Monday, 18 September 2017

The Start of a New Chapter with Workaway International

By Megan Volker

In just a few weeks’ I will begin a new chapter abroad with Workaway International. I am super excited and grateful for such an amazing opportunity. Working and travelling abroad is one of the most important life experiences you can ever have – should you get the opportunity to do so.

It is vital that you remember a few key factors as you prepare for this journey ahead:

1.    Remember to pack wisely as there are certain weight restrictions with luggage;
2.    Do not let your nerves get the better of you. It is natural to feel scared or anxious before a long journey, especially when you have to leave your loved ones behind for the first time;
3.    Seize every opportunity as it comes;
4.    Remember to be yourself and make as many friends as you can. The friends you make will soon grow into family;
5.    Treat others as you would want to be treated;

Work hard and remember to always make a great impression.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

7 tips to remember when you are in Florida

By Catherine Lindebaum

Hey everyone! My name is Cat Lindebaum and I am a returner on the Workaway International Programme. I started in 2014 and 3 years later I am happy to return to Addison Reserve Country Club for my fourth season abroad, along with my boyfriend Gideon, who I met in my very first season at the country club.

The returning recruiters will know the drill but for all the new recruits, the first couple of weeks will be tough. Settling in to your new home, adapting and learning the ropes takes time, but remember to keep your head up, work hard and embrace the learning phase.

I have had the opportunity to experience fiery sunrises in Delray Beach and incredible sunsets in Naples. I explored Florida on a scooter, visited the southernmost point of the continental United States, celebrated my 21st birthday in Times Square and road-tripped from Florida to Vermont. All of which I did while showing up on time, maintaining a positive attitude and going the extra mile in my position as a hostess and reservationist.

Being a returner, I would like to think that I have gained a bit of wisdom to share. So here are 7 tips to keep in mind when you are on the Workaway International programme in Florida.

1.    You may be living in an apartment with 3 - 5 other people for the entire season. Get to know your housemates and most of all respect them and be considerate at all times.

2.    Come up with a cleaning routine early on in the season to ensure all housemates do their part. I have found that if everyone just cleans up after themselves straight away, there are rarely any problems or last minute major cleaning for an inspection.

3.    This one is simple: Be on time. Work hard. Smile always. These will always ensure a successful and problem-free work day.

4.    Some members of the country clubs will be abrupt and very demanding. Instead of retaliating in a negative way, rather take a few minutes to yourself and just breathe. If you still feel uncomfortable after that, speak to your server captain, manager or supervisor and communicate your problem. You will find that communication remains the key in every situation!

5.    Being new can be very overwhelming at times. Do not be afraid to ask for help whenever you need it. There will always be people to help you along the way.

6.    Likewise, if you are a returner and are training new recruits, practice patience. Remember their success is your success and you are all a team.

7.    Do not forget that you are in a different country. There are many rules that remain the same but there are also different rules and laws to adhere to. One of the biggest law states that the legal age for drinking & smoking is 21 years old. Be safe and stay legal at all times!

Most of all have fun, go out, explore and experience all there is to offer and make a ton of lifelong friends and memories you will not forget.

Enjoy and all the best of luck!

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

We are all in this together

By Paige Pretorius

It is almost time to leave my family, friends and the place I have called home for 21 years, to begin a new adventure in the United States of America.

After our orientation at the Hilton Hotel, the reality of this impending journey hit me!   We received bright red packs with all the information we need to start our journey. Even then, it still felt like you can never have enough information.

Getting to chat to some of the “returners” and “newbies” at the orientation was a big help. It is intimidating having to talk to all these new people but these are the people who are possibly going to be your support structure while you are abroad. You want to get to know as many people as you can, and not only from your club but also from other clubs as well. The most amazing part so far is that I have already met some incredible people - and we have not even left yet.

Now, the time has come for us to start completing the tasks on our to-do list provided by Workaway International.  I have already been prodded with needles at the pathology lab and had x-rays taken of my chest at the radiologist.  Although it all sounds daunting (as it sure did to me), my excitement grows with every task that is ticked off my list.  

There is still quite a lot to do: A visit to the GP, the scary appointment at the USA Consulate and of course, getting down to the ‘nitty-grittys’ for our uniforms.

It will all come together and I would love to say “in time” however, we all know that there is not much time left. So all the best to my fellow Workaway International recruits, we are all in this together!

Monday, 11 September 2017

My current journey with Workaway International

By Arthur Devon Petersen 

“Where do I begin?” is the exact question I asked myself when I realized that I wanted to embark on a journey to work and experience life in the USA. Who better to provide me with such a momentous opportunity than Workaway International?

