Monday, 23 December 2013

Living in America!

By Janine Dawson

Yay! So I've been living in America for about a month and a half now and it just keeps getting better as time goes by.

The flight was really draining and left me feeling jet-lagged for a while, but sleep, friendly people and food helped me feel better. Meeting my roommates and settling into our new rooms was also an experience.

Work has required a lot of patience and dedication, but it has definitely been worth it because I have already learnt so much from the country club that I work at. There's always something new to learn and something old that you already know that can be improved on. 

America has been lovely so far and it's only the beginning. Trying Starbucks, eating Burger King, seeing all the amazing cars, being surrounded by palm trees and free concerts right across the road from our balcony are only a few of my highlights so far.

The food I have eaten, people I have met and the places I have seen, have all been such an experience and I wouldn't change it for the world. I'm so excited for all the experiences that are still ahead of me in this beautiful country. Thank you Workaway!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Home away from home!

By Jasper Burger

It has been exactly a month ago since saying goodbye to family at the Oliver Tambo airport and things have been so busy at Jupiter Hills that time flies by so quickly.

Upon arrival seeing familiar faces at the club was fantastic and truly does feel like a home away from home where colleagues have become friends and where special bonds are made. Thanksgiving is coming up and preparation is critical, working with mostly new crew of South Africans is fantastic as everybody is willing to work hard and help each other. I have been also lucky enough to catch up with my brother, his wife and my little niece in Connecticut NY in between all the craziness where you come to the realization once more how big this country is when you get on a plane in Florida where it is hot and humid and land in New York 2 hours later where it is snowing.

Taking everything in and learning as much as possible from my mentor and manager at work is also something I enjoy daily, mostly I pinch myself just to be sure I'm not in a lucid dream. The festive season is upon us and there is much to look forward to thinking ahead. The conclusion is to keep your head up, work hard and enjoy this gift of travel.

Monday, 18 November 2013

The Sun Shine State...

By Nivedna Sewchurran

To all the Workaways, on the program it is my pleasure to welcome you to The Sun Shine State. You have survived that long flight from South Africa to the USA, (which I thought would never end).

By now all of you would have become familiar with the beautiful club that you work at, as well as you would have met all those amazing people that you get to work hand in hand with on a daily bases, that like I mentioned before will become your family away from home.

Do not be overwhelmed with the amount of information being thrown your way, after a couple of weeks all the things you are stressing about will become natural. The duties of your position will be "Old Hat" in no time. The names of your members will start flowing past your tongue as if you were with family. If you stay calm and pick up a few things every shift, it will change your life with regards to things getting easier.

Work hard, get those hours, make those dollars, but also remember, to get some sun as you are of course in The Sun Shine State.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

What a welcome!!!

By Nasiphi Sobahle

Leaving our Families and Friends behind on the 21st October must have been the saddest part, after a number of farewell parties and gatherings that we all had with our loved ones.

A long 18hr flight awaited us that day, remembering how excited everyone was when they were collecting their flight details, I guess that was the only time one could actually process that they were leaving, and finally the adventure and dream was becoming a reality!!

We said our goodbyes at the airport, YES, Mixed emotions were in place more than anything else, Bittersweet moments, However we knew what awaited us on the other side of the world, Indeed it was greener pastures.
Exhausted from an 18hr flight, we finally arrived in Florida, Everyone was just so exhausted especially the peeps who flew from Durban to Johannesburg, What made things worse was the 3hr delay we had in Durban, such an unpleasant flight, I’ve never experienced such turbulence- ever!!!!

We arrived at the Gateway Club apartments and received our Apartment keys and I must say, that was the most exciting part of our day, almost like a day made, everyone was thinking of that long awaited shower and changing into clean clothes. As we were directed to our lovely apartments, we were told to make sure that we get some rest as we are requested to be at work the next day at 8am, not even a day of relaxation_ WOW WHAT A WELCOME!!!! But at the end of the day, one is here to work and not on vacation, so this was it!!!
The biggest highlight for me thus far has to be the 8day training we attended, My Goodness, I can’t get over it, I really can’t! You know you will perform your best when you are trained by the BEST, We were trained by one of the most amazing individuals I’ve ever come across, the Food and Beverage Director Himself (Mr. Reza Fazard), A man with so much Patience and Understanding, A man who appreciates each individual, as unique as we all are, I am still in awe, astonished that we have such a cool management Team, We also have the funniest Manager from RSA ( Courtney Johnson) ,he’s too COOL!

