Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Third season going strong!!!

By Melissa Chauvet

I’ve been back in the States for about a month and a half now and I have to admit, it feels good to be back. The weather is lovely out here, not too cold and surprisingly much hotter than anticipated. Its been great to see all the familiar faces and places again, getting to meet the new staff who joined this season for the first time and specifically getting to see in person all the new changes that has been made to the club.

The opening of the club has been spectacular, show casing the renovations that has recently been made to the esplanade, pool area, gym and the restaurant. The club looks beautiful, with everyone in awe every time they grab something from the revived restaurant or go to the gym for a quick work out. The atmosphere around here has been different, the members and staff seem to be happy and excited…bet the renovations has something to do with this…

I can continue waxing lyrical on how beautiful the club looks and all the wonderful things taking place and crowds flocking in to spend their holidays here, but you have to see and experience the spirit during the festive season at the club for yourself… an experience from out of this world…

Let me end off by saying that I have already started joining in on all the festivities happening out here. Recently celebrated Thanksgiving, which was amazing but it doesn’t end there, still having to buy gifts, parties to attend and friends to celebrate traditions with for the rest of the holidays. Looking forward to these special times and what the New Year has in store…

Happy Holidays…xxx….

Monday, 19 December 2016

Life in Florida!!!

By Schae Spurway
Straight out of High School and now we are in Florida?

In January 2016 I found out about an amazing program called Workaway International. I had never travelled to America and thought this would be a great idea for a gap year as I would be earning dollars and would be seeing new places. I decided to convince my two best friends to apply as well. We all applied hoping we would all be accepted and not only accepted but at the same place as we wanted to work and live together. Thankfully we were all successful.

It was our first time flying and we had an amazing journey to the USA together.
We have now been in Florida for about two weeks and we are loving every single minute. We have learnt so much in just two weeks such as time and money management and for youngsters like ourselves just coming out of High School we are doing pretty well. I highly suggest young people do this program after school as you learn so much. You will become disciplined and you gain so much experience and you earn a lot of money.

We have been here for two weeks and have already done so much such as, going to the beach, to the hot tubs daily that our accommodation has, going to the mall and fancy car rides in West Palm.

Not only are we seeing amazing places we have also met so many people and have made so many friends. I know it has only been two weeks but we do not feel home sick at all as we are always busy and there is always something to do! Actually too much to do with too little time!

We are truly loving each and every single moment and we highly suggest you apply and do this program. 
It's truly an opportunity of a life time and each and every single one of us do not regret coming on this program and in fact we are considering doing another season.
Thank you so much Workaway for such an amazing opportunity!

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

I am settled in so what now?

By Marvin Seekoei

Hi fellow Workaway participants. By now your homesickness should be gone and everyone should be well settled in at work. Most of you have had a taste of how busy it can get with Thanksgiving and for the next couple of weeks it should maintain a steady pace up until New Year’s Day?

So what now?

Now is the time to set up some little goals for yourself.

First goal should be to save some money. Whether you’re going north or back to South Africa, saving a little bit of money would not hurt you. For most of you there will be between 12 – 15 pay checks. Putting away $75 per pay check would end up getting you to +/- $1000 and of you add in your tax return you could end up with a handsome amount.

Second goal should be to buy yourself some nice clothing items. I would recommend you shop at stores like Marshall’s or TJ Maxx. I even buy clothes online where you can get some nice items very inexpensive like on E Bay and Amazon. I think you could spend approximately $50-$60 each pay cycle and you will be amazed how much you end up with.

Third goal should be to travel and explore this beautiful country. If this is your first season then I would recommend to just focus on Florida for now and whether you come back or go up North you could explore more States. For example you should do a cruise to Bahamas, spend a day or two in Miami. Sleep in a Hostel and not a Hotel when visiting Miami. You could also go to Naples to swim with dolphins on the West Coast. Just rent a car from Enterprise with 4 friends and it will cost almost nothing. Lastly you definitely would want to go to Orlando to visit Universal Studios and Disney World and watch at least a basketball, football or baseball match. It’s a lot of fun! Also look out for some of your favourite artist who loves to come down to Florida for concerts and music festivals. Just check Google for all information.

All these things are possible in the next few months so good luck with your season and I want to wish you a Happy Holiday!

