Tuesday, 13 November 2018

The Workaway Recruitment Journey

By Nzuzo Mkhungo

My name is Nzuzo Mkhungo, I am 19 years of age and am heading for Florida for my participation in the programme for the first time. Excited but scared “scarecited”! The hospitality industry is my chosen home and the opportunity I am getting with Workaway is one that will shed light in that regard.

Well I was fortunate enough to be chosen to be a part of the programme. Admirals Cove is where I am going to shine and make the programme proud! It has not been an easy sailing but here we are……I wasn’t lucky enough to be chosen after the first interview I went to. I was a constant caller to the office, sent dozens of emails and it eventually paid off.

I will be flying for the first time, I will be out of KZN for the first time, and I will be out of South Africa for the first time all thanks to the women I cannot omit in this text. Charlotte, Michelle, Tahira, Lucy and Robyn thank you. You have given me an opportunity I never thought was possible. 

In a few weeks I will be saying “GOODBYE SOUTH AFRICA AND HELLO AMERICA!”. I cannot wait but I am so scared at the same time: I am telling you now, this is a choice I will not regret making. Do the same and trust me, the experience I’m about to share with you will become yours to live.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Adventure awaits!

By Tanita Dos Anjos
Only 10 more days until my feet will be on American soil, in the oh-so-sunny Florida! I’m sure I’m not the only one who is feeling overwhelmed by excitement and nervousness for this exciting chapter that is to come.

My name is Tanita dos Anjos and soon I’ll be arriving in Florida to begin work at one of the most prestigious golf courses in America “Boca West Country Club”! The journey leading up to this has been just as overwhelming as the countdown to leaving!

It all started with a presentation that left many in awe and eager to apply to get a chance to experience “The American Dream”. After that, it was interview after interview, each time the stakes would get higher and higher, and we began to climb to the ladder to the end goal-working in Florida. The most nail-biting interview was definitely the one with Boca West. 

Butterflies erupted in my stomach as I moved closer and closer to the interview room and as soon as I saw my interviewer I set my eyes on the prize and somehow managed to calm myself enough to seem like-able and suitable for the job. The weeks thereafter I checked my emails 24/7 and I constantly had my phone on loud, waiting in anticipation for any news if I had made it or not. Then the day came, it was quite ironic, because for a split second it was completely out of my mind and that’s exactly when I heard the buzzing on my phone and saw the number, from the head office in Cape Town, calling and my stomach flipped! “Congratulations! You’ve been accepted to work at Boca West! “A smile grew upon my face and I couldn’t wait to share the news with my loved ones! My excitement was uncontainable! 
From there on everything moved so quickly! Filling out forms about who’d I’d like to share accommodation with and zoning for the medical exams followed by an orientation, organizing all the paperwork for the VISA and to add more stress on top of that, I’m a student, so I had to tackle exams too! Once my exams were done, orientation was completed, and all VISA paperwork and medical papers were compiled the last hurdle was getting the VISA. It doesn’t seem like a difficult thing to obtain but the embassy was almost as nerve wrecking as my interview with Boca West! However, as soon as I heard: “Your VISA has been approved” it was like I could finally picture myself in Florida officially working and gaining experience!

The next call I’d be getting from Cape Town would be the call to tell me my date of departure and ever since I’ve received that call my emotions have gone into turmoil! Happiness, excitement, nervousness and uncertainty of what will happen, all mixed into one! All that’s left to do now is pack and prepare for the adventure abroad and if it’s anything like what I picture in my head I know that I won’t ever regret it!

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

A New Chapter

By Tara Clampett

It is always a bittersweet feeling leaving your home country, your comfort zone, your family and friends. This season it was especially tough saying goodbye to the amazing ladies at the Workaway office. I am eternally grateful to each one of them for making the past five months so enjoyable.

Now for the start of a new chapter… This season I am a part of the wonderful team at the nation’s number 1 private residential country club, Boca West Country Club. All the staff are so friendly and always willing to help, which makes adjusting to a new work environment much easier. I am sure many of the first-time participants are feeling very nervous about their first day at work, however as Mr Linderman, President, COO and GM of Boca West says, nerves are a good thing as they show that you care about your job and that you want to perform well. It is also important to remember that ultimately, we are all representing South Africa while we are working in the USA so let’s represent our country well!

I believe that it is important to start your season with a goal in mind…for many of us, saving money is the main reason for joining the Workaway International program and a goal such as this helps keep you focused throughout the season. Nothing beats the feeling of seeing your bank balance grow and all your hard work pay off. You could be saving money for a car or house when you get home or maybe for a vacation at the end of the season… whatever it is, do not lose sight of your goal!

I wish all the new participants the best for the season ahead and I hope that it will be a successful season for Workaway South Africa!

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Pure Gratitude

By Christiaan Haasbroek

Time has flown by so quickly! I cannot believe that I will be applying for my visa again, to return to Admirals Cove Country Club for another season.

Since I landed in South Africa it has been an adventure.  I took a trip to Cape Town to meet up with all the ladies behind the scenes of Workaway International, South Africa, who works long hours every day of the week catering to all the participants needs.

