Thursday, 13 December 2018

‘Tis the Season…

By Sonia Marques

The Winter Season at Addison Reserve Country Club is typically always busy, with plenty to do for both the members and the staff.

However, during the Holiday Season the club is even more busy as most of the families of members come down to Florida from up north. The holidays mean hard work and long hours for us and therefore it is important to keep a few things in mind during this time; such as getting enough rest, keeping healthy and enjoying your off days.



Country Clubs and the work environment are not the only places that are festive during the holiday season. America knows how to celebrate and if you want to witness this first-hand, you should go downtown and see the Christmas decorations and lights.


For most, the holidays mean spending time with family and friends. This may be a tough time to be away from home for most of us. However, being a couple months into the working season, we should have already made many friends, some that even feel like family. So, decorate your apartments, buy a Christmas tree and plan a lunch or a dinner with these friends. This will help you to enjoy the holidays and celebrate accordingly with your new friends that have become family, in your home away from home.


On the bright side, change is good and this might very well be a Christmas and New Years to never forget.

“The measure of who we are, is what we do with what we have” – Vince Lombardi

‘Till next time,
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

FLORIDA IS A PARADISE!

By Nzuzo Mkhungo

Palm trees, hot wind in winter and beautiful scenery was what I walked out of the airport to see! Florida is a “heaven on earth” I tell you. The past few days I’ve been here have been amazing and quite the experience to my life in travel and career.


I have new roommates of which I came with from home on the same plane and same time, were more like family. We think of each other as family and share the greatest of plans and ideas as to our stay and so forth. The names are Kanyane and Neville respectively. We have done the most already: we went to the pool for the first time and it was a blast, then we went shopping for the first time at Publix. Oh my God! If for one second you think Shoprite is a very busy store than think again AMERICA is a GOD in variety of brands in absolute everything, the isles are so big, and everything is just extra. We made some friends at the shops who think our accent is cute and weird while we share the same sentiment of their accent.



First day at Admirals was great, the staff is so friendly, and it feels like a South African kitchen on steroids. We met with all sorts of people from all over the world (Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Americans). This week we’ve been a bit busy   preparing for Thanksgiving but work all in all has been amazing. When the place you work for fascinates you and the work you do does as well, life is honey!



Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Memories Last A Lifetime

By Tara Clampett

With most Workaway participants settled into their new job and lifestyle in the USA now it’s easy to fall into a routine…I find myself guilty of this and it is important to remind oneself that there are so many exciting adventures and opportunities at our doorstep here in the USA.


Living from paycheck to paycheck is no fun especially when you have no experiences or memories but only clothes and shoes to show for all your long hours worked. Although it may sound cliche, the saying goes “You can always make money, you can’t always make memories” is something I find that I need to remind myself and yes, it is possible to save money AND have fun and make memories throughout your stay in the USA…


One thing I am sure many new Workaway participants have realized is how many specials the restaurants in the USA have so taking advantage of these allows you to have fun with your friends, eat out, have some cocktails (because who doesn’t love a two for one cocktail special every now and then) for half the price you would usually pay…so play your cards right…websites and apps such as Yelp can help you find the best specials happening for any day in your area.

When it comes to adventures I have used a website called “Discover the Palm Beaches” which has loads of free and discounted activities to do in the Palm Beach County area…whether you are interested in the arts, outdoor activities such as biking, kayaking, sunset cruises, concerts, the list goes on…there is something for everyone! Last season a friend and I bought a package deal which included a stand up paddle board session or kayak and a sunset cruise for a bargain and it will be a day that I will never forget!


So here’s to making memories that we will cherish for many years to come thanks to Workaway International!

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

The Workaway Recruitment Journey

By Nzuzo Mkhungo

My name is Nzuzo Mkhungo, I am 19 years of age and am heading for Florida for my participation in the programme for the first time. Excited but scared “scarecited”! The hospitality industry is my chosen home and the opportunity I am getting with Workaway is one that will shed light in that regard.


