Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Ticket to anywhere

By Vasti Fourie

Thank you Workaway International for this amazing opportunity.  Thank you for my ticket to anywhere. Physically I did not receive a ticket to go anywhere in the world, but I have my foot in the door and the opportunity to turn all my dreams into a reality.

In just a few weeks’ I will begin this amazing new chapter. Yes, it will be very difficult to say goodbye to all my family and friends, but I know it will all be worth it.

Here are a few reasons why it is a good idea to travel abroad:

Working in a different environment, away from home will change you and help you grow.
The best way to learn is from your experiences. 
You get to learn and understand cultures other than your own. As your understanding of other cultures increases, your understanding of yourself and your own culture will increase exponentially.
You get to experience new places, so go out and explore on your off days.
You learn that communication is so important – especially when you are living abroad so talk to the locals and make new friends.

To my fellow Workaway International participants, while we are in the USA let us soak up all the life lessons, stay strong and always be positive.

Thank you Workaway International and the staff for your guidance and assistance throughout this process. You have given so many young adults a brighter future J.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Experiencing America

By Andrea May

I will never forget where my journey started. On the morning on 20 October 2015, I raced to the airport with my family. It was as if they were never going to see me again. I hugged them all goodbye, knowing that I will just be gone for 6 months.

It was a long flight to America. After three movies back to back, I was sure we were about to land but I looked at the time and saw we still had 10 hours to go! Eventually we landed and I met my house coordinator, Annie, for the first time. She has been truly amazing to me.

As we exited the airport, the first thing I saw was palm trees everywhere! We got to a store called Publix (which is similar to Woolworths) before we got to our accommodation.  Annie and her assistant helped us settle into our apartments. The apartments looked better than I expected. It was like a holiday resort – we had a hot tub, pool, creek, tennis courts, gym, pool tables and Apple Macs.

Time went on at Boca West and I must admit that Christmas was the most difficult time. I missed my family so much.  I felt disconnected from the people I love and I wanted to go back home on more than one occasion. However, I had the support of friends and colleagues and that made things much easier. I ended up making so many amazing memories of my own. I am grateful for the connection I made with my colleagues as they soon became family.

Being on the Workaway International programme has allowed me to experience things I never knew I would. I went on amazing road trips like driving to Florida Keys on the Overseas Highway! We also drove to Tampa. I went jet skiing in Mexico and attended Ultra in Miami, where I got to see the biggest EDM artists live. I traveled to the Caribbean and fed flamingos on one of the most beautiful beaches. As an animal lover, swimming with dolphins was one of the biggest dreams come true.

I went to Disney World, kissed Mickey Mouse and met my favorite Disney princess, Ariel. I even overcame my fear of heights by going on the SheiKra, a dive coaster at the Busch Gardens Tampa Bay amusement park. Going to Universal Studios was just as amazing as I got to see some of my favourite childhood movies come to life.

Workaway has also made it possible for me to move to New York. There is just something about the city that captivates me and makes me feel alive. I even attended New York Fashion Week. I have fallen in love with this city and I never want to leave, but sadly I have one month left.

Being on the Workaway International program has opened so many doors for me. I have grown up so much and truly found myself. I will cherish this experience forever. Thank you Workaway International for giving me this amazing opportunity.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

America - We are coming for you!

By Mario de Carvalho

Hellen Keller once said; "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing". This is one of the many reasons why I decided to take on this once in a lifetime journey to the USA. I became acquainted with Workaway International through a friend who was on the program previously. I knew that a program as profound as Workaway International would be the perfect choice for me.

Workaway International has been exceptional, assisting me individually with whatever I needed. I received a call informing me that my application was successful and that I will be employed at the Boca West Country Club as a banquet server. I was overwhelmed with excitement. This is it. I am well on my way to the USA!

Since the orientation day in Johannesburg, the process has been expeditious. With the thought of leaving our home country, it is completely common to experience an array of emotions. From fear of homesickness and the unknown to excitement for what is to come. One thing is for sure - I am truly thankful and blessed to have been granted this opportunity. 

I want to thank each and every staff member of the Workaway International team. Not only for the opportunity but for their patience, helpfulness and guidance throughout the application process. They have made every successful participants dream come true! Thank you.

Monday, 18 September 2017

The Start of a New Chapter with Workaway International

By Megan Volker

In just a few weeks’ I will begin a new chapter abroad with Workaway International. I am super excited and grateful for such an amazing opportunity. Working and travelling abroad is one of the most important life experiences you can ever have – should you get the opportunity to do so.

It is vital that you remember a few key factors as you prepare for this journey ahead:

1.    Remember to pack wisely as there are certain weight restrictions with luggage;
2.    Do not let your nerves get the better of you. It is natural to feel scared or anxious before a long journey, especially when you have to leave your loved ones behind for the first time;
3.    Seize every opportunity as it comes;
4.    Remember to be yourself and make as many friends as you can. The friends you make will soon grow into family;
5.    Treat others as you would want to be treated;

Work hard and remember to always make a great impression.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

7 tips to remember when you are in Florida

By Catherine Lindebaum

Hey everyone! My name is Cat Lindebaum and I am a returner on the Workaway International Programme. I started in 2014 and 3 years later I am happy to return to Addison Reserve Country Club for my fourth season abroad, along with my boyfriend Gideon, who I met in my very first season at the country club.

The returning recruiters will know the drill but for all the new recruits, the first couple of weeks will be tough. Settling in to your new home, adapting and learning the ropes takes time, but remember to keep your head up, work hard and embrace the learning phase.