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Life in America

By Emma Seager

I have been in Florida for about two weeks or so! Can’t even believe it’s real. Although we have been working VERY hard at the club, I have made some amazing friends and I can’t wait to get settled into life here. 

I have an amazing Manager and all my work colleagues are fantastic, all the returners are so understanding and helpful. The club is really amazing and so beautiful and I am so grateful to be here and have this opportunity. 

The work is mostly easy but when it’s busy it can get really crazy! I have been a bit sick since arriving which hasn’t been great but I’m sure my body is just trying to adjust to the climate change etc. I must say I was slightly nervous regarding the accommodation arrangements, however I happen to live with some great people and things are going pretty smoothly… considering I live with 4 guys... AHEM. 

My roommate is lovely and I am so excited for the next few months. 

Although I know I am here to work, I am so excited to explore Florida and hopefully travel a bit after season next year, possibly Mexico…or… Bahamas… I’ll keep you posted on that… Tonight the club has organised a trip to Miami which is so exciting! We also have our Christmas party coming up so there is so much to look forward to!!!!

Wednesday, 2 November 2016


By Nasiphi Sobahle

After receiving our flight packs and realizing that we have a 12 hour layover In New York, We could not wait to get on that South African Airways flight to the United States of America. The Big Apple experience that was waiting for us on the other side of the world made the 16 hour flight from Johannesburg to New York City well worth it.

I can only imagine how excited the new Workaway recruits were when they realized that they can actually step out of JFK International Airport and go into the city for a few hours. I mean, who does not want a few hours in down town Manhattan or some of the New York Experience in general!

We landed In New York and successfully went through customs, checked in our luggage and saw all of the other Workaway candidates proudly carrying their red packs in their hands and going through the daunting process of customs looking excited but exhausted.
At this point in time, we had all made new friends from all over South Africa and everyone was traveling to their respective country clubs. Some of us had reunited with old friends from previous seasons which made the long trip seem somewhat shorter.

May you all have a jolly good winter season, creating memories and learning as much as possible. Remember, this is an experience of a lifetime.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

“Work”away…Ahem…what work?

By Emma Seager

I leave for Florida in roughly 3 weeks. It has not even hit me yet because getting to this point has been one hell of a roller coaster ride… ‘DilEMMA’ is clearly my middle name! I am quite possibly the most frustrating candidate that Workaway International staff have had to deal with to date!

From being declined… to going for an interview and being accepted… to having my exam dates changed to December and having to pull out of the program… to organising to write early with my University (who would have thought)… to thankfully securing a job as a Cocktail Server at Boca West.

I have pestered Workaway more than one could think imaginable, I am pretty sure they have my number on speed dial! Through all the craziness and back-and-forth regarding the status of my situation, this process has been somewhat effortless, regardless of all the hurdles and obstacles.

The Workaway employees are clearly superhuman! I am so thankful for all the speedy responses and efficiency on their part. What is this ‘work’ you speak of??? I guess I will be finding out shortly! But so far so good - thanks to Workaway :) America here I come!!!



Sunday, 23 October 2016

Happy Home, Happy Workplace and Happy Days!

By Marvin Seekoei

Moving into an apartment on the Workaway program with strangers can be a very stressful situation but as an 8 season veteran I just thought that I would like to share some of the tips that have worked very well for me over the seasons.

  1. Get to know your housemates and especially your room mate as soon as possible.

  1. First impressions always lasts so enter your home with a positive mind-set. Homesickness is real so try to be as polite as possible.

  1. The first few weeks can be very hard as some people will be missing home. Try to post everyone’s schedule up in the house weekly so that everyone can know each others work schedule to avoid that the other housemates don’t have a late nights at home with guests which could disturb that housemate’s sleeping pattern for the next working day.

  1. Try to have a petty cash for the house of minimum $20 per pay check to cover things like cleaning products, washing powder, toilet paper, milk, coffee etc. because there’s certain things you will always have to share.

  1. Try to have dinner once a week with your housemates and use it as an opportunity to keep a channel of communication open.

  1. Agree on a general cleaning schedule for the month as a clean house always causes less tension and irritation between housemates.