Well I was fortunate enough to be chosen to be a part of the programme. Admirals Cove is where I am going to shine and make the programme proud! It has not been an easy sailing but here we are……I wasn’t lucky enough to be chosen after the first interview I went to. I was a constant caller to the office, sent dozens of emails and it eventually paid off.

I will be flying for the first time, I will be out of KZN for the first time, and I will be out of South Africa for the first time all thanks to the women I cannot omit in this text. Charlotte, Michelle, Tahira, Lucy and Robyn thank you. You have given me an opportunity I never thought was possible. 


In a few weeks I will be saying “GOODBYE SOUTH AFRICA AND HELLO AMERICA!”. I cannot wait but I am so scared at the same time: I am telling you now, this is a choice I will not regret making. Do the same and trust me, the experience I’m about to share with you will become yours to live.


Monday, 5 November 2018

Adventure awaits!


By Tanita Dos Anjos
Only 10 more days until my feet will be on American soil, in the oh-so-sunny Florida! I’m sure I’m not the only one who is feeling overwhelmed by excitement and nervousness for this exciting chapter that is to come.

My name is Tanita dos Anjos and soon I’ll be arriving in Florida to begin work at one of the most prestigious golf courses in America “Boca West Country Club”! The journey leading up to this has been just as overwhelming as the countdown to leaving!

It all started with a presentation that left many in awe and eager to apply to get a chance to experience “The American Dream”. After that, it was interview after interview, each time the stakes would get higher and higher, and we began to climb to the ladder to the end goal-working in Florida. The most nail-biting interview was definitely the one with Boca West. 


Butterflies erupted in my stomach as I moved closer and closer to the interview room and as soon as I saw my interviewer I set my eyes on the prize and somehow managed to calm myself enough to seem like-able and suitable for the job. The weeks thereafter I checked my emails 24/7 and I constantly had my phone on loud, waiting in anticipation for any news if I had made it or not. Then the day came, it was quite ironic, because for a split second it was completely out of my mind and that’s exactly when I heard the buzzing on my phone and saw the number, from the head office in Cape Town, calling and my stomach flipped! “Congratulations! You’ve been accepted to work at Boca West! “A smile grew upon my face and I couldn’t wait to share the news with my loved ones! My excitement was uncontainable! 
From there on everything moved so quickly! Filling out forms about who’d I’d like to share accommodation with and zoning for the medical exams followed by an orientation, organizing all the paperwork for the VISA and to add more stress on top of that, I’m a student, so I had to tackle exams too! Once my exams were done, orientation was completed, and all VISA paperwork and medical papers were compiled the last hurdle was getting the VISA. It doesn’t seem like a difficult thing to obtain but the embassy was almost as nerve wrecking as my interview with Boca West! However, as soon as I heard: “Your VISA has been approved” it was like I could finally picture myself in Florida officially working and gaining experience!


The next call I’d be getting from Cape Town would be the call to tell me my date of departure and ever since I’ve received that call my emotions have gone into turmoil! Happiness, excitement, nervousness and uncertainty of what will happen, all mixed into one! All that’s left to do now is pack and prepare for the adventure abroad and if it’s anything like what I picture in my head I know that I won’t ever regret it!


Tuesday, 30 October 2018

A New Chapter

By Tara Clampett

It is always a bittersweet feeling leaving your home country, your comfort zone, your family and friends. This season it was especially tough saying goodbye to the amazing ladies at the Workaway office. I am eternally grateful to each one of them for making the past five months so enjoyable.


Now for the start of a new chapter… This season I am a part of the wonderful team at the nation’s number 1 private residential country club, Boca West Country Club. All the staff are so friendly and always willing to help, which makes adjusting to a new work environment much easier. I am sure many of the first-time participants are feeling very nervous about their first day at work, however as Mr Linderman, President, COO and GM of Boca West says, nerves are a good thing as they show that you care about your job and that you want to perform well. It is also important to remember that ultimately, we are all representing South Africa while we are working in the USA so let’s represent our country well!


