Monday, 11 November 2019

Picking up where we left off…

By Sonia Marques

I left South Africa almost one month ago now, even though it feels like it was just yesterday. It has been a rollercoaster of emotions, from missing home in the beginning, to then reuniting with old friends that I missed after leaving Florida last year at the end of May.  This was the first time I spent my birthday without my family, however having my friends in Florida here with me made it so much easier and they went out of their way to make the day special for me.

This is my fourth season working at Addison Reserve and I couldn’t be more excited and motivated. In about 2 weeks we will be opening a brand new restaurant called “The Grill” and I will have the privilege of being apart of this. One of the wonderful things about working at Addison is that I have had the opportunity to work at all 3 restaurants. This has allowed me to learn a lot about the country club itself and also keeps work exciting.

This season Addison hired people from South Africa, Austria, Germany, Italy and Portugal. The diverse cultures and personalities that I have come across from working here has been one of best experiences I have had and I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to meet so many people from all around the world, some that have even become very good friends and family.

By now you should be starting to settle into your new home for 7 months and transitioning from what you know into the unknown. However, do not be alarmed if the unknown hasn’t been discovered yet as this will happen gradually as you find your place here in paradise. Your time here in Florida, away from family, will be made easier once you establish relationships within your work and social circles. So get out there, be the greatest version of yourself and Carpe Diem. 

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
~ Oscar Wilde

With Love,

Monday, 4 November 2019

Goodbye for now New York

By Tara Clampett

Wow! What an amazing five months it has been. Coming from South Africa, I would only dream that one day I would be able to LIVE in New York and this was my reality for the past few months.

I remember feeling very anxious about leaving my Boca West family in mid-May 2019 to embark on a new adventure. I was apprehensive about serving again after the last time I had served in a country club was back in 2017 and also about new colleagues, a new roommate, new bosses…everything! But now reflecting on my experiences at Glen Oaks Club, I am so grateful that I took the opportunity. I truly met amazing people who all impacted my life; my roommate was one of the most genuine, kind, caring girls that I have ever met and after a few days of settling in it felt like we’d known each other for life.

We definitely worked hard but now reminiscing about my summer and how much I did in those few months makes all those double shifts worth it. Besides exploring New York City whenever we had the chance to, we also saved up and took a trip to Chicago. This is a beautiful city, almost like a smaller and less busy version of NYC…we started off our trip with a baseball game at the famous Wrigley Stadium, the next day we visited the Instagram-worthy icon “The Bean”, went up to the Skydeck (beautiful view but terrifying to step onto the all-glass deck) and ended off our trip kayaking in Lake Michigan.

I am so grateful to everyone I met at Glen Oaks, especially my managers Juan and Steve who always treated us with care and consideration. It was a great NY summer and I’m sure I will be back in the future!

Friday, 1 November 2019

My journey to the USA

By Dylan Mavakla

Have you ever felt that it is time for a certain chapter or phase in your life to end so that you can make room for a new opportunity? Well, that is exactly how I felt.

I needed something new, refreshing and challenging, and what could tick all those boxes than moving 12346km to a new country to start a new job, surrounded by unfamiliar faces for 8 months. Most people would look at something like this and run away from it, but not me. After hearing about the opportunities Workaway International offered, I had to take it with both hands.

Next thing I knew, I was at the Workaway International offices attending a presentation, then getting screened and scheduled for an interview. In the blink of an eye, my interview came, and I was ready to make this happen for myself. 

Can you guess what happened next? I received the call that I got the job and that I would be working at the 7th Platinum Country Club in America - Addison Reserve. There were a few seconds where my heart paused but then began racing with excitement for the new journey I was about to embark on. 

Soon it was time to pack my bags, say my goodbyes and spread my wings. 

Instagram handle: @dylan_mavakla

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

The start of my new journey

By Zander Fritz

Hello everyone, I am Zander Fritz. I am excited to share my journey on the Workaway International programme. I will explain my feelings, experiences, day to day activities and any other thoughts that I feel are important for future participants.

I started my Workaway International journey earlier this year where I attended the Workaway International presentation. I heard about this presentation from a friend. This was an informative presentation that gave us a brief look into what our lives could be if our applications were successful.

After the presentation, we had a short screening with the Workaway International staff. This is important, as they get to meet us and gather information on potential participants to potentially recommend them for roles that would best suit them.

