Mihaela Gavrila 2014I just want to share a little something with you: yesterday a member at the club where I am in Deal, New Jersey, asked me: “Did you fall in love in Miami?” And I said, “Yes! With the city, the perfect weather, the turquoise ocean, the palm trees, the beautiful life, with the place where you can never be upset or angry. I fell in love with everyone I met there, all the people I knew and the ones that I just saw on the street, at the supermarket, on the beach or anywhere I went.” This is just one of the parts of going in an international internship. I am so grateful for all the opportunities that I had and the ones that I will have in the future. I don’t think I’m lucky, but for sure I am blessed. I’m in love with my life! Once I learned how to have a positive attitude towards everything I encounter, I started to have a happy and healthy life. I strongly believe that I made the right choice in life when I chose to be a Hospitality Student. The immensity of this industry is overwhelming and maybe I don’t know what I’m going to be five years from now, but I’m pretty sure that I will find something that will make me happy, because this is one of the most important things in life. Now I just want to live my American Dream, be happy with the club, my friends and with who I am right now, because this time will never come back. Mihaela Gavrila 2014 American Hotel Academy student (Romania)
Steff Kidd, 2014I am loving Woodway Country Club – you couldn’t have picked a better club for me. I have become best of friends with my new roomie within one week! This club is an amazing organization with great managers, staff and members. We have been getting randomly upset lately because we know our time in America is nearly up. I am going to cry through the whole the plane journey home, but I guess everything good comes to an end! I was so nervous for months before arriving in America. Looking back, that was so stupid. I have met the best friends here. We girls are all very different, but we had an instant click and have shared a great many memories! I can’t wait to go to Belfast to see them! I learnt a lot about myself in Florida and brought that knowledge up north with me. Everything just got better and better through the year and there is so much I will take with me for my future. The places I have seen in the last year are unbelievable. To name a few… Miami, West Palm Beach, the Everglades, Key West, a Miami Heat basketball game, a Miami Marlins baseball game, Universal Studios, Walt Disney World, Busch Gardens, a Bahamas cruise, Las Vegas, New York, Boston, Jay Z and Beyoncé in concert. We still hope to get to Six Flags, see the Mets play, Niagara Falls, and Washington, D.C. Anybody hesitating to have this experience is crazy. Getting away from England for this long period has been the best thing for me and I now plan to go to Thailand. I can’t thank you enough for all your help and for taking care of me. I cannot quite believe how quickly my time in America has gone, this has been the best year of my life without a doubt and I recommend it to anybody! Thank you for everything.
Sophie Buckley, ManchesterI would definitely recommend this experience to everybody who has the opportunity to do it. At first, I was very nervous about being so far away from home and all by myself. I didn’t know a single person when I came out here, which was very scary and at times I wondered why I was doing this! But it has been the best experience I have ever had – and at the time of writing, I’m only five months into it. I have gained so much confidence, I still can’t believe I am here. It is like a dream. I have met so many people and I know I will remain friends with many of them. You get to meet people from all over the world, of all different ages, and it really opens your eyes to the diversity of our world! I have gained so much work experience; I’m confident now to go home and apply for any job, because I have the professional knowledge and experience. But I also know a lot more about culture and how to interact with people. I can’t express how glad I am that I took this opportunity and how grateful I am that Rasheeda gave me this chance to prove myself. I would recommend that any student jump at the opportunity, because I have learnt so much and I am having the time of my life.
Ellis Baron Jones, 2013I have had the most incredible experience here in America and I want to thank BSG greatly for making this journey possible! It is hard to find the words to both express how incredible this year has been and how thankful I am to you. To say this year has changed my life would not be an exaggeration in the slightest! I am sure this is not the end of my American adventure, I already have plans to spend Thanksgiving in New York, so we shall see what the future holds!
