Friday, 16 November 2012

Living in the sunshine of Florida!

By Nasiphi Sobahle

Here we are, in sunny Florida, for a month now, WOW, it’s amazing how much time flies, it was just yesterday when we were in South Africa, all stressed about our visa interviews at the consulate but the most amazing part was anticipating our Departure dates…

It was just yesterday when we landed at JFK international Airport, Just the other day when we felt the pressure and information overload in our new work places… but look at us now !!!
Here is what the Workaway participants, from different country clubs have to say about living in the sunshine of Florida thus far….
…“Amazing, the club is an awesome club to work at, everyone is so friendly and helpful, I am loving every minute of this experience, thank you Workaway”_Jacqui Goodman – Mariner Sands

…”a state with a beauty of the restorative kind”_ Nolwandle Ngwenya – Gleneagles

…”beautiful and serene” _ Kirsty Bethwaite – Windsor

…” has been more than a dream, I have learned and seen things from a whole new perspective” _ Inga Songelwa – Mirasol

Everyone of us seems to be having the time of our lives in this place and we have Workaway to thank for all their hard work in making sure we were  selected in our respective clubs, I speak for many when I say, we are truly grateful, in fact… beyond GREATEFUL !!

And to wrap it up, I say FLORIDA IS :
“ A bucket full of fun, laughter, song and a great bunch of people whom you learn to call family”

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

My adventures!

By Cameron Smith

Hi I’m Cameron Smith. I’m 22 years of age. I’m currently studying BA Criminology through UNISA. I’m fond of sport and video games. It’s my first time entering the Workaway program. I’m going to the BallenIsles golf resort. I hope you enjoy my blog as I take you through my adventures.

The love of my life! My oldest brothers daughter, Mikayla, she is two years old.


My room! Very messy, I agree. But my parents are moving houses at the end of the year, so I decided to clear out my room so that they don’t have to pack up and move too much of my stuff. Good enough excuse?


A bath of clothes! Well during my clean out I thought I would get rid and donate all of the clothes I won’t be taking with me to America and won’t wear again. It’s amazing how many clothes you actually have in your cupboard and how many of them you don’t even wear!

Packed my whole life into one shoe box, all of the things that made memories and memories I would like to keep hold of. Huge mission!

After that huge clean out of my room I manage to pack one bag so far!

I have arrived in Florida and it has been a tiresome journey. I’ve landed up with some amazing house mates they have made me feel very welcome at home. The first few nights away from home were tough, as I said the people I’m with have really made my stay here welcome and eased the home sickness. Things can only get better from here, I started work and the staff at the country club I am with are really nice and helpful. When I start to explore the area more I will post some pictures of my adventures and the friends which I will make.

Until then…

Sunday, 4 November 2012

From the Cape of Good Hope to the Sunshine State...

By Andre Smith

Well, the last few months at Workaway have kept me very busy with coordinating everyone through the consulate to get their visa. This is probably one of the most stressful parts of the whole recruitment process as each participant’s fate lies in the hands of a consular officer who will decide their future.

This season was successful in everyone getting their visa. Considering that we sent through over 450 applicants at just 3 consulates in South Africa.

Whilst this whole process was taking place I was anxiously awaiting to hear my fate about whether I would get to go to the US again. I was fortunate enough this past season to work for a country club that made a permanent offer of employment to me, which would mean moving to the US fulltime.

After a long wait and with document’s being sent back and forth, my petition was finally approved. I too had to go through the process of going to the consulate to get my visa approved, which was quite nerve wrecking as the interview with the officer could go either way.

The good news is that my visa was approved and I am now preparing to depart for the US. I was all prepared to leaving this past Saturday, Nov 3. Unfortunately due to the destruction of Hurricane Sandy and the over 12000 delayed flights, I am now flying just a week later.

So the bonus is another week of vacation, before the madness of the season begins. I’ve made the most of getting out and enjoying all the things that I will miss whilst away.

Today I spent it relaxing in Blouberg looking back at the iconic view of Table Mountain and soaking up a bit of the “African” culture at Moyo enjoying a group of African dancers jiving to the beat.

Nowhere else in the world will you get to experience what we have here in our beautiful land. This is something you only appreciate when it’s not on your doorstep.

As I now finalize my last few things here and say goodbye to family and friends, I can not stop thinking about what an amazing opportunity lies ahead and the new chapter of my life is written. Some of which I will get to share with you.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

...Expectations made into reality...

By Nasiphi Sobahle

Greetings from the Sunny side of FLORIDA, VERO BEACH!!!

Oh, where do I begin when I have so much to say, so much to write about, from the beginning I guess.

Ever heard of expectations made into reality?
That is definitely Windsor Country Club &The Capri (Apartment Complex).

