Tuesday, 20 September 2016

The time is now!

By Nasiphi Sobahle

Standing outside the Hilton Hotel – Durban on September 10 2016 (Saturday) and observing the Durban candidates walk in, in their numbers, with huge smiles on their faces certainly warmed my heart. I must admit that this sight took me back to the first time I attended a Workaway orientation in 2012, not knowing what to expect but I knew it was all good stuff and the most amazing part was suddenly realizing that the process is almost over and I will soon be in the United States of America.

… And it suddenly dawned on me and the rest of those who were present at the orientation that “The Time Is Now.”

The time to:

·       Begin with the Medical Evaluation process

·                                             Complete visa application forms
·                                             Prepare ourselves for our visa interviews at the US Consulate
·                                             But most importantly to meet the deadlines given.

With all the waiting that everyone has gone through, especially the new recruits who had no idea how long the entire process will take, things are looking much brighter and everyone is definitely chuffed that they will be embarking on an exciting professional venture soon and with all this being said…I am reminded that a wise man once wrote:

“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.”

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

New Season. New City

By Kelly Garcia

Labour Day has come and gone in the US, which means summer is officially over and I have no idea how to feel about it! I am sad that we no longer get to go to the lake as often but I am so excited for less humidity (even though Florida’s humidity will be killing me in about a month). My favourite things about winter in Chicago are the coats, boots, beanies and scarves!

With the season slowing down, we had a little more time off and we decided that a hike was just what we needed! Of course, the day we decide to head out, the temperature soared to 33 degrees (Celsius) and the humidity was crazy. Despite the heat the hike was great - fresh air, waterfalls, a lovely picnic, spiders and an obscene amount of stairs. While this resulted in lots of sweating, it was well worth it. The hiking trail was situated in a ‘ghost town’.  It had one street with old dilapidated buildings and we did not see a single soul - it was straight out of a horror movie.  It was definitely an exhilarating experience.

It is great to see how popular Nando’s has become in Chicago. Last season there was only one branch but there are now four in the city. It does not compare to the one at home, though. , We took some of our American and European colleagues there and made them try the peri-peri sauces.

To top off a great month I went to see Lauren Hill and Train at Ravinia. Train was so much fun and I screamed out “Drops of Jupiter” in the final performance – the perfect ending, in my opinion. Lauren Hill was AMAZING! She was a little late but when she eventually came on, she did not disappoint! The outfit she wore was a bit strange but she rocked it like the queen that she is. What made it even better was that I received two tickets closer to that stage from two women that left earlier.  I could not believe it - I guess I was in the right place at the right time. So our head chef and I ran inside the pavilion and got to see her up close and personal! She even sang “Doo Wop” – one of my favourites.

We only have about a month left in Chicago, the season went by way too fast but it was a great one. I got to be with my friends again and I made some awesome new ones. The rest of the season is going to be super slow so I am going to spend as much time with them as possible before our bitter farewell!

Monday, 5 September 2016

Your dreams are valid!!!

Nasiphi Sobahle

“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.” – Christopher Reeve

Too many times, we put our dreams off. We hesitate to seize opportunities such as that offered by Workaway International. Despite the fact that the South African youth are eager to travel, work and study abroad, many of us are held back by our lack of confidence – either concluding that such opportunities are too good to be true, or that we face too much competition.

If I can give my fellow South Africans one piece of advice, it is this: Your dreams are valid – you have to find the courage to follow them.

I can still recall how nervous I was when I embarked on the Workaway programme back in 2012. After all, the Tourism & Hospitality industry is competitive – it is imperative that one is well skilled, equipped with experience and groomed to the standards required by the industry. But I gathered my courage and grabbed the opportunity. Experience is such an advantage. I found my courage by  reminding myself that I had the experience and qualifications to contribute on an equal footing with the other candidates.

I am proud to say that I have never looked back since 2012, and I have learned so much in the seasons that I have completed. Hunters Run Golf Country Club has broadened my horizons, expanded my knowledge of the industry, and has groomed and equipped me with a bucket full of training.

I would like to personally congratulate every candidate who has been accepted by a country club thus far. I want to commend you for having the patience, because Workaway International takes pride in their work and their selection process. Celebrate that you have been accepted and continue having the positive attitude that has carried you through; you are going to need it for your visa interview.