Overall, Hunters Run, Boynton Beach, Gateway Club have been amazing!
We already pulling long hours at work, I don’t think we anticipated this, not so soon LOL! They always say “Work hard and Party harder” and having said that… We looking forward to the staff party on Monday the 11th November… We have FUN at Hunters Run!!!

Your Girl, Nas Leaves you with this…Oprah Winfrey once wrote “The Biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams” Cheers- Until we meet again!!!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Yay! It's finally time for my adventure :)

By Janine Dawson

So after months of planning, lists, nerves and excitement it’s finally my turn to leave! Nothing seemed to sink in until I received my flight pack with my ticket and now it has hit me, I'm leaving...wooh!

My bags are just about packed, all of my things are together, and all I’m waiting for is for the next 48 hours to pass and then I will be at the airport with butterflies in my tummy and millions of thoughts in my head.

So after looking through the Facebook group constantly looking for updates on the recruits that are already there, I think I can finally  say that I feel ready. Obviously I’m a little bummed that I have to leave everything behind, but I’m more excited for what’s to come.

The flight schedule looks so draining, I think it’s going to feel like eternity on that plane, but I’m sure I’ll survive! I’m so excited to see what my apartment looks like, who my roommates will be and what life has in store for me for the next 6 months.

“If we wait until we're ready, we'll be waiting for the rest of our lives"- Lemony Snicket

Monday, 21 October 2013

And so it is...

By Nivedna Sewchurran

Congratulation to all those who have made it on this program, and to those who didn't quite get this far, remember there is always next year, so don't be dis heartened, as your time to shine will come....  

After the long stressful months of screening, interviews and of course waiting (which was the worst) many of you are now ready / or have already jetted of to the USA... It's a bitter sweet emotion for both candidates as well as parents having to say good bye to their kiddies, but I'm sure they know you will do great. P.S - Please do call your parents as often as possible, as they do miss you!! 

It's been a great experience to have worked for Workaway as the Durban Representative; I got to meet some amazing people, with lovely personalities, which I think is what we look for!!! Like our motto in Durban remember "Big Smiles". Thank you guys for making this recruiting season fun and easy as most of your personalities did shine through during the interviews which made my job simple. 

But for now, you off to sunny Florida to start your work season at an amazing country club. Take in and learn from this experience as for many it is only but a dream. Fun and hard working times are ahead, make us proud!! And please make smart choices....  

But for now 

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Excitement is everywhere!

By Jasper Burger

It is unbelievable to believe that our applicants are already boarding planes and that some are already in Florida busy working at the country clubs. While some of us are still waiting in anticipation to begin our journeys abroad I want to congratulate everybody on their visas and to give one piece of advice. Embrace the next 6 months no matter what!!!

At the moment 99% of the hard work is done only a couple more days of consulate appointments which will go smoothly as it has gone so far. Handing out flight packs is a real treat as applicants and parents are ecstatic and the excitement is contagious with people already becoming good friends before they board the plane.

It truly was awesome going through this whole experience with all of you from interviews up to this point I just want to say well deserved to all of you. There are still one or two people that got the phone call only recently that they should pack their bags so things are still going from my standpoint doing final orientations.

This is the last stretch people get excited!!!You don’t know what you are in for.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

When the excitement amounts...

By Nasiphi Sobahle

WOW, WOW & WOW…!!!!!
On a beautiful Tuesday evening (10th September 2013) … Hundreds of successful Workaway candidates gathered at the Hilton Hotel in Durban for Their Pre- Departure Orientation…

One couldn’t help but notice the HUGE SMILES as everyone began coming into the Hotel, Eager Candidates, Keen, Smiley Faces…Everyone walked in Gracefully, All geared up for Information Overload regarding where to from the Pre- Departure Orientation ( Stage 6 )… I do know what everyone was thinking though…It is stage 6 out of the 8 stages on the Workaway Program, certainly we are almost at the end of the tunnel, Almost completed the race, Little did they know what really lies ahead from here…

Important information was given out by Charlotte & later on, we were separated according to our respective Country Clubs, This was social time after so much of information to program, some made friends during the Social while some managed to find roommates… In all of this being done, it was evident enough that the Durban Candidates Live by their motto “HUGE SMILES” and one couldn’t, not by any chance miss the excitement that filled the meeting room in which we gathered in, SMILES resemble HAPPINESS, JOY, EXCITEMENT… and this was definitely what filled the room, all the HUNTERS SMILES, BALLEN_SMILES & MIRA_SMILES (to name a few LOL) were no near being hidden, what an amazing crowd.