I believe that it is important to start your season with a goal in mind…for many of us, saving money is the main reason for joining the Workaway International program and a goal such as this helps keep you focused throughout the season. Nothing beats the feeling of seeing your bank balance grow and all your hard work pay off. You could be saving money for a car or house when you get home or maybe for a vacation at the end of the season… whatever it is, do not lose sight of your goal!


I wish all the new participants the best for the season ahead and I hope that it will be a successful season for Workaway South Africa!

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Pure Gratitude

By Christiaan Haasbroek

Time has flown by so quickly! I cannot believe that I will be applying for my visa again, to return to Admirals Cove Country Club for another season.


Since I landed in South Africa it has been an adventure.  I took a trip to Cape Town to meet up with all the ladies behind the scenes of Workaway International, South Africa, who works long hours every day of the week catering to all the participants needs.

As a participant and not an employee I would like to thank; Charlotte, Lucy, Michelle, Tahira, Tara, Robyn and Amber for the amazing work that they do. They are truly making dreams come true by making sure that every candidate is taken care of.


No one really realises the amount of work that goes into each candidate, from each region. Participants always feel that once they start the process things do not happen as quickly as they would like, and then suddenly you get that call and everything is happening all at once. It can be a bit overwhelming and stressful, but trust me, once you arrive at the country club all the stress, anger and tears will be completely worth it.


Over the past 5 months I have met some amazing people that will be joining us on the Workaway International programme. I have to say that I am thoroughly excited to work with the new candidates. The other recruiters and I have come to learn who you are, and we truly look forward to joining everyone at the country clubs. If we do not work together we might end up seeing you around Florida at the local supermarket or mall, maybe even at the beach ๐Ÿ˜‰.


It has been an honour to work for Workaway International these past 5 months and a real challenge. I wish you all the best for the next few weeks: with visa appointments coming up, packing and getting ready to head out on a brand-new adventure!

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Here’s to a New Season!

Sonia Marques

In about 2 weeks I will be leaving for Delray Beach, Florida - to work at the Addison Reserve Country Club for my third season!


Even as a returner, the excitement is still there. There is so much to look forward to, especially in the beginning of the season – a new season is like a new year.


Who am I going to be working with? Who am I going to meet? Who will become my closest friends? What will the theme of the Season Opening Party be? What will our staff party be like? Where will I go explore this time around? All these questions are getting me excited for what’s to come.


The most exciting part of a new season is meeting new friends, who will be making your experience even more worthwhile - these friends become your family. You will meet people from all over the world; South Africa, America, Ireland, Austria, Germany and Portugal, to name a few.



A new season is also a new opportunity to prove yourself to your country club and to yourself and it allows you to excel in your strengths and grow even more as a person. The learning never ends.

Although this can all be very exciting, there is still sadness in leaving home. However, time flies and before you know it, the season is coming to an end and you will be reunited with your loved ones. It is important to remember that this is an opportunity of a lifetime and your family is so proud of you and you should be proud of yourself too.


Good luck, work hard and have fun!

Monday, 1 October 2018

Bitter-sweet moments

By Robin May

We are currently in the final stage of the recruitment process - Visa Appointments; which means our dreams are slowly becoming a reality. Control your nerves, look and speak professionally and be punctual. First impressions are extremely important.

For some it will be their very first time going to the USA, which can be nerve wrecking yet exciting. For the Workaway returners, it will be like going back to our “home away from home”.


My advice to candidates going on the Workaway International programme for the first time is to be yourself and keep a professional working balance with your employers. This is key for the next season when your country club offers you another opportunity to possibly come back and gain more experience ๐Ÿ˜Š

For me personally it is bitter-sweet. I have been home for 5 months and in just a few weeks I will be on my way to Florida! I am thankful for this golden opportunity and to be part of such a prestigious programme. It is always sad having to say goodbye to family and friends, but nothing is more encouraging than support from people that believe in you and your dreams – so make them proud!


Soon we will be jet setting to Florida on a 24-hour flight. You will be exhausted and completely amazed at every leg of the journey. Stick together, wave your Workaway Travel Wallets with pride and fly the South African flag high!


