Monday, 29 August 2011

My 9 to 5 job!

Wow it feels amazing to have my first paycheque. I no longer have to be cautious on what to spend and can now splash out on new shoes and clothes – I am in heaven! It was however a bit difficult getting back into the routine of waking up early and working a 8 and a half hour day again, sitting behind a desk (so boring), dealing with paperwork and answering the telephone (annoying) , but it all pays off when you have your own money in your bank account.

On the Workaway side, I know a lot of you are still waiting to hear if you have been a successful applicant or not, I know that it is nerve wracking waiting for the news, but hang in there. And for those of you who were not successful, do not despair, it does not mean that you are not a worthy candidate, it just means that it wasn’t the right time for you to go. So if you are really keen on trying again next year, make sure you are extra prepared this time. Make sure that you have all the necessary training and experience you need for the position that you are applying for, and especially if you are applying to be a server, get some more serving experience, it won’t hurt to have that extra year or so on your CV.

For those of you who have been accepted, congratulations, you are in for the experience of a lifetime. Now the dreadful part begins, anticipation… you are so excited to leave and all time seems to be doing is taking it’s sweet time. The next step is the orientation which is very exciting because you get to meet all the other candidates who are leaving with you. You will be divided into your clubs so you get the chance to see who they actually are. If you are going alone, this is the perfect opportunity for you to meet other candidates who are also going alone and perhaps find yourself a roommate or a housemate, so that you are not too much in the dark when you get to the other side, and also to create some piece of mind. Last year for me, I was going on my own and I was worried about who I was going to live with and just afraid of the unknown I guess, but I made friends with one of the Workaway staff, begged her to be my friend, she offered me to stay with her in her house and we have been best friends ever since – she will be so happy that I actually posted this online because whenever she tells people this story, I always deny it! But seriously, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, invite some of the people on Facebook, get to know them and see if they are a stalker – just kidding – but at least when you are on your long flight to the US and those long layovers at the airport, you will have that familiar face to turn to.

Author: Nolene Lotz

Travel and Tourism

One great opportunity the Workaway International program provided me was the opportunity to go work and travel abroad. I would otherwise have never had the opportunity to see and do all the amazing things the USA has to offer. I’ve been all along the east coast from Key West, Florida to Greenwich, Connecticut.

I was fortunate the last week to play SA tour guide to Angela from the Workaway Office in Florida, whose first time it was to come to South Africa. As a local, I never really took the time to see some of the amazing beauties of our wonderful country.

It was a great sunny Cape Town day and we headed out through Camps Bay and along the coast down to Cape Point. What an experience to stand where the two great oceans meet and look back at the view. Afterwards it was off to Spier Estate for Angela to pet the cheetahs, a little wine tasting was to follow. Then a dash back to the city for cocktails at sunset watching the sun dip into the sea…

This is not the first time I’ve had to play tour guide to someone from the US, but it is always a proudly South African moment to “show off” our country. I would have never had the opportunities the program has provided to me, had my best friend Rob not persuaded me nine years ago to take the chance.
The Country Clubs are in the process of finalizing their selections, but for those that have been selected and this is your first time traveling overseas, make the most of every opportunity that comes your way. You never know... you may get the opportunity to fly in a private jet to Key West for dinner.!!

Author: Andre Smith

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

From Joburg to Cape Town!

It has been a very busy few weeks with interviews and presentations in Johannesburg. A departure is beckoning us and soon it will be time to jet set on a 24 hour journey to the USA!!!!

With interviews going so well, it was time for Boca West to touch down on South African soil. It was very nervous times for the candidates that were being interviewed; you could just see the fear in their eyes as they got closer and closer to the time for their interview. I tried hard to help them relax but from my past experience I know its very nerve wrecking!!! Interviews went very well and candidates left in high spirits.... hopeful that they would receive good news!

