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.
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!
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!
Ciara Dale 2012The best part for me was establishing so many good friendships with all different cultures and nationalities. I also liked the parties and the mischief we got up to during our days and nights off! The trips we were able to make during the end of season, the memories I can take back with me, and the stories I can tell will be with me my whole life. I have benefited hugely from this experience, and now realize I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. I am not afraid of hard work. This whole experience has made me become more confident as a person in a working environment.
Heidrun Nilsen 2014My time in America was an adventure like no other. It’s the hardest I have ever worked in my life, but at the end of it, I left with memories and friends that will last a lifetime – not to mention the experience! It’s a different world out there, and it’s a world you should experience with your own eyes. I am so grateful I got this opportunity and even if you’re not too sure if you want to grab it just yet, all I can say is do it. Go for it with all your heart and soul and I promise – you won’t regret it.
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!
Jack Bowen, 2012 – Bucks UniversityI can’t think of a better place to come to than Harbour Ridge, for the experiences I have had and the people I have met. All the guys from England I met are brilliant, fun to be around, and they have helped make the experience a once in a lifetime opportunity. I wouldn’t change a thing that has happened here. We already have plans for when we are home to take big road trips to see everyone at their universities and a trip to Ireland to see the girls there on St. Patrick’s Day. This experience has made me really find out who I am, and what skills I have to offer in a variety of different areas within F&B and the Golf Operations of a very expensive and exclusive country club. Everybody obviously has had their sad moments where they miss home/family/friends, but we are now so close that everyone here is your family and I will never forget them, even after this experience is over. After all, you won’t be having Christmas day sitting on the beach drinking champagne in England! Again, I would like to thank BSG for all you have done for all of us and hope that some of the students you show this to trust you and take the chance you can offer like I have, because I will always be extremely grateful and recommend this to everybody without even a second’s hesitation.
Lewis Rainey, Manchester UniversityThis experience has meant the world to me and has opened up so many doors to help me in the future. I have already decided to come back to Florida, and been offered a job for when I graduate – a lot more than I could have hoped for. The opportunities within the hospitality industry in the USA are fantastic. I definitely recommend coming over, even if you are not sure, because the way of life, the quality of the training, and the experience are great. This has made a huge impact on my life and has pointed me in the right direction to reach my aspirations and goals. If you like hospitality or that’s where your interests lie, I certainly recommend trying this program, because Florida is an amazing place and you need to take the leap and come here for a year – it will change your life. I can’t imagine how awful it would have been if I had interned back in the UK, now that I know how good coming to the USA really is.
Lucy PaletteI’m back in Bournemouth now, after the best year of my life, and I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity. Originally I planned to spend the whole year at BallenIsles in Florida, but my last-minute decision to go to the Stanwich Club in Greenwich, Connecticut turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made. The two clubs were so different, and the skills I learnt at each were different too. Naturally, I felt apprehensive about leaving Florida, but I loved living so close to the city when I was up north. I’ve met some amazing people over the year and have made friendships for life. My year in America has benefitted me professionally and personally. I am proud to have two country clubs on my résumé, and as a person I have grown in confidence. I am now focusing on finishing my final year at university and I am hoping to return to America to work as soon as I can if this is possible. Thank you again for this unforgettable opportunity.
Michael Owens, Belfast 2013My experience in Florida is one that I definitely wouldn’t trade for anything. I feel like I have learned more here than I would have if I had stayed at home. Broken Sound Club has a very good work ethic and trains you accordingly, meaning you will probably use these skills in your future career and they will definitely help you in whatever you decide to do. It will test your abilities to handle multiple tasks, sometimes all at once, which can be tough, but it becomes so natural in time that you will probably feel as if you can handle anything once you’ve been through it and gained a little experience. As rewarding as it is, you can find yourself putting in up to 60 hours some weeks, and you may have to handle very fussy members who will try to make your life hard at times, but it is all character building and if you are successful, you can probably work anywhere. It is a wonderful experience in which I have learned a lot from the American culture and a place where I have made friends for life who now feel like a family. I would highly recommend this program to anybody, but only if you’re willing to put in the effort, because although its just training, its VERY HARD. If you are a guy, it will require a lot strength, as learning banquets involves a lot of moving of chairs, tables, buffet stations, etc. However, if you have a chance to spend a year in Florida, definitely do it. Rasheeda does a wonderful job of keeping track of your visa process, making sure everything goes to plan and always checks in on you to see how you are getting along, which is great. I feel that this year will definitely benefit my work ethic and how I present myself to future employers.