Helen Ravenscourt 2014The opportunity to come to America arose as I was about to graduate university. I had a great job as a duty manager in a restaurant, but I definitely wanted more. From a young age, I have always known I wanted to travel and as hard as it was, I had to let go of some concerns to actually live my dream of travelling. Before deciding to come to America, I definitely had doubts. Was it the right path to take after university? Would I miss home and family too much? Would things change too much while I am away? Those were my main concerns, but one thought overpowered all of that, the experience I was going to gain not only in the industry but world knowledge. I decided the best way for me to up my game was to gain knowledge in the industry from another country. And where better to learn hospitality than a country that has a reputation for its fantastic customer service? Homesickness is something that might occur, but it is part of adapting to a new culture, new home and an extended family. The friends I made when I moved to Florida, helped to ease my longing for Liverpool. They became my family; people I went on new adventures with every day off; they were going through the same things as me. I can honestly say that within a few weeks I had settled into my new home, and thought to myself, what was I worried about?! There are people I will never forget, and even now, moving to a new state, we stay in touch and see each other all the time. We spent Christmas together, celebrated birthdays and I intend to carry on the new traditions! It has also truly been an experience to watch my new family grow, from who they were, to the professional, outgoing and fantastic people they are now. Not only have I gained all of that from just seven months so far, I have seen parts of the world I may never get to see again, such as the Florida Keys. Now, being in New York State, we have trips planned to Niagara Falls and Atlantic City. I have learned so much about hospitality and real service, and know that if I were to apply for a managerial role, I would excel in that role, based on everything I have learned here. A degree matters, yes, but my time here has put all the theory I learned into practice. This has been a journey that I will value for the rest of my life, with memories I will not ever forget!
Elizabeth Watson, BelfastThe decision to come to America and train in a country club (Broken Sound Club in Boca Raton, Florida) is the best choice I have made in my life. What could be better than knowing every morning you are waking up to sunshine. Its not always easy and it took time getting used to, but the friendships and the experiencing of a new way of life have been fantastic. If I had my way, I would not go back home. I have made friends from all around the world that will last a lifetime and memories that will last just as long. The right choice for me was Broken Sound and it might the right choice for you.
Sam Gibbon 2015I went to America through BSG not knowing what to expect, nervous and hesitant. Now I’m home after finishing my year, and I can look back and see how amazing an opportunity it was. I grew as a person and I experienced new and exciting things, but most of all, the year abroad fueled my ambition for the future. My future goals are now bigger and better than ever and I feel like they are more achievable because of my experiences abroad. Frank and Rasheeda were always there in my times of need, and I have met some lifelong friends from all corners of the globe. I wouldn’t take it back for anything.
Chef Stuart Lewis – 2019I am now Head Chef on board the prestigious motor yacht “Mia Elise”. We charter for $500,000 a week. I cook for the world’s richest at 25 years old. It’s unheard of but I am smashing it. I earn around $17,000 a month depending on gratuity & now own my own Property Management Company in the UK. All of this was made possible because you took a chance on me! I just wanted to let you know that I’ve been able to achieve all of this because of you & Frank, who helped me start my international career and for that I am so grateful – thank you so much. I’m also pushing for the first ever Super Yacht to hold Michelin Star.
George Tan, 2013Having an internship in the US has made a big impact on my life. I like to travel and explore a lot. One of my American friends told me this, “YOU NEVER KNOW, UNTIL YOU GO.” Life is a short journey, live your life without any regrets. No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying. The students that I’m with are friendly, and although all of us are from different backgrounds and cultures, we are just like a big family from different places, living in the same place taking care of each other.