With the next week fast approaching it was time for some of the other clubs to do interviews...I started feeling very nervous as I was going to be on the other side of the fence. I was going to be conducting interviews for my club “Sailfish Point”. I must say the nerves were getting the better of me...but after the first few interviews were completed I felt much better :) I got to interview some REALLY nice people and knew I would have my work cut out for me when I had to make my final decisions on who I wanted to select!! Knowing that in the back of my mind I still had to go to Cape Town to meet more amazing people...

After the Johannesburg interviews it was a rush to get to OR Tambo Airport to catch a flight to Cape Town. Can you believe it I had never been to Cape Town before! Excitement had hit me that I was finally going to be in the Mother City, after so many of my good friends have told me how great it was, I was finally going to see it for myself. Getting on the plane I was now so anxious to get there. The flight was not one of my best as it was sooo full and I got the last seat on the plane right next to the toilet so just imagine....not fun!!

Finally I arrived in Cape Town... it felt like I was in another country! Driving to my hotel, The Westin, I was just picturing how it would look after the stories I had heard. WOW… it was amazing! Felt as if I was not supposed to be there!!!

After a good night’s sleep, I was off to Rondebosch for more interviews, hoping that the Capetonians would be as good as the Joburgers. Let me just say... they did not disappoint, got to meet some really, really nice people. It was really hard to make the final selection with so many fantastic people that I interviewed, wish I could have taken them all!!!!!

Interviews it was time to enjoy the rest of my stay and have a good time with great friends, that I must add I met on the “Workaway Program” I had great fun in my short stay in the mother city and I will definitely be back soon!!!

Good luck to all the peeps, hope you all get calls to say you have been accepted!!!!!!!

Author: Tyrone Havenga

Sense of Pride...

Hi everyone

It has been a flight filled two weeks since my last blog… traveling back and forward between Durban and Johannesburg. Spending a number of hours in the air I got time to reminisce over the past 4 years of recruiting for Workaway. There comes a time in your life when you feel a huge sense of pride in something you’ve achieved…

With the first club interviews behind us we head straight into round two. Up in Johannesburg we had Richard and Angela from Addison Reserve, Angela from Workaway Florida office and our very own South Africa Manager Charlotte interviewing participants for some of the most exclusive Country Clubs in the United States… I truly don’t know how they select the participant as everyone is just so nice and super friendly!

Then off we go to Durban … with Mirasol and BallenIsles interviewing applicants as well as Angela and Charlotte of Workaway International still energetic and friendly after two whole days of interviews, Johannesburg then Cape Town now Durban. Embracing the excitement of the applicants and the humour of my team, we made it through the day successfully. Thank you to Calvin, Kappie, Tyrone, Kaycee and Nolene, you all made me proud. “Good Job”.

With everything going off well and the clubs making their selection, we are left with placing the remaining a

applicants over the next few weeks… Congratulations to the applicants that have been selected and a heartfelt thank you for allowing me the opportunity to feel a sense of pride, especially in being a part of you stepping out into the big world and making a success of the opportunity at hand.

To the others waiting for a reply… there is still hope, so hang in there. The wait will be worth it. As for the applicants that have not made it, I would like to add one of my favorite scriptures. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to enable them to fulfill the purpose for which they are called. (Romans 8:28)”.

…remember this might be the time in your life when you get the opportunity to experience that sense of pride in something you’ve achieved no matter how big or small…

Author: Lucille Earle

Sunday, 7 August 2011

It's all about a good attitude and a big smile!

Since I have returned to SA I have been landing some temporary jobs with a couple of temping agencies I joined, they have given me some assignments where I work a day or even a couple of days helping a company whose receptionist is off sick or in some sort of training. I was happy with this sort of arrangement as I was still getting some time off here and there, and still being able to sleep in and have the day to myself – something that becomes very valuable when days like these are limited whilst working overseas. If you are like me and you don’t end up saving the first time you go over, you are luckily covered for your first two to three months when you return, because you receive the refund of your security deposit and your final USA pay cheque. This certainly helps when you aren’t earning a steady income and all you want to do is party with your friends and family when you get back. But alas, I have now landed myself a permanent job where I am working 8 'till 5 and totally missing my free time, but hey, we all got to earn a living, and besides who else is going to support my shoe fetish!