  1. Keep all bedrooms private and a no-go zone for any visitors and use communal areas only for guests.

If you follow these tips I can guarantee that you will have the best time of your life and make friendships that could last for a lifetime!

Thursday, 20 October 2016


By Nasiphi Sobahle

Finally, the time for departure is here.

Please allow me to take you back four months ago. Remember when you walked into Hotel 64 on Gordon for your first presentation? It was stage one of the recruiting process, and you were filled with all those hopes and dreams, and nerves. Some of you may have been too nervous to even see yourself reaching the last stage.

Niwakhe Magau is a successful Boca West candidate. When I asked her halfway through the selection process how she was feeling, she replied: “I am very excited and nervous at the same time. My visa interview is coming up and I get butterflies in my tummy every time I think about it but faith keeps me positive.”

Patience and faith are definitely prerequisites for every successful candidate. Those character traits got you through to the very last stages of the Workaway International recruitment process, as much as your professionalism and hospitality skills and experience.
Congratulations to every candidate who was granted a visa – what an exciting moment it is to receive that documentation and finally be assured you that you will be able to set foot in the USA.

Yes, it is happening. Enjoy the adventure. You’ve worked hard for it and you deserve it. Make the most of every opportunity, and make us, your families, and your country proud.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Not long to go, jetsetters!

By Melissa Chauvet

As departure dates get closer, it is difficult to stay calm. I recall packing and unpacking my cases weeks before I was due to leave. While time may seem to drag, it is just a couple of weeks to go. You have been so patient, you can manage another fortnight.  In the meantime, start getting your things together.

Many of you will have received notifications of your Visa appointment at the US embassy. Remember to dress as if you were attending a formal interview, which this is.

Pre-departure orientation is complete and while many applicants will be excited to be on their way, I remember being very nervous the first time I had this opportunity. There was so much to think about. If you have a few “butterflies” I want to put your mind at ease: while you might be a bit nervous, the anticipation and excitement will mount. Personally, once I realised that I was not alone but travelling with many others, my nerves subsided. Yours will too.

I have received positive feedback from various applicants on how helpful and professional head office is. Without their long hours and hard work none of this would be possible. They really guide you every step of the way.

Good luck to you all! I am so excited for you!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

The time is now!

By Nasiphi Sobahle

Standing outside the Hilton Hotel – Durban on September 10 2016 (Saturday) and observing the Durban candidates walk in, in their numbers, with huge smiles on their faces certainly warmed my heart. I must admit that this sight took me back to the first time I attended a Workaway orientation in 2012, not knowing what to expect but I knew it was all good stuff and the most amazing part was suddenly realizing that the process is almost over and I will soon be in the United States of America.

… And it suddenly dawned on me and the rest of those who were present at the orientation that “The Time Is Now.”

The time to:

·       Begin with the Medical Evaluation process

·                                             Complete visa application forms
·                                             Prepare ourselves for our visa interviews at the US Consulate
·                                             But most importantly to meet the deadlines given.

With all the waiting that everyone has gone through, especially the new recruits who had no idea how long the entire process will take, things are looking much brighter and everyone is definitely chuffed that they will be embarking on an exciting professional venture soon and with all this being said…I am reminded that a wise man once wrote:

“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.”

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

New Season. New City

By Kelly Garcia

Labour Day has come and gone in the US, which means summer is officially over and I have no idea how to feel about it! I am sad that we no longer get to go to the lake as often but I am so excited for less humidity (even though Florida’s humidity will be killing me in about a month). My favourite things about winter in Chicago are the coats, boots, beanies and scarves!

With the season slowing down, we had a little more time off and we decided that a hike was just what we needed! Of course, the day we decide to head out, the temperature soared to 33 degrees (Celsius) and the humidity was crazy. Despite the heat the hike was great - fresh air, waterfalls, a lovely picnic, spiders and an obscene amount of stairs. While this resulted in lots of sweating, it was well worth it. The hiking trail was situated in a ‘ghost town’.  It had one street with old dilapidated buildings and we did not see a single soul - it was straight out of a horror movie.  It was definitely an exhilarating experience.

It is great to see how popular Nando’s has become in Chicago. Last season there was only one branch but there are now four in the city. It does not compare to the one at home, though. , We took some of our American and European colleagues there and made them try the peri-peri sauces.