Steph McEvoy 2013When we first met Rasheeda at university, she talked about how much doing an internship would change us as a person and turn the friends we met into our family. I liked the idea, but didn’t fully believe. After a year in America, it is 100% true. I applied for the internship with three other girls from Uni, and at the Orientation Day in London, we met two other girls from a university in Portsmouth. Over the summer leading up to America, we spoke to each other quite a lot and decided to live together when we got to Florida. The six of us have been inseparable ever since. Florida was a bit of a shock at first. We started working straight away and the training was intense, but we made friends from all over the world: South Africa, Ireland, Romania. The training and work, although hard, was always fun. Our accommodation in Florida was amazing. We had a balcony overlooking a lake and a communal pool to use on our days off. There were around 30 of us living in the complex, all working as interns at the club. The club provided transport for us to and from work, and after work we all went on nights out together, hiring limos and party buses, as this was cheaper than taxis. Around busy periods, such as Christmas and holidays, the hours were quite hard and tiring, but everyone being together helped. I won’t say the job was easy, because it wasn’t, but having the right attitude and being motivated definitely helps. We did six months in Florida and were devastated when it came time to move on to New Jersey. It was so sad to leave all our new family and we thought we’d never be able to settle into another club. I know it was difficult to find a club that would keep the six of us together and we’re so so so grateful that BSG managed it. The six of us decided to drive from Florida to New Jersey over five days. It was a 25-hour drive and we stopped in so many different states and got to experience loads of new places and cultures different from Florida. The trip was so much fun. Arriving in New Jersey, we thought we’d had all the training we needed at St. Andrews Country Club and expected the job to be a breeze, but it was completely different. We struggled at first to settle in and get used to the new way that things worked. It was also hard to get used to there being fewer interns to work with, as it was a much smaller club. Although the six of us were together, at first we felt a bit lonely. As Rasheeda had said though, within a few weeks, we were completely settled, with new friends, and enjoying the job. New York was 20 minutes away on a bus, and we made the most of this at every opportunity. When we first got there, we were in the city at least three times a week: on nights out, in the mornings before work, and on our days off. We met our friends from Florida in the city regularly as well, even though they had gone to different clubs up north. We made more friends in New Jersey, in and outside of the club, and ended up with quite a large group of friends again. The members at our club up north were a lot more easygoing than in Florida and very interested in us and our internships. We became quite close to a lot of the members. We didn’t think our experience up north would ever compare to Florida, but we were just as sad to leave and are already considering going back when we graduate. None of this would have been possible without Rasheeda and BSG. Thank you for the best year EVER!
Carys Browning – Sheffield Hallam University – 2019Professional Experience Before moving to America I already had a wealth of F&B experience as I had worked in Pubs, restaurants and cafes. However, nothing I had done before in the UK, came close to what I was to experience in the US. At first it was very daunting, things got stripped back to basics, which at the time I can remember thinking, why am I sitting in a classroom, being taught how to take orders and learning the menu off by heart (Yes menu tests were a thing in our club before you could even start on the floor.) But honestly, without that ‘classroom’ time, I definitely would have struggled. It helped me work in a way which was efficient so that I had more time to interact with the members and also more effectively. It also made me realise the importance of understanding the food menus and the dishes fully, we done a lot of food tastings so that whenever we got questions about the dish you could give them a genuine response as you had tasted it. Short-hand, if you don’t know it, learn it, and if you do, make sure it’s simple! This is a life saver, forever having to write down ‘NO TOMATO, LETTUCE, ONION’ will not only take forever, but the chef will not be your friend! The high standards that are instilled in you from the beginning, will never leave! Not only do you do you bring these into your work life, they are also in your personal life. You become more aware when eating out as to how the operation is run, how well the person is serving you, the way the food is served! It engulfs your life, but in the most amazing way possible. Although I have taken a different direction in my career and have moved out of the hospitality business and into Marketing (Although I do F&B marketing), America helped me get there. I am currently been living in Dubai and have been for the past 2 years, but it was my experience in