Wednesday, 18 July 2012

New beginnings...New Adventures!

By Ndileka Nonose

My name is Ndileka, or 'Lumidee' Which is a name i got in my first season. Working with a wonderful group of people at Boca Rio Golf Club. Why that name, lol?. Wouldn’t you like to know? I am going to tell you about the most AMAZING 3 YEARS OF MY LIFE. It’s a real Rollercoaster... So here GOES... Let me 'take' you there with my Workaway Adventures.


When I first heard about this programme, through a flyer that I had discovered stashed away at one of the workstations at a restaurant I used to work at, like many others I also had my reservations. What was it all about? What was the catch? It all sounded too good to be true. So I and a very good friend of mine decided to go and attend the presentation. Which of course turned out to be very informative, it got me interested instantly. So I applied, got the job and with the help of the WONDERFUL Workaway team, got my visa and my dream of going overseas and experiencing a whole new WORLD and CULTURE became a reality.


When I got to Cape Town International on 30 October 2007, I was a nervous wreck. This being my first time flying and all. Then I saw a few people carrying the now popular RED PACKS, which a friend of mine who had previously been on the programme told me to look out for, I instantly felt at ease. From that moment I knew that there was no turning back. And soon after an extensive checking in, a 'last' good old South African meal at the Spur and a couple of local drinks later we were on our way....

I was more than excited when I landed in West Palm Beach Florida.  Every emotion and every thought was hitting me all at once. I met my first flat mate, Wayne Forsberg on the bus on our way to the apartment. He was a returner that made this so much easier for me. As I had so many questions, and was curious about everything. When we reached the apartment we quickly got ourselves sorted out as our other roommates had been there for 3 weeks already. Florida was AMAZING...very hot and humid. Needless to say I didn’t wear any jeans for the next couple of Our club was very small with only about 200 members or even less than that... the experience of working for a club was interesting, totally different. It wasn’t always but what an amazing experience. It wasn’t long before all us South Africans gathered for the annual Workaway party....FUN FUN FUN NIGHT!!!


Our first trip came in January when we all went to BUSH GARDENS... That was so much fun I, for the first time ever, went on a roller coaster... OMG what an awesome thrill! The adrenalin going through my body was amazing. Then came the fairytale experience of DISNEY WORLD... followed by a huge party trip to KEY WEST....what a beautiful trip that was. Soon enough I was lucky enough to get a job working at an exclusive club in New Jersey, Baltusrol Golf Club... That is where I feel my real American experience began....

On my next blog look forward to some wonderful stories about the Big Apple trips to Six flags, the wonderful friends I made and the trip to Las Vegas or maybe not about that. LOL. And a lot more EXCITING PICTURES.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Going Places!

By Jasper Burger
Since this is my first blog I should probably start by saying I have been on the program for some time now and that I am blessed for the places I have seen and experienced and the people I have met in the past few years working in the USA, I also for the opportunity now do be promoting and helping out with recruiting of new applicants in the JHB area for Workaway International. Every time I’m out promoting people ask me how I enjoyed it and asked if I have seen a little bit of the US itself. I can see the excitement on faces when we talk about it that for me is the best part!

That being said I remember growing up in a small town where you are expected to follow a certain route and that is what most people did which is fine but I always wanted to go another path and do something different. I just never knew what! Getting on a plane flying to the United States, working the hardest I’ve ever had to and experiencing places and sights one can only dream about was that something different.
Walking the streets of New York, skiing the mountains in Colorado, swimming the beaches of Miami or maybe even experiencing the capital of Washington DC felt surreal and I know and then I had to pinch myself when I think back of the places I’ve seen. I have also come to the conclusion that we South Africans do take our country for granted.  There is a lot to explore and see in our very own back yard as well. Places just as surreal as in USA are right here at home at our own disposal. I am definitely embracing my time here in good old South Africa.

A good man once said “You don’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you have been” Will Smith

Friday, 13 July 2012

Back in SA after 18 amazing months in the States…

I joined Workaway in 2010 and flew for my first time to the other side of the world.  We travelled 36 hours in total to our end destination in Jupiter, Florida.  It was a killer, but a memorable experience. 

I started working at the Jupiter Hills Club in Tequesta, Florida near West Palm Beach, FL.  I really enjoyed working with the über-wealthy members and co-workers from South Africa, Latin America and the USA.  I learned a lot about fine dining.

In my first season, I traveled a lot to different places.  I enjoyed the arranged trips to Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld in Orlando, FL.  Later in the season, my friend and I went on a 4 day all-included cruise to the world-famous Bahamas from the Port of Miami. 

