Thursday, 8 August 2019

Home is where the heart is!

Sonia Marques

The last 2 months at home have gone by so fast and I wish my time at home did not have to come to an end. I have thoroughly enjoyed being back with my family and friends. However, it is always exciting to go back to work in Florida.

It felt like just yesterday that I was arriving back in South Africa. I was nervous about seeing all my family and friends. Now the nerves are back, but they are here because I am getting ready to leave home again. As many times as I go back and forth, the goodbyes never get any easier. It is important to remember that being nervous and anxious before leaving home is completely normal. You are leaving your comfort zone and having to settle into a new environment in a different country which is quite an adjustment. Even when I am back home, it takes a couple of weeks to settle back into my environment after I have become comfortable living in the USA.

Before I leave for Florida in October, I am travelling to Portugal with my mom to visit my grandmother and other family members. I am beyond excited for this trip, as it will give me the much-needed quality time with my mom and gran. We will be staying in Lisbon and we will be spending a week in Lagos, Algarve - which has some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen.

My love for traveling comes from having family around the world and being blessed enough to be able to visit them. This passion has only grown since working abroad and has opened my eyes to a variety of cultures and a whole new perspective of the world.  When you travel, you learn that the world is not big enough to keep loved ones apart for too long.

“Home is where you leave everything you love and never question that it will be there when you return.”
~ Leo Christopher

With Love,

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

How to prepare for your country club interview

Being interviewed can be daunting and intimidating however, there are several steps you can take to prepare yourself accordingly. Here are a few tips to keep in mind…

Do your research

Researching the country club and your potential role will only count in your favour. It will help you understand the country club you could potentially be working at and equip you to answer questions effectively.

Doing the relevant research also creates a great first impression. It shows the country club representative that you took the initiative to learn more about the company.  It will also help you prepare thoughtful question to ask the interviewer.

Be punctual

Being late immediately creates a negative impression which may result in employers thinking that you are unprofessional and unreliable.

Plan accordingly and ensure that you leave home earlier than usual so that you can be on time. Remember to allow yourself an extra 15 – 30 minutes for unexpected traffic or in case you get lost. 

Dress to impress

When you look your best, you perform your best. So, take the time to plan what you are going to wear. A professional appearance is important in making a good first impression. Here are a few of our guidelines:

For ladies:
·                     No heavy makeup. Cosmetics should be tastefully applied
·                     Dress code is strictly formal and not too revealing
·                     Make sure your hair is clean and neat

For men:
·         Dress code is strictly formal
·         Make sure your hair is neatly cut and that your beard is cleanly shaven

Have a mock interview

Having a mock interview will help you practice your speaking and perfect your body language. You can research common interview questions and practice answering them. Doing this allows you to enter the interview with confidence.
Sell yourself!

The country club interview is your last opportunity to make sure you land the job. So, do not be shy to mention your strengths and showcase your personality. This is what the representatives want to see!

Good luck to all the participants who are entering the next phase of the recruitment process. You would not have made it this far if we did not think you have what it takes! Believe in yourself and watch how things fall into place 😊.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Living the American Dream

By Leigh Septoo 

As cliché as it might sound, leaving your home country and traveling to a different part of the world is truly a life changing experience.

I moved to Florida in 2017 with my bags packed and nerves running wild, eager to experience what many people call ‘The American Dream’. 

I do not regret joining the Workaway International programme. I received the opportunity to live and work in the USA and the past two years have been such an amazing experience. 

From travelling to different parts of the country, vacationing on a cruise to the Bahamas, experiencing Miami nights and the gorgeous Florida beaches, not to mention having the opportunity to meet new and exciting people from all over the world. Your co-workers are from different places in the world and to meet and experience their cultures and languages is so exciting.

Although hard work and long hours are a part of your daily routine while working at the country club, it pays off. You are set with references from an international place of employment that will truly help you in the future. You also gain a lot of experience in different areas of the hospitality industry, and in between all the work, you get to have fun with new friends. 

I was also fortunate enough to live and work in Chicago. I have never been more in love with a city. I loved showing my family in South Africa pictures and videos of Lake Michigan, Millennium Park and the city. 

Moving away from home, may seem scary at first but the possibilities are endless. You get the opportunity to see the world and travel to beautiful and exciting places. I am eager to return to Florida for my 4th season and make new amazing memories.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Let the planning begin…

By Sonia Marques

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning and focused effort.”
~Paul J. Meyer

By now you should be settled into your current living situation, whether you are back at home in SA or working up north. Some participants are also preparing for their winter season in Florida! Luckily, the Workaway team will be in touch with you and will provide you with all the information you need to make the process as easy and smooth as possible. However, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are well prepared for each step of the process, so here are a few tips to make the process easier and stress-free.

