Monday, 19 May 2014

Warm Experiences

By Struan Goss

My name is Struan, I grew up just inland of Durban, I spend all the holiday time I can in Mozambique, and I enjoy Tiger fishing with my Dad. I studied commerce at Rhodes, worked in agriculture in the Middle East and I trade on the JSE in my spare time. I’m currently the Durban representative for Workaway International. I went on Workaway’s programme to learn more about the hospitality industry, so I may be better equipped to run our family’s B&B, as well as to experience living in America for a few months. Today, I’m sharing a little about my experiences over the past 6 months in Florida.  

For everyone who goes on the Workaway programme, Florida and the New World separates our home by interviews, paperwork, time zones, airport counters and a very lengthy 16 hour plane ride. With this in mind I set about making the most out of my off-time in Florida. If you enjoy outdoor activities, sightseeing and meeting new and exciting people, you won’t be left found wanting in Florida.

One of the first things that struck me about the state is its natural beauty. The whole of Southern Florida is very flat, which allows for many interconnected waterways, ponds, rivers and canals. There are docks with beautiful yachts, cocktail bars, restaurants and public parks all along the edges of these shimmering waterways. I was very grateful for the opportunities I had to travel with friends on their boats along these. I met people enjoying sundowners on sand bars, saw manatees, dolphins and turtles.

For only $400 my roommate and I booked a 5 day cruise to the Bahamas as well as Key West on the last day. All the raving people do about the Bahamas isn’t for nothing. The water is light turquoise blue, the beaches are white, and coconut trees sway in the sunshine. I would highly recommend taking a mask and snorkels with you to see the beauty beneath the warm lapping waves.

Renting a car on a South African driver’s license is easy and this allows for trips to places like Miami, Key West, Orlando and Cape Canaveral. I followed NASA’s rocket launch schedule while in Florida and managed to see a night-time rocket launch. The flames really lit up the night sky.

These images and memories still fondly linger in my mind, as for the 16 hour plane ride to get there, well, at least it gave me motivation to make the most of my time. For all of you interested in making some memories of your own, as well as gaining some great hospitality work experience, I look forward to meeting you at our presentations.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Returning home from the USA!

By Julie-Ann Blom

Let me start off by saying that this is my very first blog post - I've never written one before in my entire life, so I promise that I'll try my best to let you in on a bit about myself as an intro!

My name is Julie-Ann Blom and I have been on The Workaway International programme for the past two and a half years.  I started off at Sailfish Point for three winter seasons, and also went up north for two seasons: one at the Country Club of Sapphire Valley, and the other at Philadelphia Country Club.

At the end of last season I decided to return home for the winter because I love this programme so much and would once again like to return to the US in October along with the new Workaway recruits.

My experience on this programme has been fantastic and I would not change anything about it! I have met lots of lovely people, made life-long friends on the programme, and have also discovered that I have a second family at Sailfish Point in Florida.

During my time in the US, I have had the opportunity to see so many wonderful things.  Words cannot describe the experience I have had, but all I can say is that this has been such a rewarding experience for me and I would recommend the programme to anyone wanting to travel and experience the world!

As I returned to South Africa, I joined the Workaway International family and I am proud to say that I am the new Johannesburg representative for the upcoming recruitment campaign!  I look very forward to going along on the journey with the new potential recruits for the upcoming winter season in Florida.

See you all soon!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Back at the start!

By Renee Van Der Watt-Stoeckel

Here we are again Workaway hopefuls. Recruitment season has begun! I have enjoyed reading up on 2013/14 participants' success and adventures in the USA. I have seen all your pictures from amazing places like New York, LA, the Florida Keys and more. It takes me back to my time on the program and the memories I made that will forever be with me. It has been an exciting time for me here in SA too. Since my last blog I have travelled to Denmark to represent South Africa at Hip Hop World Championships and in November I married the man of my dreams, who I actually met on the program! Wow six months can really fly.

Saturday saw the arrival of the first Cape Town presentation and our turnout was yet another record breaker! The Belmont was buzzing with season kickoff energy. It always stirs excitement hearing returners talk about their experiences. I can’t wait to get the interviews going and help set applicants' dreams in motion. If this weekend is anything to go by, we are going to have awesome newbies heading over to Florida in October. Johannesburg is up next on the 17th of May and I’m sure they will bring the same quality as last year. 

To everyone who follows our Workaway journey, thank you for your support. Let’s keep spreading the word and give more young South Africans an opportunity of a lifetime. I am proud to be part of this amazing team. The hard work is only beginning but it’s always worth it. Let’s make season 25 the best yet!