Friday, 28 September 2018

Before you start packing...

By Tara Clampett

With consulate appointments around the corner, the time has come for everyone to start preparing for the exciting journey ahead!

One stress (especially for the ladies) is always what to pack: do you take the plain black bikini or the one with the floral print? Or maybe one bikini and one full piece? How many pairs of heels should you take? Do you really need the short and long sleeved little black dress?

Packing can be a nightmare, especially for first time travelers, however as all the returners say: pack as lightly as you can because you are going to buy a lot of clothes, shoes and accessories while you are in the USA. Plus, you do not want to pay an additional $100 - $400 for an extra suitcase when you return home.


Below are my top travel hacks that have saved me a lot of money and stress:

1) The best investment is a decent handheld luggage scale. This allows you to weigh your bags without the struggle of trying to position your case on a body weight scale. It is also much more accurate.

2) Roll all your clothes instead of folding them as this takes up less space. I also put all tops that I have rolled into Ziploc bags to save even more space and keep my suitcase organised.

3) Ensure that your hand luggage does not contain any liquids over the 100ml rule. I made this mistake my first season and had to throw a lot of toiletries away.

4) Remember to pack enough toiletries in your check-in luggage bag to get you through your first few weeks, as toiletries are expensive in the USA.

5) Always remember to take travel adaptor plugs so that you can still use your electronics in the USA.

6) Buy a neck pillow for the plane - trust me, this will save your neck and back.

7) Remember to check your luggage in to your final destination for example, Fort Lauderdale. HOWEVER, you still need to collect your luggage at the first point of entry into the USA; for example, JFK Airport.

8) Lastly, stick with the returners throughout your journey, from South Africa to the United States. It can be very stressful and confusing; however, the returners have been through it all and can offer guidance.

I hope these tips will help and I look forward to seeing all the excited faces on the plane - to the USA!


Thursday, 13 September 2018

Tips to pass your Visa Interview

By Christiaan Haasbroek

It is September and we are approaching the end of the recruitment season.  Completing the medical process and filling in the lengthy DS-160 form can build much anticipation – but that Visa to America is totally worth it!


Workaway sorts and organises the paperwork for the interview, assisting their candidates all the way and providing much relief, in the aim to ensure that your visa pack is in tip top shape for the consulate officer.

Here are some tips on how to prepare yourself, emotionally and mentally, for the interview with the immigration officer at the Consulate:
1    
     The most important part of the interview would be the first 1 - 2 minutes of your interview – remember, first impressions matter. Always be concise with your answers, as the consulate goes through a high volume of applicants and your first and initial impression will help them make their decision quickly.

2      Your intentions for travelling to the USA should be work - that is the main purpose. You must be able to clearly articulate your plan after you completed your term with Workaway International, should it be for work or studies.


3   Lastly, always reflect positivity! Accept the decisions made by the consular officer and do not engage in any arguments. If your visa gets denied stay positive and ask the consular for a list of documents that they would suggest for you to bring, to overcome the refusal. Always try to get the denial in writing but the main objective is staying positive - be respectful and professional.

Try to ensure that you are dressed to impress! Presentation is of utmost importance to the consular officer – so make sure to be dressed in a formal and professional style.
These tips will hopefully make the last stretch of the recruitment process a bit easier, and help you stand out from the crowd.


Tuesday, 4 September 2018

My tips on saving abroad

By Robyn May

We are drawing closer to the end of the recruitment process and I am getting more excited about going back to Florida for my fourth season.


As much as this is an exciting adventure and journey for my career; my goal this season is to SAVE MONEY! Here are some tips I can give you, from my own experience, which might help you as well ๐Ÿ˜Š.

SAVINGS ACCOUNT: Speak to a consultant at the bank and ask if they can open an account linked to your Cheque account, where you can transfer cash that can only be withdrawn at a certain date. If you can save $20-$50 every time you get paid, you can go on that holiday you have been planning in your head from the time the season began.