I got the wonderful opportunity to go work for a season at one of the clubs up North.  I worked for the summer months at one of America’s most prestigious clubs, named Sebonack Golf Club in the Hamptons, New York.  I saw a few celebrities in real life.  

New York City.  It’s a must see city.  I enjoyed walking around in famous places like 5th Avenue, Times Square, the Financial District, Chinatown, Little Italy, and my favourite Central Park.  There is an authentic South African restaurant in Brooklyn called ‘Madiba’s’ and probably every South African on Workaway’s programs has been there. 

It was time to return back to South Florida as the brutal winters started to approach North America. It was great to be back in the Sunshine State.  It was such a nice experience travelling and meeting people from all corners of the world.  You really become a much worldlier person after your travels. 

I returned to South Africa in May 2012 after 18 months in the Land of Opportunity.  I currently reside in Bloemfontein and I am soon going on a Northern European trip visiting friends I made in the States.  I am working at Vodacom for the duration that I will be in South Africa and soon I will be in the air, crossing the vast Atlantic Ocean to the North American continent for yet another exciting and wonderful season in sunny Florida.

Author:  Nicolaas Bester

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Go for it!

By Nicole Mongie

A new face! So here is the need to know: I am 23 years of age and went on the Workaway International programme for the first time as part of my studies. I studied Hospitality management and in my first year I had to do a practical session of 6 months. So at age 21 I packed my bags as a shy girl wanting to see more! My first time to the United States was fun. I knew the people I stayed with, was fortunate to have my own room and met so many different people. Flying for the first time, staying in West Palm Beach and going to South Beach Miami were opportunities that I was fortunate enough to experience, thanks to Workaway International.

Three years later, I met the love of my life and we decided to give it one more go! This time round everything was a first for him. We went to the same club, Palm Beach Country Club. PBCC is a much smaller intimate club and the people are my second family.

What do you have to know must be the question you want answered? I’ll try my best, but know: no one can prepare you for the journey that lies ahead. I went as a shy girl and came back outspoken. The clubs look after you, so honestly do not worry that you will be stuck with nowhere to go. On arrival in the States Workaway meets you at the airport and takes you to your apartment. Should you need any assistance Workaway will always be available. Getting around is easy with public transport and yes, you can live a very comfortable lifestyle with your wages. You will face challenges, make friends, have your cat fights and work hard make no mistake.

Three of my most memorable experiences would be my visit to Palm Beach Zoo, a day tour of Palm Beach Island by bike and of course the 2 day Bahamas cruise!! The highlight for my boyfriend must have been to drive all the expensive exclusive cars as a valet!

The aim of the trip was to see more than the first time and save money. I have been back just over two months and have bought my own car. My conclusion through all the ups and downs? My experience was worth it!

My advice to people who are considering to go on the program? Go for it! Do it for yourself. You will get the chance to travel, make money and develop your personal skills.

Monday, 9 July 2012

The Returner

By Zenobia Wollenschlaeger

Looking back on my first season, there are so many things that run through my mind. I can remember sitting at the first presentation wondering how long the process would take and what it would involve – nearly a year later, having already returned from my first season I cannot believe that it is over.
Being what I like to call ‘a family girl’ I was somewhat hesitant about flying half way across the world and being so far away from everyone back home. When I was initially offered my position I was so excited, I thought I was ready to jump on a plane and leave right away. However, I soon discovered (while packing) that perhaps the leaving part wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought.

After the airport goodbyes and understandable tears, I got onto the plane for a very long flight. I guess I only grasped the reality of the situation when I landed at JFK in New York and got my first glimpse at the American Lifestyle where bigger and better seemed to me like an understatement.
After moving into my apartment and starting work, it took me little to no time to adjust. You meet the most amazing people and make life-long friends (no clichés here). Christmas and New Years are not as bad as I originally thought they would be and turkey at Thanksgiving made a great substitute for my mom’s roast chicken at Christmas.

I wish I could explain exactly how much you grow and learn while you are away from home and on this program. I cannot describe the places I saw and some of the experiences I had, I made memories that I would never have made anywhere else and that is what I remember now.
Sitting in that first presentation, listening to the returners talking about their experiences I remember saying to my friends and family: “that will NEVER be me”.
I am finishing off my final year at college and I had such an amazing experience!

I – the RETURNER now eagerly await my next cup of Starbucks and seeing my ‘newly adopted’ Workaway family again.