Monday, 13 September 2021

Memories last forever – Lauren Davids

 

So many great things to say I just don’t know where to start…

 

Well firstly I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Workaway International for the great opportunity they’ve given me. It has opened so many doors and allowed me to gain international work experience. I have also met some pretty good people through the program and made lifelong friends which I’ll cherish forever. 

 

This program taught me many things including how to become independent, to always strive to do my best and most importantly, it taught me how to actually cook my own meals – a goal I never thought possible to achieve! It also made me realize that anything is possible if you really put your mind to it.

 


Most of my free time was spent socializing with my fellow colleagues I met throughout the program. Some highlights included taking a day tour to Miami all the way to Tampa and spending some time at the Naples pier beach which was breathtaking! I’ve experienced some great places and seen amazing sites and even seen some famous celebrities like Cardi B, Sam Smith and so many more. Gosh this program was so good to me!

 


The memories last forever and I’m so excited to go ahead and make some more memorable moments this next season.

  


Wednesday, 8 September 2021

 

My love for travel – Malanie Titus

My love for travel began at a very young age. From the age of 6, I started exploring and ever since then, I could not stop. 

 


I started local traveling and experienced the finest culture and cuisines within my country but I knew I wanted to see more and became hungry to explore and travel further. I wanted to see more of what the world had to offer so I traveled to parts of Africa and Asia but knew my dream was to visit the United States. One day while casually browsing the internet looking at travel destinations, I came across Workaway International, I could not believe what I was reading. Without hesitation I decided to join the program.

 

Today I can proudly say, joining the Workaway International program was the best decision I have ever made. My dream came true! Not only did I get to travel to the United States, I got an opportunity to work at one of the best country clubs in Florida.

 


Over the years being on this program, I made lifelong friends and got to travel to different parts of the states. My experiences ranged from hiking Devils Tower in Wyoming, building my first snowman, visiting the famous Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, embracing Alcatraz Prison in San Francisco, fishing in Long Island, New York and being able to appreciate the country's history at Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, to name but a few.

 






I have gained a wealth of knowledge from all my travel experiences. I often try to share this knowledge with friends who have started traveling for the first time with hopes they will have an even better experience. 

 


With all that being said, a huge thank you to Workaway International for the opportunity in making my travel dreams come true. I would not have had these life changing experiences if it was not for the wonderful team at Workaway International!



 

 

Sunday, 29 August 2021

 

Go out there and take a leap - you never know what lies ahead – Shaun Liebenberg

To quote H. Jackson Brown Jr, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do”.

 

This was and will continue to be the motto that I carry with me. It is for this reason I greatly appreciate the opportunities provided by Workaway International as well as Boca West Country Club.

From getting on the first flight to the US, I had no idea how my life would suddenly change.

After a very fun and informative orientation provided by our employer we were ready to get to work. My employment was at our prestigious MyPi Restaurant at Boca West Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida.

 


Here, I was at the perfect place to sharpen my knowledge of what great service, attention to detail and member service was all about.

One of the biggest blessings was without a doubt the amount of new friendships that turned into family that was formed during my time abroad. From staying with housemates, to getting to know each of your colleagues and management team. I was undeniably surrounded with a great support system.

 



As if all these benefits weren’t enough, Boca West Country Club spoils the staff with a trip to Universal Studios. I mean, come on?

I will always be the biggest advocate for the Workaway program. Not only has it changed the way I view the world, but you’ll hear the exact same thing from every person that is, and has been on the program.

 


Due to COVID-19, my time was cut short, however I am excited to get back to the US to continue making memories. To conclude, nothing great ever comes from staying in your comfort zone. So go out there, take a leap - you never know what lies ahead…




Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Short lived but great experience that is to be continued…

By Gina Kekana

Honestly if someone told me that I would be working in America, I would have thought that they were joking. I am not from an ambitious family in that we weren’t the kind of family that explored relocation in another country let alone on another continent. I heard about the program and honestly, I was blown away and knew that I needed to apply no matter what.

The first time I applied I made it till the country club interviews but unfortunately for me there weren’t any more positions available. I did not give up and I applied the following year and I made it all the way through. It's honestly a feeling I cannot describe when you get your flight pack and reality kicks in.

Landing in Florida and getting slapped by the heat and humidity was so unexpected but enjoyable. Finally shopping at a Walmart was even better! Meeting new housemates was something different. We all needed to try and be open so that we could get to know each other and we did.

Arriving at Boca West County Club was my highlight as I could not believe that I would be the one working in such a beautiful place every day. Blessed was Gina for making it this far and being here, EARNING DOLLARS!!!!!!!!!!