America that got me here! Without it, I definitely don’t think I’d be in a job that I love doing in a city like Dubai! Personal Experience Here comes the cliché, you do not return the same person that steps on the plane! My mum was the first person to say this and I have to agree with her! Before I left for America, I was studying at Sheffield, which from where I live is a 4-hour drive, so was used to going without seeing my family for a couple months at a time, so the thought of moving 9 hours on a plane was daunting, but how exciting! I can remember listening to people who had been to America with BSG and them being ‘cliché’ saying, it will be the best year of your life, you will make friends forever and it will change you..bla bla.. the usual cliché stuff. But honestly it is so true! Although the work is hard, and at times you are working ridiculous hours a week, with no sleep, this is where you lean on the people you went with and they become your family! You are all in the same boat, so you bond over this incredible experience, I still keep in touch with the three girls I shared an apartment with and we are all meeting in the summer at one of the girls wedding! Not only do you meet different people from the UK, you meet different people globally! You learn about different cultures, languages and its incredible. This has definitely helped me adapt to living in Dubai, due to the diversity of cultures that not only are in the company I work for, but the place as a whole! I can honestly say that working in America completely changed my outlook on everything and changed me as a person (cliché) It made me realise that it’s good to step out of your comfort zone every now and again, if it wasn’t for America, I would not have got on the plane to Dubai in 2017 without knowing a single person! It was one of the best years of my life, it’s been 4/5 years since I went and I still to this day talk about my experience to people and they are amazed. If you are set about going, amazing, I am so jealous and excited for you to get to experience what I did. If you are unsure, go for it! It’s only a year of your life, and I guarantee you will love every second and wonder why you were ever unsure.
Michael Smyth, BelfastI love the people I was with at Broken Sound Club. Everyone was friendly and even when you are sad and feel homesick, they were always there for you. In relation to the club, it is amazing to see all the different events that go on. I was privileged enough to experience a bar mitzvah, which was great fun, and on New Year’s, even though I was working, I still had an amazing time, because I got to see it in with my new friends. We have become so close, these people feel like your second family. I would recommend doing a placement out here because you learn so much about yourself, more than anything. You learn that you can get through anything, and that even if you go to Florida not knowing anybody, you will still make friends quickly and it will turn into the best months of your life.
Kimberley HammondsI can tell all year-two students that from my own experience, coming to intern in America is the best decision I ever made. The training is simple and straightforward, but can be hard at times. However, the friends and lifestyle here are fantastic. After being here for only four months, I already don’t want to go home. The people you are with night and day become your family and friends. The nightlife is great, and on days off you can explore outside of Boca Raton. So far, my housemates and I have been to the Everglades, shopping malls, a basketball game, college football game, and we even rented a car to drive to Orlando to spend the day at Universal Studios and go on all the rides. I cannot begin to recommend coming to America strongly enough; it is an incredible opportunity that you will benefit from for the rest of your life, no matter what job, role or position you are in. I promise this experience will stand by you forever.
Kathryn Glasgow 2012I keep reminiscing about my time in Greenwich, which was one of the best times of my life. It was such a treat to work there with such fantastic people, and I have Butler Search Group to thank for the experience.
Danny McGee, 2015My placement in America not only exceeded my expectations, but opened up the door of global opportunity to me. Yes, we can all agree it’s scary coming out to America; for some, like myself, it was the first time outside of Europe. I spent four months in New Jersey, meeting people from Ireland, Liverpool, London and Poland. We all were nervous about meeting one another, but we quickly became a family. I spent eight months in Florida, where I made lifelong friendships with people from England, South Africa, Bulgaria and Argentina…not to forget Americans.Another instance where we became a family and I enjoyed all of it. On the professional side, this year has helped structure me towards what I wish to achieve in life and my personal growth and maturity levels dramatically increased! Frank and Rasheeda are two of the most caring and generous people I met. They will help you with any issues and queries. One final point is what my mum and dad said to me when I was deciding about America: They said, “jump at the opportunity!” To future students, best of luck to you on your placement experience.