Visa Picture: Make sure that the picture fits the correct size requirements for a USA visa; be sure to specify this to the person taking your photo. Your photo cannot be the same as your previous visa as it must be a recent picture, with your ears visible.

Medicals: In addition to the medical check-ups required by Workaway International, you should also consider getting your regular check-ups before leaving the country, as medical expenses can be extremely costly while abroad. I recommend visiting the dentist before going on the programme.

Things to take with you: From my experience, I always make sure to take a few cans of deodorant from SA with me, as deodorant in the USA are very expensive. I also visit Clicks or Dischem and get any over-the-counter medicine that I may need (this is helpful if you are hesitant to take new medications that you have not tried before), such as headache, sinus, allergy or stomachache pills.

Planning is essential in order to avoid becoming overwhelmed during this process. It is very important that you manage your time wisely to ensure that you are not running around at the last minute.  So, take a deep breath, get things done the right way and just remember that you are not alone.

With Love,

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Big City Life

By Tara Clampett

I cannot believe it has been almost two months since the big move from Florida to New York! It feels like just yesterday that my Floridian roommates and I were packing and weighing our suitcases and saying our goodbyes. 

While the move up north has been a big adjustment in terms of different living arrangements and a completely different job, I am enjoying the challenges and of course living 30 minutes away from the Big Apple. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be able to tell my friends and family back home that I am going to New York City for the day!

One of the highlights of my time here thus far is the "Amazing Race" that our clubhouse manager organized for us. The first leg took place at the club after hours. We had to do a few challenges and the three winning teams got to spend the night in an amazing hotel right in the centre of Manhattan and luckily, we were one of those teams! 

The second leg took place through the city itself. We started off at 10am at Penn Station and finished at 10pm in Times Square. During those 12 hours we worked in pairs as we travelled by foot around New York City from clue to clue, EXACTLY like the TV show! After lots of running through Central Park, the Subway, SoHo, Chinatown and the Brooklyn Bridge (to name a few), my roommate and I won the 2019 Glen Oaks Club Amazing Race and our photo was shown on the billboard in Times Square.

This made all the sweat, stress and almost tears all worth it! A HUGE thank you to Steve and all the Glen Oaks staff who made this day one of the most memorable experiences I will ever have. Having a management team that cares for and looks after their staff makes all the difference.

Looking back on the race and some of the tasks we had to do, made me realise how one grows through this experience. Whether we had to gather a crowd of random people on the subway to cheer for us, dance in front of people on the train or ask complete strangers for directions, I was up for it. If you had asked me to do this five years ago, before I came on the Workaway International programme, I would have said ‘never in a million years’! So, here is to growth, adventures and some of the best memories to cherish for life.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

The Beauty That Is Hunters Run Country Club

By Nasiphi Sobahle

My last few blogs started with “Greetings from the sunny side of Florida” but I am back home in the motherland now, so: Greetings from the beautiful and cold Cape Town! 

As most of you know, Workaway International is currently recruiting for the upcoming winter programme in Florida, USA. I thought potential candidates might enjoy some insight into one of the country clubs, since there is so many to choose from.  

I have worked at Hunters Run Country Club since 2012 and will be going back in October for my 8th season.

Like many of you, I applied for a server position. I was lucky, as being a server ensured that I got to meet many amazing country club members. My top tip to potential candidates? Serve them with confidence, enthusiasm, charisma and, most importantly, a friendly yet professional manner, and they will become so fond of you.

In the past few years I have witnessed the club undergo major renovations and today, the members of Hunters Run call it “paradise”. It sure looks like it!

I have established truly beautiful relationships at Hunters Run and every season I gain more knowledge of the hospitality industry. The list of reasons why I love the Hunters Run Country Club are endless: the beauty of the Club, the members, my colleagues, discovering Florida... I truly hope some of the potential candidates get to experience the joys I have at this amazing country club.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Reminiscing on the season

Sonia Marques

Just like that, another season is over! If you decided to go up north, you will be heading into a busy season. However, if you are like me and opted to go home for a few months, you would have settled back home, catching up with friends and family. Either way, you should be so proud of yourself. You should be proud of all the hard work, how much you have experienced and how much you have grown over the last few months abroad.

I look back at my time in Florida and I am proud of what I have achieved, and you should be too. The beautiful thing about the Workaway International programme is that every season is an adventure and there is so much to learn and explore while you are in the USA. Even though this was my third summer season, I was still able to experience new things and there is still so much that I want to see and do - the opportunities are endless.