I have also been lucky enough to help out with the interviewing process for Workaway at the Hilton in Durban; here I get to meet a bunch of people who are excited about branching off in a new direction of their lives and exploring a totally different part of the world. I love sharing my experiences with them and giving them some helpful tips for their Country Club interviews. I get flashbacks when I watch them sitting anxiously in their chairs, nervously waiting for their 10 minutes to shine, all dressed to impress in their suits and pencil skirts – takes me back to when I was going for my final interview. I remember being so nervous and thinking that my whole international future counted on the outcome of that interview. Need I mention that I am so glad that it all worked out and I got the opportunity to check out the greener grass.

For those of you, who are undergoing the interview process at the moment, try your best not to be nervous. Confidence is key! If you are sure of who you are, what you are capable of and have a big smile, the Americans will love you. Make sure that you dress smart and professional and speak loud and clearly, remember that you are trying to impress employers of a 5 star golf estates. Once you have heard the results and you have been selected, it’s all hustle and bustle from there – orientation, visa appointments, medical exams, and before you know it you are on your flight to Florida. If you don’t get selected however, don’t be discouraged, try again the next year, and if I can offer you any advice, it would be to go to the first presentation that is in your city, which is usually around May. Otherwise that’s it from me for now, check the rest of your Durbanites at your interviews tomorrow!

Author: Nolene Lotz

Thursday, 4 August 2011

The beginning of friendships...

Well the past two weeks have been busy busy busy…..

I have been jetting between Durban and Johannesburg for our last few presentations and interviews. while everyone in our office in Cape Town, has been busy preparing for the final interviews with the Country Clubs.

So the day arrived and Boca West was in South Africa. Excitement running high and nerves even higher…. the candidates arrive at the Southern Sun Grayston on Saturday in Johannesburg for their final interview. Everyone looking “uitgevat”. The day went off very well and everyone seemed to be in high spirits and soon enough candidates were making new acquaintances and adding Facebook friends… and my Boyz (TyZee and Kappie) did a super job in assisting with photo’s and police clearances.

Day done, time for us to head off to Durban for “Day Two” of interviews.

Arriving at the Hilton Hotel Sunday morning I was greeted with big smiles and super excited candidates, My girls Kays and Nolez were already waiting ready for the day to get started. Both were at Boca West the previous year and could not wait to see Harris, Darlene and Barbara. It was also great to see so many returners there on the day coming for police clearances Durbanites, being known for the friendly and social personalities, did not disappoint and there was such excitement with a vibe filling the room in no time and new friendships developing…

“Day Two” done and Boca West was off to Cape Town…

Now all we can do is wait in anticipation for the outcome but in the mean time we are getting ready for “Round Two”. We are waiting for some of the clubs who will conduct final interviews that are going to be held this coming week end. I wish you all the best of luck!

Author: Lucille Earle

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The Final Countdown...

The last two weeks have been spent indoors, office bound. Not complaining though as it’s an exciting time... preparing for the Country Club interviews.

This is were I really get to know the applicants. This is something that people always ask how I remember people and their stories.

Each file is removed from storage and read through to get a biography of each of the applicants. Looking at friends and seeing who would be a good fit at each of the Country Clubs. A lot of thought, consideration and discussion with the help of Vida e Cafe coffee is made in placing each of the applicants.

Making the calls to applicants to is great because after months or weeks of waiting the final interviews are here and traveling to work in the USA is becoming a reality. You can hear the excitement and anticipation when giving the details for the interviews.

Boca West Country Club is here this weekend doing their selections; I’ll be in Cape Town on Monday for those interviews and the other clubs next weekend.

GOOD LUCK to all the applicants. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Author: Andre Smith