The majority of us began with our medical examinations the following day, as much as you know that you are somehow clear from what we have to be tested for, you can’t help but worry about the blood test results etc, My friends and I had a Monday (16 September 2013) GP appointment, I can’t really express in words how excited you become when you are informed that you have PASSED your medical evaluation, such an amazing feeling knowing that you are a step closer to the finishing line of the process. Now what is next???

At this stage, it feels like it is the beginning of the process, with so much to do in so little time.
DS_160 Visa Application Forms, Take Visa Pictures (The CORRECT size), putting your ties to RSA together and getting yourself ready for that US Consulate Interview.
It is stressful, that much I know, BUT, I strongly recommend that you listen to the advice that Workaway will give you closer to your interview and on the other side, your Girl “Nas” leaves you with this_ Think, Act, Speak Positively, against all Odds!!!!Cheers, Until we meet again J

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Bubbles to ring in Spring

By Renee Van Der Watt

We're heading into Spring and things are really heating up at the Cape town office. The clubs have their teams and orientations are almost done. Now it's time for medicals and visas. Who would have thought that going to the doctor could be so exciting, right? I have been enjoying the activity of Facebook and it's so good to see how many of you have already made new friends. The visa might seem daunting at first but we are all here to help so relax and enjoy this last month. With every step you complete, the reality will start sinking in. I can't believe the final stretch is upon us. This recruitment period has flown by! All of you have been fabulous and I have truly enjoyed getting our 2013/2014 teams together.

While we all wait patiently for October to arrive, why not take a day to enjoy some bubbly at the House of JC Le Roux. Rain or shine I guarantee it would be worth it. The new renovation is gorgeous and the sparkling wine and champagne has been a SA favourite for many years. Think of it as sipping a bit of home before you experience all that the USA has to offer. The fiancé and I decided to visit them in April and enjoyed every second. 

The service was great and we felt welcome from the second we entered the building. After taking the tour and learning about how champagne is made, which by the way is rather fascinating, you then choose the tasting package that best suits your palette. Bubbles and nougat, I'll take that any day of the week. There is more to see. The new pink Le Fluerette cocktail bar, snacks on the outside deck and the gift shop. All in all one fun afternoon out. 

Well done again to all successful applicants. You are going to have the time of your life and I look forward to ready some blogs from the other side of the pond in the near future.

Our days are numbered...

By Janine Dawson

Wow, I have really gone through a roller coaster of emotions in these past few weeks! First the interviewing process which made me nervous and anxious, then waiting to hear if I was accepted, which seemed to take forever... and now finally after the pre-departure orientation, the confusion and excitement of hopefully leaving very soon!

Now that we're at STEP 7, everything seems to be real. Filling in the DS-160 form, going to the doctor, pathologist and radiologist. Hoping that everything is done properly is actually quite over-whelming. Besides all of that, time feels as if it has completely slowed down. I just can't wait for my interview with the consulate because after that it's time to get my ticket- yay! Now I have to start thinking of what clothes to take with, what I will pack and what I'll need while I'm there, so many decisions.

I seem to have so many lists: lists of things I still need to do, lists of things I still need to get, lists of things I need to pack and lists of things I want to do while I'm over there. Even though there is so much to prepare for and to remember, I feel like this is only the beginning... The adventure ahead is going to be amazing! It's going to be so exciting to meet the rest of my colleagues, to go to my country club, to see where I'll be living and to experience everything. I think the most important thing is to be positive.
"when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it"- Paulo Coelho

Monday, 9 September 2013

Safaris for Africa

By Nivedna Sewchurran

It's amazing to think what a beautiful place we live in Africa / South Africa. To think that we don't get hurricanes, earthquakes ect, I would say we truly blessed, but other than natural disasters I'm proud to say that I'm from South Africa simply because of our wildlife.