My professional highlights for this season was taking on more responsibility within my role and working in a different restaurant. This broadened my knowledge and kept work exciting. It also allowed me to meet more people and see things from a whole new perspective. It is important to learn about as many departments as you can in the Food and Beverage industry as this industry depends on everyone working as a team for it to function at its best.

During my free time, I enjoyed visiting Cancun (Mexico), parasailing, jet-skiing and snorkeling in Key West and in the Natural Springs in Orlando, visiting the new Universal waterpark - Volcano Bay and watching my first live baseball game in Miami.

With Love, 

Thursday, 30 May 2019


There is no rule book to what a successful candidate looks like, however we have a few tips that you can keep in mind to help improve your chances.

Remember, each year we are inundated with applications for a limited amount of positions and only the best of the best gets chosen. If your application is not successful, do not be discouraged. Use the opportunity to learn, grow and improve. You are always welcome to reapply for the next season.

This is one of the most important aspects we look for when choosing which candidates to put forward for the job. We have listed the minimum requirements on our website however candidates are often under the impression that this is ALL we require for them to be successful. It is, however, a huge advantage for candidates to have relevant experience applicable to the job they are applying for.

With that said, we do not want to discourage candidates who do not have experience not to apply, as we do believe that everyone deserves a chance. However, to be successful without experience means your personality must be the star of the show.

Remember, the chances of someone without experience getting the job is the exception rather than the rule.

Dress to impress! Often, the first judgement we have of you, is based on what you are wearing and how you look. Therefore, it is so important to dress professionally throughout the recruitment process. We always say that is better to overdress than underdress. Working in the hospitality industry requires you to look neat, professional and put together, so it is only fitting that you dress the part.

Be punctual, greet and introduce yourself confidently while making eye contact. All of this contributes favourably to your application.

Listen and ask questions if you do not understand something and never underestimate the power of a smile. A smile shows confidence and invites us to get to know you.

Working in another country and being away from home is a big commitment therefore it is important to know what you are getting yourself into. Our website is filled with everything you need to know about the programme and familiarising yourself with the information before attending the presentation really helps give a holistic view about the programme which ultimately helps you in making the right decision. It also helps you formulate well informed and relevant questions for when you meet us.

Do not be afraid to show your personality! This is your opportunity to show us what you have got to offer and why you deserve to be on the Workaway International programme. We know the recruitment process can be intimidating however, it is important to keep your eye on the prize, so bring your A-game!

Good luck and we look forward to meeting you at the presentation!

My first season in Florida

By Kimber-Lee Basson

Working abroad for the first time was a unique and wonderful experience. Being on the Workaway International programme enabled me to gain insights into a new country and exposed me to different cultures. I also met so many different people and got a fresh perspective on the world. This was truly an amazing opportunity that not many people will get to experience, and I am immensely grateful to Workaway International and the Polo Club!

My top highlights in Florida was definitely watching Trevor Noah live, a day trip visiting the Wynwood District and the beaches in Miami, the South Florida fair and then of course having the time of my life at Universal Studios in Orlando.

Being away from family and friends was challenging but as you start making new friends, you realise that you have the mental ability to overcome this.

If you are young, an extrovert and a hard worker, then seasonal work in the hospitality industry is for you! Not only do you get to add international experience to your resume, but you get to save money, as well as learn and grow.

Season one - you were great. I look forward to what lies ahead.

Monday, 20 May 2019

When one door closes, another one opens…

By Sonia Marques

The end of the winter season is here. At this time, you will be saying many goodbyes to friends that you have made while living here in the USA.

Although the season was temporary, some of the friendships you have made are not, these people have become lifelong friends!

However, with goodbyes - come hellos; to family and friends back home or if you are planning on going up north for the summer season, hellos to new work colleagues and friends. That is the beauty of being on the Workaway International program. Although bittersweet, every day brings new adventures and something new to look forward to.

It is important to think of this new adventure as a new beginning. If you are going home perhaps you would like to venture on to a new opportunity, now that you have some international experience. If you are going up north for the summer season, maybe you would like to improve on something or add onto the experience earned during the winter season. Always remember that there is room for improvement in every aspect of your life, with this mindset - you will go far!

Hard work during the season does not go unnoticed, and if your country club is like Addison Reserve, they may even throw you a Staff Appreciation Party. We were lucky enough to have been invited to this event, which was held at The Falls Country Club, where all the employees are recognized for their dedication and work ethic. We were treated to dinner, prizes and raffles, followed by dancing to end the night off along with the season with our colleagues and friends.

Thank you, Addison Reserve, for yet another memorable season!

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy on, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” - Socrates

With Love,