Where will you be interning and for how long?
Placement location depends largely on the timing of each Intern’s availability. The more flexible that is, the more options there are to identify a suitable fit for each individual. Placement locations for both the single 12-month version, or the dual-placement seasonal version are in Florida, Ohio, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
For how long?
The overwhelming majority of placements are for 12 months. Half of these are split between two placements, the other half offering the full year in one location. The contrasts are a broader and deeper opportunity in one place versus the opportunity to experience greater diversity and two locations. A limited number of single-placement opportunities are also available for six to eight months.
All interns earn a stipend during their program. The range of the stipend is $8 to $12 per hour, with overtime (time-and-a-half) rates payable for hours worked in excess of 40 in any given week. Interns are guaranteed a minimum of 32 hours per week.
Housing and transportation
Private clubs take pride in providing very good quality housing. In return, you need to treat the housing the same – or better! – than your own home. When you leave, your housing should be in the same condition it was the day you moved in. Depending on location and situation, housing costs range from $40 to $160 per week. In most Florida situations, students are in club-contracted apartments, where rent ranges from $120 to $160 per week, to include utilities and internet. Most northern state clubs have their own housing, often on property, so it is more a ‘room and board’ fee, ranging from $40 to $70 per week.
Where housing is not within walking distance, most clubs provide transportation from the apartment complex to the club. Others provide bicycles or vouchers for public transport. Either way, it is still your own responsibility to ensure that you get there, and do so on time. If something happens on any given day that prevents you from getting to the Club on time, you need to immediately contact your supervisor (or shift leader) to let them know about the situation – and then figure out how to get there as soon as possible, unless otherwise directed by the manager. Bear in mind that the club is entitled to cancel the remainder of that shift if you are unable to get there on time. The responsibility is yours!
Other than work transport, except in major cities, public transportation around the US can leave much to be desired. To counteract that, many interns have befriended and made deals with a particular taxi driver or van, for day-off travel, including going to a local mall or out after work. Many have ended up wishing that they had strategized more about what beforehand sounded wasteful: investing in a car. By the time they gave it serious thought, they had already spent a small fortune renting cars for day-trips, overnighters and family visits – especially after they factor in the under-25 rates for rent AND insurance… (note: your health insurance does not cover being injured in a rental car accident). What some have done – early on – is to buy “an apartment car”. Do some research on the numbers before you travel. Then, as you settle in at the club, ask about the best ways to get reliable wheels. At the end of the season, if you are on the “split” program, your group already has the means to get to the new club – and you will have sorted out local transportation.
Daily life and responsibilities
What positions do we offer?
The vast majority of BSG’s placements are in Food & Beverage operations – but club Food & Beverage operations is not comparable to Food & Beverage operations in any other situations, the range of dining styles offered, and the extensive variety of events held at clubs.
America is often referred to as a “melting pot” of world cultures, and one of the most exciting parts of your experience is the ability to learn about American culture. Take advantage of this great learning opportunity and enjoy every minute of it. The United States is comprised of a very diverse range of races, religions, music, food and cultures. While the primary language is English, do not be surprised to encounter many people speaking Spanish, French, Creole, German, Italian, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, etc. This is just part of what makes America so remarkable.
Feeling overwhelmed or anxious early in your experience is an entirely normal experience, and is known as “culture shock”. For those who experience this, it often fades as you begin to learn about your new surroundings. It is helpful to become involved in activities and share your thoughts with co-workers who may be experiencing the same thing. If you have trouble adjusting, please feel free to contact one of BSG’s representatives or talk to your supervisor at your Host Organization. No question is ever too small. At the end of the day, remember this is supposed to be a fun experience – and you will get out of the program what you put into it.
Cultural trips by BSG
Cultural experiences are a key component of the J-1 program – although it is likely you will not need to be encouraged to explore America – but far beyond the hot spots of Manhattan, Hollywood, Las Vegas, Orlando, South Beach, etc., America offers a vast canvas of cultural opportunities. Many of them – some less renowned and less obvious than others – will be virtually on your doorstep, ranging from a few miles to a couple of hours away. Simple fun too: an afternoon of beach volleyball; an evening of bowling (no, not lawn bowling!); a softball game with other staff, which, by the way, is the most fun way to learn baseball.
As you will be at the club during their busiest “season”, it is not easy for them to offer planned programs, so in Florida, BSG offers a schedule of events. Typically, these are bus trips with interns from other local clubs, with the clubs usually paying the transportation costs. This past winter, the trips included two shows, plus Busch Gardens, Wet’n Wild, a Miami Heat (basketball) game, a baseball game at Miami’s new stadium and – the biggest hit of the schedule – a daytrip to Kennedy Space Center.
For the winter schedule, BSG’s cultural trip season will conclude with an overnight trip to Key Largo, the southernmost of the Florida Keys, for snorkeling and an amazing, up-close experience learning all about and ultimately swimming with dolphins.
In addition to world-famous attractions, the northern states offer great hiking areas, fascinating vineyards, outdoor concert venues, the other CIA (Culinary Institute of America) and “old America”, in places like Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and Annapolis, Maryland. In July, BSG will visit all of its clubs outside Florida. In the middle of that trip, BSG will offer a great cultural double-header in Manhattan: an afternoon at the 9-11 Memorial & Museum, followed by a tall-sail ship evening cruise around New York Harbor, focusing on the Statue of Liberty.