Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Preparing for the Next Chapter

By Tara Clampett

Wow…I cannot believe we are halfway through the season!

For many of us, this is a confusing time…time to decide whether to go up North for the summer season or to go back home. Many first time participants prefer to go home after their first season in the USA and this is exactly what I did back in 2016. I still remember a South African colleague telling me “Once you get home you’re going to wish that you were still in the USA”…And that is exactly what happened! I believe a lot of the time you return home only to realize how much you have grown over the past 6 months of living and working abroad. Additionally, travel opens up your eyes and you realize that there is so much more out there to see and experience.

This season I plan to go up North again for the summer. As much as I do miss my family and friends back home, I know that in twenty years’ time I will regret it if I don’t take the opportunity and try. The key word here being “try”. As many of you may know positions up North are limited and thus this can be a stressful time as we go through the interview process again. After being the Cape Town recruiter just a few months ago, I have recently been on the opposite side of the interview table again (being the interviewee) and boy, did I get nervous! However a few key points I have learnt through the recent interview process are:

Most important…be YOURSELF!

We all know that first impressions count so remember to smile and give a firm handshake. I am certain that every Country Club is looking for friendly, professional, polite and confident staff and these small gestures will show the interviewers that you possess these qualities.

Prepare beforehand. This means do your research on the Country Club as well as the position you’re applying for. As most summer Country Clubs hire servers, before my interviews I brushed up on my serving knowledge as you never know what questions may be thrown at you.

Have questions ready. Although all interviewers have different styles of interviewing this was the one common question asked in all of my interviews – “Do you have any questions?”. A friend of mine gave good advice and suggested that you think of a few standard questions that you can always ask such as: Are there opportunities for overtime? What are the daily duties of someone in the position you are applying for?

Lastly, try to relax and enjoy the interview. Although when I started my interviews, I was nervous, once I started to relax, I actually enjoyed the interviews (and I never thought I would ever say that). At the end of the day the interviewers are there to get to know you and there is no better feeling than leaving an interview that was more of a conversation and laughs than a series of questions and answers.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Festivities, festivities and more festivities

By Nzuzo Mkhungo

Hey everybody, once again it is me all the way from Florida.

It has been the busiest December of my life! I cannot describe how busy the club is! We had our staff annual Christmas party earlier on in the month and it was amazing. It took place at Frenchman’s Creek Country Club. The employee of the year was announced and a lot of prizes were handed out to the staff. Everyone was dressed to kill and much fun was had by everyone.  

In the short time that I have been here I have made so many friends. Christmas was emotional but having them made me feel a sense of my family being present.
I have also done a lot of shopping including visiting SHOPAHOLIC capital of Palm Beach Gardens: The Gardens Mall.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Adventure is Out There…

By Sonia Marques

So, most people have the perception that America is full of opportunity and experiences and I’m here to tell you that this perception is accurate. In the 3 seasons that I have been on the Workaway program I have experienced things that I could have only dreamed about.

Florida, itself, provides so much adventure.

I would suggest taking a trip to see some of the most beautiful beaches that Florida has to offer, coast-to-coast: such as Fort Lauderdale, Miami South Beach, Naples and Fort Myers.

One of the most amazing experiences for me was jet skiing and parasailing along the Fort Myers coastline, seeing as though I’m usually very afraid of heights, this was one for the books!

If you’re not a fanatic of the sea, there is still plenty to do; you should take a look at the art district in Miami, Wynwood Walls, to see some of the most amazing graffiti and art.

If you’re more of an adrenaline junkie, you should definitely take a trip to Orlando and visit Disney World, Universal Studios and Bush Gardens, where you can ride some of the scariest rollercoasters you could ever imagine.

While you’re in Orlando how does canoeing in natural springs with alligators sound? Yes… you read this right, with alligators!

Key West was one of my favourite places to visit, where I got to see manatees for the first time and feed pelicans by hand. These are some of the clearest waters you will ever witness! After spending the day soaking up the sun, you could experience the nightlife in Key West, which is out of this world and if you didn’t feel like you were on holiday, you would now!

Last but definitely not least, you cannot travel to America and not visit the one and only Big Apple, New York! The first time I really felt like I was in America was when I stood in the middle of Times Square… what a feeling! Riding bicycles along central park, eating Pizza at midnight and let’s not forget M&M World! 

So…what are you waiting for? Adventure is out there!

“A mind that is stretched by new experiences can never go back to its old dimensions”
-          Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

With Love,

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Happy Holidays from the USA

By Tara Clampett

With the festive season in full swing at all the Country Clubs, it can be an exhausting time, mentally and emotionally, but also a very exciting time with lots of fun events taking place at the Country Clubs. I am enjoying experiencing all of the holiday activities taking place at Boca West Country Club…from the beautiful Christmas dinner, Character breakfast, S’mores night and the famous Boca West Carnival and Street Fair. Boca West Country Club really does go above and beyond to entertain the members and their families over the holidays.

Although my work hours are fairly consistent working office hours, I have friends who work in banquets who are working 13 hour shifts with maybe a just few hours of sleep between shifts and they are exhausted! I just keep telling them to think about the end reward…their paycheck and how it will all be worth it when that time comes.

For many first time Workaway participants it may also be an emotional time if it is your first time away from home during the Christmas period…I also still miss my family on Christmas day, especially when they send me photos of their whole Christmas setup…or maybe it’s the food I miss – gammon, malva pudding and mince pies are my three South African Christmas time weaknesses! This year in our apartment complex in Boca we celebrated on Christmas eve with a delicious homemade pasta dish made by one of my Italian friends followed by a taste from home – malva pudding made by a South African friend…it was delicious and it was great to spend time with good friends who make you forget that you are so far from home and remind you that we are lucky to be here in the USA, celebrating together.

So embrace the different cultures, foods, new friends/family that you have found here in the USA and I am sure you will all have a happy holiday season!