I heard about Workaway International through friends. At first, I thought it was a scam – it was too good to be true. My friends embarked on their journey and completed their first season at Boca West Country Club in Florida.  I immediately knew that this is what I was meant to do as well!

I attended a presentation and went through the screening process. In the beginning it was quite overwhelming as there were so many people applying to be on the Workaway International programme. Johannesburg had over 1000 applicants! It is difficult not to second guess yourself. Even while meeting with the various Country Club representatives, you cannot help but doubt your chances of being successful in the process. I then thought to myself, this is just like varsity, it begins with plenty of students and only the cream of the crop make it to the end. Finally - to my amazement - I am a step away from being employed at Boca West Country Club.

It has been a long wait to get to where we are now. Since the orientation, it finally sunk in that I am on my way to America. This is an opportunity to make new friends, new connections and begin a new journey in my life. I have only the staff at Workaway International to thank for providing many people, like myself, an opportunity to make our families and country proud by allowing us to serve and represent the hospitality industry. I will be a Server at Boca West Country Club and for this I am truly blessed and grateful.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Gearing up to take flight to Florida

By Claire Smith

The countdown to our recruits meeting at the pre-departure orientation for visa interviews, medical checks and other formalities has begun!  I am excited to return to the beach, soak up the sun and see my friends and the members at the Mirasol Country Club in Florida. I cannot wait for our recruits to start their journey – like I did 5 years ago.

It can be overwhelming and intimidating to travel to America, especially if it is your first time flying. 

Here are a few tips that will help when preparing for your new adventure:

When packing, roll your clothing instead of folding it so that there is more space;  
Do not over pack because you will definitely be doing a lot of shopping;
Carry a pen along with you as you will be required to complete custom and immigration forms on the airplane before you land;
If you need to take along any prescribed medication, make sure that you have a doctor’s note for the medication so that airport officials can identify why you are carrying the medication; 
Another helpful tip is to take chewing gum along with you as it helps prevent your ears from blocking as your flight ascends;
You are also more than welcome to take along your favorite snacks.

Do not be overwhelmed when arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport as the staff is friendly and willing to help where needed. Just sit back and as you take your next flight to Miami, take a look out of the window and you will see hundreds of yellow taxis - just like in the movies!

It has been such an amazing few months, meeting and getting to know all our recruits. I hope you are all as excited as I am to jet off to the USA. I think the 2017/2018 Workaway International season is going to be the best one yet!

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

It’s almost time to go back to the US

By Chevonne Kieser

I can finally say that we are nearing the end of the recruitment stage. It was so great to meet such incredible people. As the Johannesburg recruiter, I am glad I could be part of your journey to America. I am so proud of all the successful candidates and I am really excited to see you all again at the pre-orientation.

Time has gone by so fast. I cannot believe it is almost time for me to head back to Boca West Country Club for my sixth season. I have had an amazing time back  home, spending time with my family and even catching up with friends I have made in America that have come home for winter.

In no time you will be heading to the airport to catch your flight. A word of advice: do not resign from your current job until you have your visa. Pack as little as possible because you will be doing a lot of shopping once you are in Florida. Try to pack your favorite South African snacks and be open to new experiences.

Going on this programme will be the best decision. You are going to work long and hard but you are going to have the time of your life and you will meet amazing people who will become family.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

More exploring!

By Emma Seager

August started off with a series of unfortunate events from waking up at 3:30am to missing a train, getting on the wrong subway (twice!), getting caught in a huge thunderstorm in Central Park and almost missing the One Republic tribute concert dedicated to Chester Bennington! We ended up with front row spots and ended up on live television!

As if August wasn’t eventful enough, I also ended up visiting Niagara Falls too! I took a road trip upstate and stopped halfway at the Finger Lakes, it was breathtakingly beautiful. We went ‘glamping’ (which is glamorous camping) and it is an experience I would love to have again. We also went wine tasting and explored the old town, where we stopped at so many cute places.

Visiting Niagara Falls was unbelievable; there are no words to describe its beauty. We arrived in the afternoon and watched the fireworks display the evening. The bright colours of the fireworks reflected on the falls and it was an amazing sight to see! The following day we came back and took the Maid of the Mist Boat Tour which took us right to the base of the falls. I was absolutely soaked from the mist! You can walk around the top of the falls and see it from different angles, it was beautiful and we managed to see rainbows too - definitely a once in a lifetime experience!

The country club organised a trip to a vodka distillery for us, which was fantastic. We took a tour around the distillery and also received the opportunity to taste amazing flavored vodkas!

We are approaching the end of the season and I have just under 2 months left in New York. I plan on making these last two weeks count and I am going to do as much as I can!