To top off a great month I went to see Lauren Hill and Train at Ravinia. Train was so much fun and I screamed out “Drops of Jupiter” in the final performance – the perfect ending, in my opinion. Lauren Hill was AMAZING! She was a little late but when she eventually came on, she did not disappoint! The outfit she wore was a bit strange but she rocked it like the queen that she is. What made it even better was that I received two tickets closer to that stage from two women that left earlier.  I could not believe it - I guess I was in the right place at the right time. So our head chef and I ran inside the pavilion and got to see her up close and personal! She even sang “Doo Wop” – one of my favourites.

We only have about a month left in Chicago, the season went by way too fast but it was a great one. I got to be with my friends again and I made some awesome new ones. The rest of the season is going to be super slow so I am going to spend as much time with them as possible before our bitter farewell!

Monday, 5 September 2016

Your dreams are valid!!!

Nasiphi Sobahle

“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.” – Christopher Reeve

Too many times, we put our dreams off. We hesitate to seize opportunities such as that offered by Workaway International. Despite the fact that the South African youth are eager to travel, work and study abroad, many of us are held back by our lack of confidence – either concluding that such opportunities are too good to be true, or that we face too much competition.

If I can give my fellow South Africans one piece of advice, it is this: Your dreams are valid – you have to find the courage to follow them.

I can still recall how nervous I was when I embarked on the Workaway programme back in 2012. After all, the Tourism & Hospitality industry is competitive – it is imperative that one is well skilled, equipped with experience and groomed to the standards required by the industry. But I gathered my courage and grabbed the opportunity. Experience is such an advantage. I found my courage by  reminding myself that I had the experience and qualifications to contribute on an equal footing with the other candidates.

I am proud to say that I have never looked back since 2012, and I have learned so much in the seasons that I have completed. Hunters Run Golf Country Club has broadened my horizons, expanded my knowledge of the industry, and has groomed and equipped me with a bucket full of training.

I would like to personally congratulate every candidate who has been accepted by a country club thus far. I want to commend you for having the patience, because Workaway International takes pride in their work and their selection process. Celebrate that you have been accepted and continue having the positive attitude that has carried you through; you are going to need it for your visa interview.

What seemed impossible is now very possible. Do not give up; you are too close to the finishing line.

There is a lot of hard work ahead for you - but also so much fun! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Seize the dream!

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Back to Florida!

By Melissa Chauvet

It seems as if it was yesterday that I returned home from Florida. I cannot believe that in just over a month I will be heading back for my third season at Mirasol Country Club.

During my time at home, I have had the opportunity to help recruit candidates for Workaway International. It has been challenging and hard at times, but I got to meet amazing people and made friends with a good few of them.

I am sure the candidates who made it through the selection process are extremely excited to be taking on a great new adventure. This is an opportunity of a lifetime. You will not regret it. One piece of advice I can give is to prepare to be a little homesick, especially when you are working long hours. When you feel it coming on, remind yourself that you are with an amazing group of people who are in the same boat as you. Those feelings will soon pass. That often helped me, as did reminding myself why I took the chance to travel and work in the US in the first place.

Like any other job, it definitely gets easier once you get the hang of things. And then there are the most amazing distractions for the home-sick. You get to explore Florida and see what the American lifestyle is all about. How cool is that? See you on the other side of the Atlantic soon!

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Getting closer!

By Stormy Cousins

It has been a whirlwind, helping potential Workaway candidates with their recruitment process during my time at home.

While I have been helping out and preparing the new applicants for their possible journeys, I have found myself getting more and more excited to return to Florida...

My first stop when I get back to America is Starbucks but there are many other things I’m looking forward to. It is going to be great seeing all my old Boca West friends again, as well as making new friends with some of the new applicants. I am also excited to be starting a new position, with new challenges that will help me learn and grow in the industry.

That is why this programme is such a great opportunity. While it is amazing to go to America and experience a different country and culture, you also get to experience so much on a professional level. My advice to the new applicants is to take in as much knowledge as you can when you are there, and live as many great experiences as you can.

Travelling is very easy in America. Some of my adventures were to the Everglades, Universal Studios and Key West. In my photos you will see some of my memories!

Travel, make new friends and grow! Best of luck!