I must say, this is my second week in Vero Beach & I am still in awe, I’m still amazed about so many things, as much as I have been to the USA before, this all feels so new, so different and most of all, so AMAZING!!
Arriving at the Capri was beyond the word awesome, I was amazed by the warm welcome we received from the managers of the apartment complex ( Teressa& David Blair) who had everything ready & organized for us by the time we arrived, we were taken to our allocated rooms, one could swear we were like kids given candy, that was the excitement we all had, the place is amazing, the amenities being the Bonus.
We were given the weekend to recover from the Jet leg.

The welcome at Windsor Country Club was also a good one, everyone was so friendly and all we were ready for was a Great Season in this club.
We have a GREAT management team training us and the most amazing part about our job is how much “TEAMWORK” is practiced and emphasized in this department.

I speak for many when I say “expectations made into reality”, it keeps getting better, something to learn everyday.

Monday, 29 October 2012

...Mixed emotions to the unknown...

By Nasiphi Sobahle
It was a Wednesday morning where a group of young South African Individuals were about to finally be on a plane to the land of the free, the land of the brave and you can imagine how each and every one was feeling.

We met at O.R Tambo Int’l airport and all one could see was a group of Eager individuals, ready to embark on a journey of Growth in their career fields, it couldn’t get more exciting.

We experienced so many emotions, all at once, for some, it was a virgin step to American soil and some, like me, were over the moon to be returning to the land of Great Opportunities, we looked forward to reuniting with friends that we left in the USA before.

I guess it all sank in real good when the plane took off at 20.25pm sharp (Oct 17 2012), from this point, there was no turning back.
The thought of being on a plane for 16hrs was alone daunting, however, the best part of the long flight was… in that amount of time we managed to make friends, learn about our diverse cultures and hopefully we managed to impact into each other the spirit of “UBUNTU” that even though we are separated by borders, we are all derived from the same soil.

We were family by the time we landed at JFK, and that alone made our flight a good one J


Taking off from JFK was the last lap to complete our 22hr flight as we were going to be flying to our final destination, FLORIDA…

This is where the mixed emotions kicked right back, it was all coming to Reality, all we were left to do was to assure ourselves that we will have an amazing time in Florida, as we are all away from home, creating a happy medium in our surroundings and of course being the Best that we can be in the workplace.
We are yet to find out if all our expectations were met.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Waiting to depart!

By Jean-Pierre Crozier

So, since this is my first Blog, I thought I would tell you a little a bit about myself, how I came about WorkAway and how I have found the experience so far.

My name is Jean-Pierre but almost everyone calls me JP. I am 21 and heard about WorkAway through a friend of mine that went last year. I never expected things to go so fast as they have. In hasn’t even been three months and I am getting ready to depart!

Going overseas has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember and thanks to WorkAway, I can now achieve this dream.

Visa Application and Appointment  

I had Orientation on the 8th September and, to my great shock, was told my DS 160 online application had to be in four days later for review. I went home and started filling it in, thinking it would be a quick process. Was I wrong!!! It took me nearly two hours to finally complete and submit it.
On the 14thSeptember I got the phone call to from WorkAway to say that I could now sign and submit my DS 160 as well as make the appointment. A few days later, I got the email confirming my consulate appointment time (you are never seen at the time given). After a three hour wait, I was interviewed and my Visa was approved. The whole process took ten minutes.

Probably one of the best things WorkAway has encouraged me to do was get a haircut! The above photo was the original one taken for my Visa but I was told that my hair was to long and that I shouldn’t be smiling.

The result below brings one situation to my mind: POLICE FILE!!!

The US Consulate in Tokai

Well, my departure is the 27th October and I cannot wait. I honestly have to say that the wait to depart is a much worse torture than the wait to get everything done that needs to be done.
Here it is! After all the hard work, the one document that says I can now legally travel into the United States of America!

Good luck to all who still has their Visa appointments and to everyone who didn’t go this year but is considering it? I would definitely say WorkAway is the company to go through! They make it easy, providing step by step information and above all else make it as stress free as I can imagine it gets.

Monday, 15 October 2012

A Journey to remember!

By Nasiphi Sobahle
It’s amazing how much time has gone by, how busy one has been in the past 3 months, the mixed emotions each participant has encountered, the smiles, laughs, frowns and even tears shed when things didn’t seem to go accordingly, but little did we know that we will be filled with so much excitement at the end, OH what an amazing feeling.

