my life, my experience and my career in more ways than one and for that I am forever grateful.
To Ms. Watkins (COO of Hunters Run Country Club):  Words fail when I reflect on the five seasons I have completed at Hunters Run. It has been the BEST! Thank you for all that you and your team have done for the Workaway Group. I speak for the majority when I say we are truly thankful for the opportunity.

To the F&B Management staff (Jadranka, Courtney, Todd, Luis & Steve): You are one of a kind. You have created such a pleasant and conducive working environment for us. Nothing warms my heart more than being assured that we can count on you and that you have our best interest at heart. It has been another successful season under your wing and I have learned so much from each and every one of you as you have all impacted my life differently. I have grown and discovered myself under your watch.

To the members of Hunters Run Country Club: WOW! I have developed and established such good relationships with all of you over the past five seasons. I do not only see myself serving members of the club, but serving my “family”.

To my Workaway International colleagues: Thank you for an amazing season, we had our ups and downs but we were able to remain united. I hope you found what you were seeking and I hope your experience at Hunters Run was nothing short of amazing. I wish you all well on your future endeavors.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

My years At Hunters Run Country Club

By Nasiphi Sobahle

I am not sure where to begin, I have so much to say; as I am sitting here, I am going down memory lane and I am reminded of my humble beginnings.  

I joined the Workaway International program in 2012 and was placed at the Hunters Run Country Club. I was still very young and naive, not knowing what this industry had in store for me. I also did not have any experience but I remained positive and was so grateful that both Workaway International and Hunters Run saw potential in me - this alone was reason enough for me to give this opportunity my all.

I strongly believe that putting in an effort is more valuable than anything else. My time at Hunters Run has all been based on effort - I acknowledged that I was new in the industry and was willing to learn by throwing myself in the deep end. I knew I would come out stronger.

I have learnt so much at Hunters Run over the years and as cliché as this may sound, this country club has become my home.

To my colleagues, managers and amazing members at the country club, I am beyond grateful for all that you have done for me, from all your teachings to life lessons and more.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Workaway is about more then just about making money!

By Marvin Seekoei

I was struggling to decide on a topic to write about as this is my last blog and my last season on the program. However, after speaking to my wife, she reminded me of an interesting scenario - If I never came on this program what would my life have been like and who would have been part of it?

10 years ago, I met my wife on the Workaway International program. I have also made lifelong friends and met my current business partner.  I have realised that we generally tend to focus on money as a source of happiness and ignore the most valuable commodity in life, which is the relationships we build along the way.

My time in USA has also made me appreciate South Africa as I realised that every country has their own problems and issues but it is all about working through them with patience and love. Remember, no matter who you meet or what you do, there is always a lesson to be learned.

The experience I have gained from working at the Admirals Cove Country Club is invaluable. Working at a five star country club is probably the most challenging working environment you could experience. So if you can make it through a season, then working somewhere else will be a breeze.

The wisdom I have gained over the years has come from working and meeting people from different countries and cultures – it has certainly shaped me into the person I am today. The life lessons I have learned from the country club members are so amazing.

I want to wish all of the potential Workaway International participants the best for the future and remember that this experience is not just about money, it is about valuable life lessons that will mould you for the future. I want to send a shout out to the friends I have made on this program and a very special thank you to Marjorie Landsberg Territo for telling me about the presentation date in 2005 – that was the moment my life changed forever.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Living the dream!

By Emma Seager

It is almost that time where we make our way home or when some of us head up North. I am off to Long Island to Muttontown Country Club. I cannot wait to start this new adventure and explore the Big Apple!

The past few weeks have been so busy after opening our 50 million dollar steakhouse. It is absolutely gorgeous and the epitome of fine dining!

Some of you may be reading this to gain some insight into whether or not to apply for the winter season, my answer to you would be that you have nothing to lose. This program has opened up so many doors for me and I know that you will not regret it.

I was lucky enough to get 4 days off to travel to the Bahamas. Working for 6 months to spend a few days in tropical paradise makes it all worth it.

I have made amazing friends and learnt so much about the hospitality industry but most importantly I have grown personally. I have really enjoyed this experience. While the hospitality industry is extremely demanding, it has provided me with experiences that I would not have gained otherwise. None of this would have been possible without Workaway International.

I promise, you will not look back!