There was so much to do in Florida, there are amazing beaches, restaurants, bars, museums, adventure sports and many amazing people to meet from all over America. Unfortunately my time was cut short due to the pandemic but I’m excited for what the next season holds. I will be sure to do more and explore more as I was also looking forward to going up north to New York for the summer program.


This would have never been possible if Workaway International South Africa did not believe in me. I can be a lot to handle but when I put my mind to something, I fully commit to it and that is why I never gave up till I made it in. Thank you to Charlotte and the team for believing in me.

Hopefully this season turns out to be yet another fantastic season, all the best to the applicants and remember, it's all about you 😊




Wednesday, 18 August 2021

My Workaway International Experience

By Claire Sewell

Where even do I begin! From take-off in South Africa to landing in Florida for the first time, I had no idea how much my life was about to change!

I remember landing at the airport and being so nervous about meeting everyone, getting everything done at the apartment and heading off to start work in a completely new environment. I got to the apartment complex and everyone was so friendly, it felt like I had known all these brand new people for years! Having started work, I remember sitting in training thinking to myself "what was I so nervous about?”. It was genuinely one of the easiest life transitions I have ever experienced! 

Through Workaway International's program, not only was I able to grow in the service industry but also make memories that will last a lifetime. I have had the most amazing experiences and made friends for life. 

I have had the opportunity in my 3 seasons that I worked in the USA of traveling and exploring and meeting the most incredible people! From the most beautiful sunsets in Southampton and New York to traveling through many states, experiencing so many different cultures and cuisines and working for some of the most prestigious country clubs. 


It didn't matter which club I worked at, every manager, every housing manager, and every colleague was so helpful and everywhere felt like home. Workaway was continuously sending emails to check in on us and how we were doing at our new clubs.

I can't help but try and send every person I possibly can, in Workaway International's direction. It is an opportunity of a lifetime and I'm so excited to go back and make even more memories!



Thursday, 25 June 2020

How to market yourself for your dream job!

Applying for jobs can be stressful, especially if you consider the number of people vying for the same position. The competition is tough and that is why it is important to be able to sell yourself to potential employees. This could be daunting. You don’t want to come across as arrogant or desperate. However, there are 5 easy ways that you can show off your skills and prove that you are the best candidate for the job! 

1. Understand the job requirements
It is important to know what the position you are applying for entails. This ensures that you understand the role and are sure that you have the relevant skills and experience to apply. You can then tweak your CV to highlight the specific skills that are relevant to the job you want. 

You should also do your research on the company you are applying to. You need to make sure that the company and its policies align with what is important to you. Being able to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the position and company to the interviewer will show how serious you are.

2. Look the part
Many potential employers will form their first impression of you based on how you look. A good image will set the right tone for the interview. Dressing appropriately and looking neat and presentable will show that you are serious about clinching the position. Charlotte Quenet-Meintjes, General Manager at Workaway International South Africa says, “You should avoid bright colors and patterned clothes – try sticking to colours like grey, white and blue as these are more professional and show sophistication and maturity. She also recommends not wearing excessive jewellery, ensuring your hair and nails are clean and neat. 

Looking good will also make you feel good and this will help you project confidence. Pay attention to your body language which sometimes speaks louder than words. Eye contact, hand motions, posture and tone of voice—are critical when selling yourself.

3. Identify your strengths and weaknesses
This question is guaranteed to come up in an interview. This is also one of the most difficult questions to answer. Most people don’t want to admit to their weaknesses, as this might undermine their standing. And most people shy away from talking about their strengths, for fear of coming across as conceited. This is, however, the perfect opportunity to define yourself! 

An employee would prefer to hire someone who knows what they bring to the table and can recognize what they need to work on. They need to see that you are capable of self-reflection and can understand and leverage your strengths and acknowledge and learn from your weaknesses. 

Coming up with a list of strengths and weaknesses ahead of the interview is crucial. Consider where you shine in the workplace, tasks that you perform well and get the most compliments on. These will all assist you in defining what your strengths are. Consider illustrating how that strength would be relevant in the particular position. Then look at the areas where you struggled previously and the steps you took to work on them. Look at how you have grown and what you have done to learn from it. 

When you are in the interview, keep your list short and to the point. Focus only on the points that are relevant to the position. 

4. Develop a script to show your experience 
It is always in your best interest to identify your skills and experiences so that you can illustrate how suited you are for the position you are applying for. Look at the list of jobs you have had before and identify what you have learned from each of them. 