The recruiters then contacted us to arrange a more in-depth interview. Initially, I felt nervous and even considered dropping out, but I stuck with it and stayed determined. I went to all my interviews and did my best to show them why they should hire me. I made it through each stage, which included meeting the representatives from the country clubs.

In the end, I got a position at Boca West country club in the state of Florida as a clubhouse greeter in the golf department.

Now I must prepare to leave for America, which I will give more details of in my next post.

Stay tuned for the excitement.

Friday, 11 October 2019

My 4TH season on the Workaway International programme…

By Latella Smit

Coming home and seeing my family and friends again was worth it. Being away from home for a year and a half, you really do miss South Africa, especially the food. But, I have to admit, after a month of being home, I started to miss Florida again.

During my time on the Workaway International programme, I have made friends that have become my family and cannot wait to do another season with them. Florida feels like home now.

I cannot wait to return to Boca West Country Club for my 3rd season. Every season is different and this time I want to travel to places that I have not been to before.
During my previous seasons, I went to Universal Studios, Key West, Miami, Everglades, Naples, Marco Island, Jacksonville, New York, and Westchester.

There are so many things to do in each state. The USA is so big, and it is difficult to go everywhere but the Bahamas and Mexico are a MUST this season.

The time has finally arrived for packing and getting ready to fly back to the USA!

The flight is approximately 20 hours long and I recommend bringing things to keep you occupied. I always suggest keeping your electronics fully charged. Bring an adapter and a charger to use when you switch over at JFK airport. They have plugs and charging stations all over. If you do not bring an adapter, be prepared to pay more than $30 for one at the airport.

It gets cold on the plane, so it is a good idea to bring a light jacket and wear comfortable clothing. Even though they give you meals on the plane, I like to take lots of snacks as well. I also like to be comfortable, so I usually take a pillow.

Most importantly, do not forget to exchange some cash and take Dollars with you! During my first season, I had to pull 2 suitcases, my carry-on luggage, laptop bag and handbag with my pillow under my arm because I did not have the cash to hire a trolley. A trolley at the JFK airport is $1!

See you on the other side!

Thursday, 3 October 2019

3,2,1… Take Off!

By Sonia Marques

The time has finally arrived to depart for the USA and before you know it, you will be on the plane on your way to America. The flight is very long, especially if you are flying so far for the first time. This will be the 7th time I am doing this flight and each time it feels like it takes the full 7 months of the season to prepare to do it again after returning home.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when embarking on a long flight:

  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Take a jersey (cardigan) because it could get cold on the plane. 
  • Do regular stretching while on the plane. If the seatbelt sign is on and you are not allowed to get up and walk around, you could do some stretches while sitting, a good exercise is drawing the alphabet with each foot.
  • Even if the food is not so great on the plane, eat something. It is a long time to not have any food in your system and the food at the airport can be pricey. 
  • Keep hydrated.
  • Get to know the person you are seated next to, talking can help the time to go faster and make the journey less lonely.
  • Keep your phone charger in your hand luggage as you can use the charging ports at the airport to contact your family. 
It can be extremely intimidating travelling on your own, or even travelling with people you may not know. In my first season, I was told to look for people with the red “Workaway” folders and I still do this.

There is something very comforting about staying close to people who are experiencing the same array of emotions and going through the same thing as you are. Whenever I am travelling, as soon as I get to the airport, no matter how long my layover is, I make sure I know where my gate is for my next flight. This is helpful, especially when you are in a big airport, like JFK, as some gates are in a completely different terminal.

As hard as it is to say goodbye to your family, leave your comfort zone and travel to the unknown, remember that this is supposed to be fun and that it is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Make the most of it. Some people will never get this opportunity, so grab it with both hands!

“If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said it’d be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.” - Harvey MacKay

With Love, 

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

My American Experience

By Nondumiso Sibanda

My American journey began at Quail Ridge Country Club in November 2018. I was nervous at first as I was in a foreign country away from my family and friends. 

However, when we arrived in the USA, we received such a warm welcome from the Workaway representatives, the country club management and staff. I had the best experience at Quail Ridge Country Club. I learnt a lot about different cuisines, and I met a lot of people from different cultures.

The club’s Christmas party is where I formed friendships with the locals and we even spent Christmas day with a few of them.

We were lucky enough for the country club to have organized an outing to Disney World. The trip was nothing short of amazing. The rides, the castle, the different parks, everything was breathtakingly beautiful. It was a day well spent!