As a participant and not an employee I would like to thank; Charlotte, Lucy, Michelle, Tahira, Tara, Robyn and Amber for the amazing work that they do. They are truly making dreams come true by making sure that every candidate is taken care of.

No one really realises the amount of work that goes into each candidate, from each region. Participants always feel that once they start the process things do not happen as quickly as they would like, and then suddenly you get that call and everything is happening all at once. It can be a bit overwhelming and stressful, but trust me, once you arrive at the country club all the stress, anger and tears will be completely worth it.

Over the past 5 months I have met some amazing people that will be joining us on the Workaway International programme. I have to say that I am thoroughly excited to work with the new candidates. The other recruiters and I have come to learn who you are, and we truly look forward to joining everyone at the country clubs. If we do not work together we might end up seeing you around Florida at the local supermarket or mall, maybe even at the beach 😉.

It has been an honour to work for Workaway International these past 5 months and a real challenge. I wish you all the best for the next few weeks: with visa appointments coming up, packing and getting ready to head out on a brand-new adventure!

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Here’s to a New Season!

Sonia Marques

In about 2 weeks I will be leaving for Delray Beach, Florida - to work at the Addison Reserve Country Club for my third season!

Even as a returner, the excitement is still there. There is so much to look forward to, especially in the beginning of the season – a new season is like a new year.

Who am I going to be working with? Who am I going to meet? Who will become my closest friends? What will the theme of the Season Opening Party be? What will our staff party be like? Where will I go explore this time around? All these questions are getting me excited for what’s to come.

The most exciting part of a new season is meeting new friends, who will be making your experience even more worthwhile - these friends become your family. You will meet people from all over the world; South Africa, America, Ireland, Austria, Germany and Portugal, to name a few.

A new season is also a new opportunity to prove yourself to your country club and to yourself and it allows you to excel in your strengths and grow even more as a person. The learning never ends.

Although this can all be very exciting, there is still sadness in leaving home. However, time flies and before you know it, the season is coming to an end and you will be reunited with your loved ones. It is important to remember that this is an opportunity of a lifetime and your family is so proud of you and you should be proud of yourself too.

Good luck, work hard and have fun!

Monday, 1 October 2018

Bitter-sweet moments

By Robin May

We are currently in the final stage of the recruitment process - Visa Appointments; which means our dreams are slowly becoming a reality. Control your nerves, look and speak professionally and be punctual. First impressions are extremely important.

For some it will be their very first time going to the USA, which can be nerve wrecking yet exciting. For the Workaway returners, it will be like going back to our “home away from home”.

My advice to candidates going on the Workaway International programme for the first time is to be yourself and keep a professional working balance with your employers. This is key for the next season when your country club offers you another opportunity to possibly come back and gain more experience 😊

For me personally it is bitter-sweet. I have been home for 5 months and in just a few weeks I will be on my way to Florida! I am thankful for this golden opportunity and to be part of such a prestigious programme. It is always sad having to say goodbye to family and friends, but nothing is more encouraging than support from people that believe in you and your dreams – so make them proud!

Soon we will be jet setting to Florida on a 24-hour flight. You will be exhausted and completely amazed at every leg of the journey. Stick together, wave your Workaway Travel Wallets with pride and fly the South African flag high!

Friday, 28 September 2018

Before you start packing...

By Tara Clampett

With consulate appointments around the corner, the time has come for everyone to start preparing for the exciting journey ahead!

One stress (especially for the ladies) is always what to pack: do you take the plain black bikini or the one with the floral print? Or maybe one bikini and one full piece? How many pairs of heels should you take? Do you really need the short and long sleeved little black dress?

Packing can be a nightmare, especially for first time travelers, however as all the returners say: pack as lightly as you can because you are going to buy a lot of clothes, shoes and accessories while you are in the USA. Plus, you do not want to pay an additional $100 - $400 for an extra suitcase when you return home.

Below are my top travel hacks that have saved me a lot of money and stress:

1) The best investment is a decent handheld luggage scale. This allows you to weigh your bags without the struggle of trying to position your case on a body weight scale. It is also much more accurate.

2) Roll all your clothes instead of folding them as this takes up less space. I also put all tops that I have rolled into Ziploc bags to save even more space and keep my suitcase organised.

3) Ensure that your hand luggage does not contain any liquids over the 100ml rule. I made this mistake my first season and had to throw a lot of toiletries away.

4) Remember to pack enough toiletries in your check-in luggage bag to get you through your first few weeks, as toiletries are expensive in the USA.

5) Always remember to take travel adaptor plugs so that you can still use your electronics in the USA.

6) Buy a neck pillow for the plane - trust me, this will save your neck and back.

7) Remember to check your luggage in to your final destination for example, Fort Lauderdale. HOWEVER, you still need to collect your luggage at the first point of entry into the USA; for example, JFK Airport.

8) Lastly, stick with the returners throughout your journey, from South Africa to the United States. It can be very stressful and confusing; however, the returners have been through it all and can offer guidance.

I hope these tips will help and I look forward to seeing all the excited faces on the plane - to the USA!