What seemed impossible is now very possible. Do not give up; you are too close to the finishing line.

There is a lot of hard work ahead for you - but also so much fun! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Seize the dream!

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Back to Florida!

By Melissa Chauvet

It seems as if it was yesterday that I returned home from Florida. I cannot believe that in just over a month I will be heading back for my third season at Mirasol Country Club.

During my time at home, I have had the opportunity to help recruit candidates for Workaway International. It has been challenging and hard at times, but I got to meet amazing people and made friends with a good few of them.

I am sure the candidates who made it through the selection process are extremely excited to be taking on a great new adventure. This is an opportunity of a lifetime. You will not regret it. One piece of advice I can give is to prepare to be a little homesick, especially when you are working long hours. When you feel it coming on, remind yourself that you are with an amazing group of people who are in the same boat as you. Those feelings will soon pass. That often helped me, as did reminding myself why I took the chance to travel and work in the US in the first place.

Like any other job, it definitely gets easier once you get the hang of things. And then there are the most amazing distractions for the home-sick. You get to explore Florida and see what the American lifestyle is all about. How cool is that? See you on the other side of the Atlantic soon!

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Getting closer!

By Stormy Cousins

It has been a whirlwind, helping potential Workaway candidates with their recruitment process during my time at home.

While I have been helping out and preparing the new applicants for their possible journeys, I have found myself getting more and more excited to return to Florida...

My first stop when I get back to America is Starbucks but there are many other things I’m looking forward to. It is going to be great seeing all my old Boca West friends again, as well as making new friends with some of the new applicants. I am also excited to be starting a new position, with new challenges that will help me learn and grow in the industry.

That is why this programme is such a great opportunity. While it is amazing to go to America and experience a different country and culture, you also get to experience so much on a professional level. My advice to the new applicants is to take in as much knowledge as you can when you are there, and live as many great experiences as you can.

Travelling is very easy in America. Some of my adventures were to the Everglades, Universal Studios and Key West. In my photos you will see some of my memories!

Travel, make new friends and grow! Best of luck!

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Florida, here I come!

By Kelly Garcia

It feels like I have been in Chicago for a while but it has not even been two months yet. This season is just winding down quickly and autumn (fall) is almost here. Guests have started to leave already, so the past few days have been all about bittersweet goodbyes. My team members were fun as usual - always making me laugh and teaching me the way of 'Murica.

For our final outing, the entire group went to Six Flags amusement park and I finally got to do the Goliath - the most extreme rollercoaster of its kind! I have been to Six Flags thrice and the rain has stopped me every time. However, this time I got my adrenaline rush - I have never screamed so loudly in my life! It was by far my favorite experience but I could not do that giant drop again. Well, not until next year!

Tonight we have a huge surprise party for a member's 60th birthday. Her husband went all out for this party and I mean ALL OUT! He even got a stage built on the beach. She is one lucky lady. It should be a good night.    

To top my week off, I heard that I have a job in Florida! What a relief it is not to worry about that any more. And the best part is that I am going with two of my good friends. Even though I still have a few months left in Chicago, I cannot help but get excited for my new adventure in Florida!

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

The last stretch...

By Melissa Chauvet

We are approaching the end of our search for candidates. Our final presentation is on Sunday, 7 August, so make sure not to miss it!

I must commend the candidates who have already been for their country club interviews – you all looked smart and carried yourselves in a very professional manner. Congratulations for reaching this stage of the process – I am sure your application approval is not far off.

For those still waiting for your interview, remember that it is advisable to be well-groomed and dressed; tattoos should be covered if visible and, guys to be clean shaven. The first impression is the last impression.

October is around the corner and the experience awaiting you in the States will be unforgettable.  I will be returning to America for the third time this year and believe me - the excitement never wears off.  To my fellow returners, it is almost time to pack again for the long trip and in just a few months we will be falling back into our jobs, reuniting with our managers and co-workers, and happy to reconnect with the members of these prestigious clubs.

Those who are interested in going on this programme in the future should make a note that the recruitment process takes place every year from May to October. Visit our website for more details and in the meantime try to gain experience in the position you are interested in, as it will be advantageous.