My favourite trip was travelling to Key West. The views, the bars, the food, the shops, and the beach were sublime. Another highlight of my trip was being at the Conch Republic Southernmost Point Continental USA. The whole place is out of this world – I am definitely going back.

I was not going to leave before seeing the famous Miami beach everyone was raving about. The atmosphere and the beach were awesome – the cocktails were not bad either! I also got to see the Clevelander on Ocean Drive, the most hype place to be at apparently.

The season went by so quickly, but it was worth every minute. I came back home for personal reasons, however, I definitely cannot wait to go back for my second season.

My advice for new participants would be to be responsible, work hard, save as much as you can and of course travel and live your best life!

Thursday, 19 September 2019


Let’s talk finances!

Many participants aim to save as much as they can when they are on the Workaway International programme. In fact, we have had many success stories from candidates who went abroad and saved enough money to put a deposit on a house or pay off debt when they return. If this sounds like something you would want, then see how you can make the money you earn, work in your favour…

Set a goal
Have a clear idea of what you are saving for. You could be saving for a deposit on a house, for your dream car or well-deserved vacation. Once you know what you are saving for, then you need to determine how much you can afford to put aside each month.

Keep a budget
Keep a weekly or monthly budget to help you keep track of how much you are earning, saving and spending. A budget also ensures that you have enough money to comfortably see you through the month.

Know your priorities
When you are in the USA, you are there to work and knowing that this is your number one priority, will help limit some expenses such as eating out, entertainment, etc. You should also have a clear understanding of what your needs and wants are. We say, focus on your needs and save the rest.

Do not dip into your savings
Have you ever had money in your account and tempted to use it? We have all had these moments of weakness however, taking money out of your savings completely defeats the purpose. Watch your money grow and accumulate interest instead of decreasing to a very possible, zero balance. Create good money habits for yourself and you will only reap the benefits in the end.

Be consistent
This could be the most difficult and most important tip. Consistency is key to ensuring that your saving journey is a success. Saving does not mean that you cannot enjoy yourself when you are in the USA. It simply means that if you want to plan a trip or something fun, put it in your budget and save up for it, so that you do not end up spending your money frivolously.

Saving is not easy, especially when you are in a different country and want to experience all the amazing tourist attractions and delicious cuisines. However, we encourage you to keep your end goal in mind. Remind yourself how amazing you would feel when you have purchased that car or paid off that debt. The feeling is priceless (excuse the pun)!

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Things to consider before leaving home

By Ernest Siya Gaehler

Yay! Congratulations! You have been accepted on the Workaway International programme. Your contract is signed, VISA is sorted and now you are just a flight away from your new temporary home.

Most participants cannot wait to jet off to the US. While it is exciting to experience new things, participants are not prepared for the little things they will miss at home. I suggest that you enjoy the following while still in South Africa:

If you are a South African, you most definitely love some boerie on the braai. Yes, there is a South African store in Ft Lauderdale but getting to it is easier said than done, so do yourself a favour and savour a few more boeries before you leave.

Most of the popular soda brands are in the USA, but sometimes you just want your favourite thirst quencher and soon realise that only your country sells it. You could pack a bottle in your checked luggage; however, it is important to be aware of the risk of the bottle exploding all over your clothes and goodies.

As a South African, a pie is enjoyed in different ways. An easy snack from the petrol station for lunch, a homemade pie for dinner or the perfect binge meal on the way home from a late night. Be prepared to sacrifice the luxuries of edible pastries and warm food usually found at a petrol station.

If you are a sports fan, it might be very difficult to catch your favourite game as you may be working, and you might not be able to stream it while you are in the USA. Consider using ESPN+ which has a $5 package for a small variety of different sports. This will help a lot but if it is not in your budget then you will, unfortunately, miss this.

Strange, I know! Drinking water from a tap in Florida is not advisable and you will find yourself buying bottled water every two weeks from your local grocery shop. The water is not pricey but not having the simple convenience of opening the tap for a glass of water, will make you miss home.

Another strange thing to miss is hearing a familiar accent. You will be surprised how much joy it brings. Meeting other South Africans from different clubs will most definitely be something to look forward to.

Undeniably, the one thing you will miss most are your loved ones, so make sure you make the most of your time and leave on good terms with everybody you cherish and love!