SALES: We all love clothes and shoes (especially the ladies) but they can become expensive. Shop in the sales department. Trust me there are so many items you can find on these racks. What may have been $20 can be marked down to just $5. Places like Forever 21 and H&M are where you can find these deals. Happy shopping!

HAPPY HOUR: What I have discovered, while being in Florida, is that there are so many restaurants that have happy hour. From sushi, to tacos and even three-course meals… keep an eye out for these deals. Usually when going out with a group of friends, we order 4 to 5 items which we all enjoy, and of course we split the bill at the end of the night.


DISCOUNTED DEALS: There are so many attractions to see in Florida and they come at a price. There is a way to still see all these attractions without hurting your pocket: Groupon! It is an app you can go onto and purchase deals at a lower price. You can purchase anything from an Air Boat Ride, to a Ski-diving experience and holiday destinations. Give it a try!

I hope these tips can help you once you are in the United States of America... Happy Saving!

Monday, 27 August 2018

Floridian Bucket List

By Tara Clampett

Many of us can breathe a sigh of relief now that our country club interviews are over, and we can now look forward to the next leg of the journey and start planning how we want to spend our time in the USA...when we are not working of course!
While I have ticked off some bucket list items over the past few seasons in the USA, there are still many items left on the list...


First and foremost is a cruise to the Bahamas with its beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters where your biggest worry should be which bikini to wear the next day. A top tip for new recruits: be sure to use sites such as Expedia to get the best vacation deals. You can take a two-day cruise, which is not only super affordable but also means you will not need to request a lot of time off work.

Next up is an Everglades airboat tour. While I have seen my fair share of alligators from a distance while driving the bev cart in Florida, I have always wanted to do an official swamp tour for a true adrenalin rush. After all, they say you are not a true “Floridian” until you have done a swamp tour.


While the USA does not have anything on South Africa when it comes to sport (because nothing beats the feeling at a live rugby match right?) there are two sports that I do want to experience in the states...namely, a college football game and a NASCAR race. The Daytona International Speedway hosts NASCAR races throughout the year and I will be sure to be a spectator at one of them!

Of course, a trip to Miami will be on the cards again and this time I plan visit the Wynwood district, which is known for its colourful murals. While it was previously a gritty area filled with abandoned warehouses, these warehouses have now been transformed and Wynwood is now one of Miami’s most exciting neighbourhoods when it comes to art and entertainment.


The list could go on and on...Key West, Mexico, Devil’s Den, a Chainsmokers concert. My ultimate goal is to make the most of my off days and go on adventures as often as possible. Is it time to pack my bags already?

Friday, 17 August 2018

Getting ready to head back to the USA

By Christiaan Haasbroek

I cannot believe that we are nearing the end of our recruitment season in South Africa.  It has been such a great journey meeting all the new recruits that dressed up for the Country Club interviews over the past two weeks.



A popular question I have been asked is “what do I take with?” And “how much should I pack?” so here are a few tips:

·       Do not overpack: You do not need to pack a lot as clothing in the USA is fairly cheap and earning dollars will definitely make buying clothes more feasible. From my experience going to the USA for my first season, I packed too much clothes and personal items that I realised that I have too many suitcases to return to South Africa.

·       Pack light: take light clothes as the winter season in Florida is still very hot, you will have one or two weeks where the nights are a bit chilli so take a blazer or “hoodie”. Pack your flip flops, swimwear and towels as you will be spending lots of time on the beach and buy sunscreen there as it can get messy in your bag.


·        Bring your camera: You will be making lots of memories, ones that you will want to cherish for a lifetime.



·       Take some formal clothes:  Your country club will most likely have a formal Christmas party for the staff and you will need something to wear.


·       Take something that reminds you of home: Pictures of your loved ones or something personal, is always good to keep. The time in Florida can make you miss your friends and family and having some pictures to remind you of them is always good and helps when you are feeling homesick.

Lastly, go with an open mind and be open to experience a different culture and lifestyle other than what you are used to. The best part of the Workaway adventure is to learn about other cultures, travel and experience what the USA has to offer.