I can still recall the 05th of August 2012, a day where I finally decided to attend the Workaway Presentation at the Hilton Hotel in Durban, this was the very last presentation in Durban, that’s how much I prolonged to attend, I  then  had the responsibility to convince my BFF to do this with me as I didn’t want to do it alone, we were both shortlisted for an Interview with Workaway and I must say we never looked back ever since, we were looking forward to the final stage (DEPART FOR USA) bearing in mind that we were just on the first step  out of the eight (8). (Laughs Out Loud)

Nothing was more nerve wrecking than the club and visa interviews, but nothing beats a positive mindset and attitude in the Hospitality industry... such attitude takes you very far. In all that being said.. a wise person once wrote “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed in the things that you didn’t do than the ones that you did, so throw in the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour catch the trade winds in your sail” and I say to every participant “EXPLORE: DREAM & DISCOVER”, this is how I viewed the Workaway offer after the presentation, I was so sure I wanted to be a Workaway Participant before the presentation was even over.

Now we patiently await our departure dates, the excitement keeps building up, building up even more so that we will meet the amazing people we met at orientation, I guess what makes the program more interesting is the different people we meet, people from all walks of life, not so to see how different we are but to embrace & appreciate our DIVERSITY.

I’ve said too much and far beyond much, this brings me to my conclusion...
Workaway as well as our respective country clubs are with no doubt going to make a positive change, a great beginning for many, in our sandy walkways of our hearts. We hope for it to continue on impacting lives and changing futures of young South African individuals.


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Well it all begins!

By: Kenan Manthe

And so my adventure begins! After trying to board a cruise liner for the past 2 years (as in working aboard a cruise liner) and not being successful a long distance family member of mine who had been on the Workaway program suggested the program to me! And all I could say after going on to the Workaway website was WOOOOOOOW! I applied online immediately and the following day I received a phone call to please attend the presentation. After attending the presentation and the screening process as well as the interview with Workaway it was not long after I received a phone call to notify me that I had an interview with BOCA WEST all this happened in a space of two months! I was amazed
(Actually still am)!

After my interview with BOCA WEST it was not long after that work away notified me that BOCA WEST had a job offer for me (dreams do become true)! After attending the orientation which was really informative it became a little daunting filling in the infamous DS-160 form as well as doing the whole medical examination but hey mine is now complete it’s all a matter of visiting the consulate!

I have loved every moment so far of my journey with Workaway its truly amazing and surely plenty more good times to come I will keep all updated on the fun travels

Friday, 21 September 2012

The clock is

By Ndileka Nonose

It’s almost here; we’re almost that time of the year again. Where excitement is brewing, as for many of the people it will be their very first time abroad. And returners can’t wait to be reunited with old collegues, past roommates and all the amazing friends that they have made the previous season.  I have already made a few new friends through my blog, it’s very nice to ‘meet’ you all and I cannot wait to hang out soon.

Even though it will be tough to say goodbye to all your loved ones. There are a lot of things for you all to look forward to. Excluding of course the +-20 hour flight to get to the other side lol. Look forward to the wonderful work experience you will gain, as you will be working at thee most exclusive country clubs in the U.S. Look forward to the Many Wonderful friends, from all walks of life, that you will have the pleasure of meeting, knowing and sharing all of your experiences with. Look forward to all the shopping you get to do, and I for one did a whole lot of it.

There are so many places to see and experience and in due time you will be there to take it all in. Just remember to work hard, stay motivated and have fun. Then you too will get to experience the NIGHT LIFE IN MIAMI, PARA-SAILING AND SNORKLING IN KEY WEST, PARTYING IT UP IN LAS VEGAS. And even SHOPPING AND SIGHT-SEEING IN NEW YORK CITY.

I wish everyone success during their visa appointments. Have a safe flight over, see you all on the other side.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Few weeks!!

By Jasper Burger

It’s all happening right now and in a few weeks planes here in Oliver Tambo International and airports in Cape Town and Durban will be full of hopeful young South Africans embarking on an adventure of a lifetime in USA. We all have been so busy since the orientation juggling work and getting the final formalities done that we forget that we are but a series of moments away before heading to sunny Florida.

Everybody at the orientation got to meet some of the people you will be working with, staying and socializing with in the upcoming season. It was good to see friendly conversations taking place and bonds already being followed. Yes the many steps taken seems never ending with continuous forms to be filled in and interviews to be attended but do not worry my friends as our time of completion is near. You will soon realize that all this effort is well worth it.

Not to be cheesy but the saying “the juice was worth the squeeze” will eventually be realized. So be patient and keep doing what needs to be done and before you know it you’ll be on a plane with a flight attendants saying please fasten your seatbelts…

Thursday, 6 September 2012

The time has finally come!!

By Ndileka Nonose
When I woke this morning, I realized that I might only have about 6 weeks left in the country… And how do I feel about that? ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC, EXCITED, THRILLED all these rolled into 1. Kind of like the time my friends and I decided to go to Las Vegas for a week long vacation. What an amazing time we had. After seeing New York for the first time of course, nothing could ever replace that. But my trip to Las Vegas is a very close second.