Gemma Armstrong, 2012I thought that going to America would be a brilliant experience (and I was right), one of those things, that if you don’t take the chance, then you might regret it later on in life. Also, I thought it would be a great way to see how a different culture’s hospitality varies from ours, and how the businesses function over there. But I was a little scared, to be honest. I had never been away from home for longer than two weeks, so it was a little daunting to know that if I got offered a placement in the USA, that I would be away from home and family for a year. Once I arrived, however, I met so many new and charismatic people, not only the other interns I was placed with, but also all the other staff. From that tentative start, I now have some new lifelong friends. I loved getting the chance to experience life in a different country and I also enjoyed learning in the Pastry Department. I understood from Rasheeda that season can get busy, I just never realized exactly how busy it could get. You’re always told that it is a very busy job, but I don’t think you really fully realize it until you actually do it. The result is that I have grown as a person, and gained far more experience and confidence in myself and what I do. I learnt various new things about the hospitality industry and country clubs, and a lot more about pastry in my year.
Sebastian Bunford-Jones, 2014I just wanted to thank you for the year I have had. It is with a heavy heart I leave after a truly exceptional and life-affirming experience. I remember approaching my year in America with trepidation. However, after a week in Florida I knew I had made the right choice. Thank you for placing me in a club with five guys who are now my best friends. We are different people in many ways, but we had an amazing time together and still all keep in contact. Thank you also for facilitating my move north to GlenArbor, a club that really treats its employees with respect and trust. I have had a great time here. The year has flown by and I have had so many memorable experiences. I won’t know what to say when people inevitably ask, “so how was America?” This year is an experience I would recommend to anyone my age. I am looking forward to being back home, but even more looking forward to when I can return to work in the USA. I’m thinking California next… One of the defining moments from this year was enjoying the Jimmy Buffet concert. It was a truly memorable experience that encapsulated the Floridian way of life. I couldn’t have asked for a better cultural experience.
Felicity “Flicky” Massy Birch, 2015Thank you to BSG for bringing me out here! I have met the most amazing people and we have become lifelong friends. This is especially true of the girls I have spent my entire year with, experiencing things and seeing what America has to offer. I have had some great experiences and learnt so much, inside and outside of work. For anyone thinking of doing an experience like this, they certainly won’t regret it. I didn’t realize how much I would learn, not only about the hospitality industry, but also about the American culture. The country clubs are something else, but as much as they are hard work at times, you still have the best time and so much fun with the people you will meet. I’m so glad I did the split program, because New York is an incredible place to be and Connecticut is just beautiful!
David Mazzucchi 2013BSG has given me what I can safely say was the best year of my life. I absolutely loved every minute of my time in the US and I couldn’t have imagined a better experience if I tried. What I don’t know is how I was meant to go back to living in the UK after such an amazing year! Rasheeda, when I was first in touch with you about going over to the US, I remember you forwarded us a few emails from students who had done the trip and were thanking you for an amazing year. At the time I thought “ahh how soppy! I’ll not be like that!” Well, to be honest, I have never been more devastated to leave somewhere in my life. I built a nice life in the US over the past year. I have a great group of friends in both New York and Florida, who I would consider as some of the best people I have ever met, so I know I’ll always have an excuse to go back whenever possible. I got to travel and see so much of the country. (You should advise all of your interns to work hard, just for the time off work to go and travel.) I have learned so much over these 12 months, from simple things like the value of hard work to other things such as where I want my life to head. I couldn’t recommend this experience more to anyone if I tried.
Lisa Calderwood, BelfastFor anyone thinking of coming to America, I cannot recommend it enough. The lifestyle is great, the training isn’t easy and you will have fun on your days off! It has been wonderful to experience a new culture and meet people from all around the world. I can honestly say that I have met lifelong friends and it is marvelous to spend the time training, living and socializing with them. At the start, I was worried about missing home and my family and friends, but once you get here and settle in you realize that everyone is one big family inside and out of the club. It is an amazing opportunity to come here to live and learn in a new environment and I would not change one minute of it. This has been an amazing experience for me so far, from travelling alone for the first time across the world, to experiencing a fantastic and beautiful environment like Broken Sound Club. I have learnt so much, both about the work and about myself and have seen it as an incredible journey. The training can be demanding, but the staff is always there for you if needed. If you are worried about what the job entails don’t be, as you will pick it up very quickly. So far I have made loads of new friends from various countries, including England and Holland, which has really helped me appreciate that there is much more out there for me to understand and explore than my own wee country. Although there is a lot of effort involved in country clubs, I highly recommend it as it is a once in a life time opportunity.