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!

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Work hard, play hard!

Sonia Marques

My holiday with my family in Portugal has been nothing short of AMAZING. Being away from home and family for 7 months at a time makes one realize how important and irreplaceable family is and therefore I cherish the quality time I have with my loved ones. However, just like everything else, this too must come to an end, but the memories will last forever. Hopefully, I will be able to save enough and return to Portugal next year.

Once I get home, there is no time to spare, as I will have to get ready to go back to the USA. If you are a new recruit there is no need to worry, as Workaway will host a pre-departure orientation, which explains the entire process. From your visa forms to housing options and some general tips. At the pre-departure orientation, you will also meet people from your city, who will be working with you at your country club. This is a great opportunity to make new friends and meet people who will potentially be travelling with you. 

Many country clubs undergo construction and renovation often during low season. Where I work, Addison Reserve Country Club has just finished building a brand-new lifestyle center and I have the privilege of assisting with opening a new restaurant in this beautiful facility. If you get the opportunity to be on the Workaway International programme, grab it with both hands! You gain so much knowledge about the industry and the international experience will look great on your CV too. 

I am very excited to see what my fourth season at Addison Reserve holds, as each season is unique in its own way and my role as a fourth-time returner will include more responsibility and opportunity for growth.

“Without change, there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.”
~ William Pollard

With Love,