After another amazing summer at my club in New Jersey, friend of mine from India suggested that we go to Vegas. I was reluctant at first, but after much convincing I was on board. So we booked our accommodation, flights and were soon on our way. We decided on the Venetian Resort Hotel and Casino, which was a 5 star hotel. We weren’t going to settle for anything but the best. What a beautiful and luxurious resort. OMG. Like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I felt like I was in Italy. I won’t however indulge you all on our shenanigans after all you know what they say ‘WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS, STAYS IN VEGAS’. LOL. All I will say though is one should definitely put that on their to do list once they’ve arrived. Save. Save. Save.

I have to say though that my summers up North were one of the best times in the States. That to me felt like more of America. Beautiful houses with white picket fences, an American flag outside most home post boxes, gorgeous trees that are green in the summer and turn an orange/red colour in the fall. And obviously the endless trips to New York City. Whether it was just for a bit of shopping, or a little sightseeing or even just for a good old South African meal at Madibas in Brooklyn. All in all it was a wonderful experience, everything I ever imagined.

So you all can imagine how excited I am about the upcoming trip back. Im gonna start packing soon. Abit early I know, but don’t judge lol. Im soo looking forward to meeting all the new recruits, meeting my new housemates, and sharing all that I know. So next time you reading my blog Ill be in Sunny Florida.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The Countdown Starts....

By Andre Smith

Since my last blog we started the process of the Country Club manager coming out to South Africa to make their selections to fill the many positions for the up coming season at the clubs.

It has been a long process to date of presentations and interviews across the country to reach this point.

The day finally arrived that the club managers where here three weeks ago and everyone arrived for their interviews looking ever so smart and presentable; filled with nerves and hoping that they were the lucky ones to get chosen. I always imagine that this is what is must be like for the hundreds of people that turn out with the hopes of becoming the next South African Idol.

Eventually the selections started coming in as the clubs made their decisions and we were able to make offers to the many hopefuls. The calls were often met first with surprise and then a shriek of glee from the other side of the phone. I remember those days when I went through this process ten years ago. Wow! I can’t believe that ten years has gone by since I took that step and went abroad for the first time.

I will again be going back to Florida for another season at the Country Clubs and understand just how exciting it must be for a first timer taking that leap, well at least a very long flight to a new world.

As we now prepare for the orientations next weekend, it will be great to meet with all the excited participants that have been selected. The best part is to see their interactions as they get to meet their teammates for the next six months as well as watch friendships start to form.

If you are fortunate enough to have been selected for this season, CONGRATULATIONS… I know that you are about to embark on a new opportunity of a lifetime.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

About that time again!

By Jasper Burger

It’s about that time again where we are all getting more and more excited as the upcoming 2012 winter season is upon us. We are close to the end of our recruiting faze and I mentioned in my blog a few weeks ago about how well the recruiting is going here in the Johannesburg area.

Well I am pleased to say that I have met some outstanding applicants and cool people over the last few months whilst promoting Workaway. I am feeling the excitement in the air amongst everyone at our presentations gets me every time. People ask me questions about the program on a daily basis and it is my job to answer as best I can. Truth be told I sometimes get too excited myself when asked about my time there in Florida and New York. I myself now know what you as a applicant are getting yourself into.

Talking about the program at presentations or even on a one on one wherever it took place  either way has been a privilege and a joy and I hope whoever gets to go on this program tackles this opportunity  with both hands. Like I said before meeting all of you new applicants has been awesome experience and to think we will get to know each other a little better over there in the USA is also a welcoming thought!!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Spending as much time in Cape Town!

By Jacqueline Villet

My name is Jacky Villet I am 21 years old. I am your usual 21 year old and I love spending time with my friends and family. The only difference with me is that I have a job and need to juggle friends who live in the Southern suburbs in Cape Town and family and my home that is in the Northern Suburbs in Cape Town.

My usual weekend consists of driving through to the South which is an easy 32km drive to see my friends. (With my camera in my bag and fully charged at all times) because you never know what the weekend might hold and which adventures you could encounter.

I have done travels into the United States and hopefully will be returning in October with the help of the Workaway team, but until then I will be enjoying the beauty of Cape Town and spending as much time as I can with my family and friends.

The picture below is one of many (girls night out), I enjoy spending time with my girls gives me a chance to unwind and chatter and yes that’s what we do best we chatter.

Great night out, we got all dressed up which is very seldom for me as I am not your run of the mill girl with all the make-up and getting all dressed up. For this occasion I made an effort and had a great night.