I have had the opportunity to experience fiery sunrises in Delray Beach and incredible sunsets in Naples. I explored Florida on a scooter, visited the southernmost point of the continental United States, celebrated my 21st birthday in Times Square and road-tripped from Florida to Vermont. All of which I did while showing up on time, maintaining a positive attitude and going the extra mile in my position as a hostess and reservationist.

Being a returner, I would like to think that I have gained a bit of wisdom to share. So here are 7 tips to keep in mind when you are on the Workaway International programme in Florida.

1.    You may be living in an apartment with 3 - 5 other people for the entire season. Get to know your housemates and most of all respect them and be considerate at all times.

2.    Come up with a cleaning routine early on in the season to ensure all housemates do their part. I have found that if everyone just cleans up after themselves straight away, there are rarely any problems or last minute major cleaning for an inspection.

3.    This one is simple: Be on time. Work hard. Smile always. These will always ensure a successful and problem-free work day.

4.    Some members of the country clubs will be abrupt and very demanding. Instead of retaliating in a negative way, rather take a few minutes to yourself and just breathe. If you still feel uncomfortable after that, speak to your server captain, manager or supervisor and communicate your problem. You will find that communication remains the key in every situation!

5.    Being new can be very overwhelming at times. Do not be afraid to ask for help whenever you need it. There will always be people to help you along the way.

6.    Likewise, if you are a returner and are training new recruits, practice patience. Remember their success is your success and you are all a team.

7.    Do not forget that you are in a different country. There are many rules that remain the same but there are also different rules and laws to adhere to. One of the biggest law states that the legal age for drinking & smoking is 21 years old. Be safe and stay legal at all times!

Most of all have fun, go out, explore and experience all there is to offer and make a ton of lifelong friends and memories you will not forget.

Enjoy and all the best of luck!

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

We are all in this together

By Paige Pretorius

It is almost time to leave my family, friends and the place I have called home for 21 years, to begin a new adventure in the United States of America.

After our orientation at the Hilton Hotel, the reality of this impending journey hit me!   We received bright red packs with all the information we need to start our journey. Even then, it still felt like you can never have enough information.

Getting to chat to some of the “returners” and “newbies” at the orientation was a big help. It is intimidating having to talk to all these new people but these are the people who are possibly going to be your support structure while you are abroad. You want to get to know as many people as you can, and not only from your club but also from other clubs as well. The most amazing part so far is that I have already met some incredible people - and we have not even left yet.

Now, the time has come for us to start completing the tasks on our to-do list provided by Workaway International.  I have already been prodded with needles at the pathology lab and had x-rays taken of my chest at the radiologist.  Although it all sounds daunting (as it sure did to me), my excitement grows with every task that is ticked off my list.  

There is still quite a lot to do: A visit to the GP, the scary appointment at the USA Consulate and of course, getting down to the ‘nitty-grittys’ for our uniforms.

It will all come together and I would love to say “in time” however, we all know that there is not much time left. So all the best to my fellow Workaway International recruits, we are all in this together!

Monday, 11 September 2017

My current journey with Workaway International

By Arthur Devon Petersen 

“Where do I begin?” is the exact question I asked myself when I realized that I wanted to embark on a journey to work and experience life in the USA. Who better to provide me with such a momentous opportunity than Workaway International?

I heard about Workaway International through friends. At first, I thought it was a scam – it was too good to be true. My friends embarked on their journey and completed their first season at Boca West Country Club in Florida.  I immediately knew that this is what I was meant to do as well!

I attended a presentation and went through the screening process. In the beginning it was quite overwhelming as there were so many people applying to be on the Workaway International programme. Johannesburg had over 1000 applicants! It is difficult not to second guess yourself. Even while meeting with the various Country Club representatives, you cannot help but doubt your chances of being successful in the process. I then thought to myself, this is just like varsity, it begins with plenty of students and only the cream of the crop make it to the end. Finally - to my amazement - I am a step away from being employed at Boca West Country Club.

It has been a long wait to get to where we are now. Since the orientation, it finally sunk in that I am on my way to America. This is an opportunity to make new friends, new connections and begin a new journey in my life. I have only the staff at Workaway International to thank for providing many people, like myself, an opportunity to make our families and country proud by allowing us to serve and represent the hospitality industry. I will be a Server at Boca West Country Club and for this I am truly blessed and grateful.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Gearing up to take flight to Florida

By Claire Smith

The countdown to our recruits meeting at the pre-departure orientation for visa interviews, medical checks and other formalities has begun!  I am excited to return to the beach, soak up the sun and see my friends and the members at the Mirasol Country Club in Florida. I cannot wait for our recruits to start their journey – like I did 5 years ago.

It can be overwhelming and intimidating to travel to America, especially if it is your first time flying. 

Here are a few tips that will help when preparing for your new adventure:

When packing, roll your clothing instead of folding it so that there is more space;  
Do not over pack because you will definitely be doing a lot of shopping;
Carry a pen along with you as you will be required to complete custom and immigration forms on the airplane before you land;
If you need to take along any prescribed medication, make sure that you have a doctor’s note for the medication so that airport officials can identify why you are carrying the medication; 
Another helpful tip is to take chewing gum along with you as it helps prevent your ears from blocking as your flight ascends;
You are also more than welcome to take along your favorite snacks.

Do not be overwhelmed when arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport as the staff is friendly and willing to help where needed. Just sit back and as you take your next flight to Miami, take a look out of the window and you will see hundreds of yellow taxis - just like in the movies!

It has been such an amazing few months, meeting and getting to know all our recruits. I hope you are all as excited as I am to jet off to the USA. I think the 2017/2018 Workaway International season is going to be the best one yet!