Although when you do go on the Workaway program you going to have people ask you "Do you have lions in your back yard?" It makes you wanna laugh, but you have to understand that what people see on discovery channel is what they think South Africa is all about. That's when you get the chance to educate them just a little about our awesome wildlife.

I have had the great pleasure of going on a few Safaris and my word it was breath taking. To come close to lions and zebras grazing on the horizon truly took my breath away. Elephants crossing the path hoping that they don't turn around and charge the jeep, to giraffes reaching for the tips of the trees. It's like being in a totally different world.  All the animals so majestic in their natural habitat.

So if you get the chance to go on a safari just do it.... I mean we do live in South Africa were the animals run free!! 

Friday, 6 September 2013

You've come this far...

Nasiphi Sobahle

Here you are, at stage 6 (Pre- Departure Orientation), who ever thought?
I guess once you receive that long awaited telephone call from Workaway, informing you that you have been accepted by a particular Golf Country Club, that is when it suddenly dawns on you that you will be jetting off to the USA ...SOON!!!!! 
It is always good reminiscing , looking back at where you come from and where you are at present, especially with a process so intense, so particular and up to date as the Workaway Process...You should be proud of yourself, having said that... REMEMBER when you first attended the presentations? I don't really think you had any slight idea that today you would be this EXCITED because a prestigious Golf Country Club has had an interest in YOU, an interest in getting you on board with them, That is Super Amazing...That was just stage one out of the 8 stages, You, For yourself saw the large amount that turned up in Stage 1, hopeful candidates who had the same dream as you, candidates who wished for the same opportunity as yourself but unfortunately, not all of us made it thus far.

Two (2) more steps (Visa Application + Departure to the USA) to go and you are all set, then your long awaited opportunity will be knocking on your door and becoming a reality. In all that you do... I say to you... I believe that self - improvement is a journey that anyone who wants to excel in life must take, look at the Workaway Opportunity as a road to Self - Improvement + Discovery , YOU can only get better from here and so will your journey...

Once again, CONGRATULATIONS for making it thus far in the process... 

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Not the end but the beginning

By Jasper Burger

The end is near for the conclusion of the recruitment season and I must say it was a wonderful experience. Meeting new people on a daily basis really isn't a bad way to make a living I must say.Also being part of making  dreams come true for those of you travellers out there do make me great full for being part of a great Workaway team.

Yes of course there were some stressful times as you all know with this vigorous selection process interview after interview I'm sure you will agree that the juice was worth the squeeze! For those of you who I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing many thanks, sincerely! Today I will be coordinating some more interviews with the country clubs so we are still very busy but you have to admit the excitement is kicking up a notch as we are getting closer to October.

To the fortunate people getting on a plane in less than 2 months I just want to say embrace this opportunity, grab it with both hands and come to the realization that this is just the beginning for you and that this is a great platform for you when you come back to South Africa professionally and personally…

Thursday, 15 August 2013

And the countdown begins...

By Andre Smith

Since my last blog I had just settled in my own apartment and working through the busy summer season.

I have meanwhile been back home to South Africa for two weeks to attend to an urgent family matter. It was a long trip and a route I had not taken before via Amsterdam and then direct over Africa to Cape Town. The day was so clear that I had a birds eye view over the Sahara Desert which was spectacular to see the dunes and deep red color of the sands.

After 30 hours of travel, I finally arrived in Cape Town and was met by good friends and whisked away to dinner at Madame Zingara’s Theatre of Dreams, which was being hosted at the V&A Waterfront. Overall it was good to go home and spend time with the family, but I realized just how much being in the US is feeling more like my home.

Upon my return it was straight back to work and planning for our big mid-season party, which we just held this past weekend. The theme was based around the famous Studio 54 nightclub and the disco era. It was a fun event with lots of mirror balls, Afro wigs, dodgy moustaches and a ton of kitsch. 

Moving forward we are in the process of planning for the forthcoming season and the new interns that will be arriving from South Africa, Ireland and Austria. I’ve been following everyone’s updates on the Workaway International Facebook page and the interview process. Having worked for Workaway it has been great to see the interaction and comradery on the Facebook page as well as all the excitement around the interview process with the country clubs. My club has just been to all three countries and made the selections for the season.

To those of you that have been selected we look forward to seeing you in Florida. I know that it is a tough process to go through, but will be well worth it. It’s going to be hard work, but there will be a lot of time for fun and an experience of a lifetime!