Once you have listed your experience, look at how your experience accommodates the position you are applying for. Make sure that you rearrange them from the most relevant and create explanations for each example. Use this as guidelines so that you are clear in the interview. 

5. Using scenarios or anecdotes when talking about your skills
In your interview, you can expect to be asked behavioural questions. These are posed as questions about what you would do in certain scenarios. These questions are essential for the interviewer to determine how you would react in certain situations and whether you can think on your feet. Examples include how you would handle a difficult customer or co-worker, what would you do if there is a delay in the food service, etc. 

Be sure to explain what you would do and support it with examples of how this worked in the past. Do not forget to share the feedback you received from managers and fellow staff and how your solutions or recommendations benefited the business.

Thursday, 11 June 2020

Out and About in the USA

By Marlon Goodwin

I was inspired to start my adventure almost 9 years ago by a post on Facebook. I then looked up what Workaway International was all about. I never thought that from taking that first step and applying would, I would get the amazing adventures, friendships, relationships, and experiences I have now.


After the interview’s, embassy visit and police clearance, I was on my first international flight to America. The country club that best suited me was Windsor. From the very first interview, I had a feeling that this could the chance I needed to better myself. Nestled in the exceptionally beautiful Vero Beach, I started my first winter season in America. I never thought that I would be there for 8 seasons!

I started as a normal server. After hard work, I am now a server captain. It is difficult but fun. We have members that are interested in learning about us and where we come from. I've been pulled into conversations by members wanting to know more about my beautiful homeland, South Africa. Some of the hardest and longest shifts I’ve had to work were around Thanksgiving, which just happens to be at the start of the season. As hard as it was, it was also so amazing to experience new traditions. My friends and I even have our very own ‘Friendsgiving’.


It took a little getting used to being away from home, but when I realized that the team around me was going through the same thing, bonds are formed. Going through this Workaway International experience has created a new family that I would never have found.
From having our very own Secret Santa to our own little New Year’s gathering, this experience has opened my eyes. Getting to exchange stories of different cultures and traditions has been amazing. My club initially only hired South Africans and Irish. It was an interesting experience speaking to an Irish person for the first time. A few years later, we also had Portuguese and Italians working with us. Getting to learn from all of them was just such a blessing.

When Workaway International told us there were opportunities to go up north to other clubs in the summer season, I had to take it. I went with a club that most of our members were already in. I got to meet more people there. Some from Jamaica and others from Eastern Europe. This was an entirely new journey that was just as amazing. Going through all of this after so many seasons has been so amazing and it all started from just taking the chance and applying.


I have had so many memories from all the places I have been to and the things that I have done. My favourite memory was when our club took us to Universal Studios Florida. It was such a joyful day. I loved the place so much that I got a year's pass. There was just so much to see and do there. It was a much-needed break from work for the team. Orlando is a tourist destination and I took it all in. The next place we visited was the happiest place on earth, Disney World. The inner child in me went crazy. As silly as it sounds, riding Space Mountain with my friends is still one of my fondest memories.


I could not be in America and not visit New York City. It is truly the city that never sleeps. There was so much to see and do. My first stop was the Empire State Building. I was playing 'Empire State of Mind' by Alicia Keys on repeat that day! As someone who works in hospitality, I was crazy about the different food trucks in Brooklyn. Next on my journey was Sin City itself - Las Vegas.


Vegas was everything I expected and more. My friend managed to arrange a suite at the iconic Caesars Palace. The casinos and shows were so amazing. I will definitely be going back if I get the chance. That is all I can say about my experience because "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas".

Some of the best trips I got to take were the scenic trips to Georgia or the drives down to Miami or West Palm Beach. I will hold the trip to Napa Valley close to my heart. The club was kind enough to arrange a tour at one of the wineries there. It was just so breath-taking.
You might be wondering how I could travel to so many places. The club would always allow us a little downtime towards the end of the season. The managers are always looking for ways to make the season as memorable as possible. That is why I keep coming back. They treat us so well. From wine and food tastings to better our knowledge to health and safety classes. The club always aimed to better us, so that we can give excellent service to our members. That is the knowledge I am so grateful to have gotten from them.

All in all, I am so grateful that I took the chance and applied. Workaway International has introduced me to so many experiences. I have gained a new family that I look forward to seeing every day at work. Anyone questioning whether to take the chance should consider it! The Workaway International team will work with you and guide you each step of the way. They will do what is best to pair you with the right club. Any questions I had were always answered by a kind and friendly team member. I hope that whoever is reading this will have a journey just as amazing as mine.