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!
MikeThe most unexpected result of this experience is how much I have changed. I was unable to go to the Orientation in London, so I was very nervous about meeting the new people I would be spending the next year with. (I advise everyone to attend the Orientation, if possible.) As it turned out, I was with so many amazing people, from all over the world, who are now my friends. I’ve matured, I’ve learnt SO much in and out of the club, and become a better person. I’m more confident, have got a very impressive new addon to my CV, and have met so many people that I will always stay in contact with and most definitely see again. Just generally, I’ve developed as a person. I’d just like to thank you so much for the amazing opportunity you gave me, and I can really see just how much this year has really changed me for the better. It’s been THE best thing I’ve ever done.
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.
Jamie Fee, BelfastI can safely say that making the decision to come to sunny Florida is the best decision I have made and should be an easy decision for you! I came out here with very little experience, so don’t let that stop you. The hours are long, it’s not all sun and fun – but the lifestyle you get to enjoy and the experience you gain is priceless. Don’t be afraid to come out here by yourself. I did and it was daunting, but now I have made lifelong friends. I hope this encourages you to come for the experience, as I can’t recommend it enough!
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.
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.
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.
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)
Nayim Galeb, 2013 – Huddersfield UniversityThis program was really helpful for me. I did have theoretical knowledge before I came here, but after I joined Pine Tree Golf Club, I got the greatest opportunity to learn about the golf business and management, while gaining loads of practical experience. Pine Tree management staff has taught me how to use my theoretical knowledge and past experience in practical work, and also how to manage members and function well within a team. I have also had the chance to meet many new people from different countries and make new friends who are going to remain friends for life. It is a great experience for me and for my future career. Thanks again for giving me a great opportunity. Butler Search Group rocks!
Nicole McKnight 2015Every time someone asks me how my time was in America, the one word that comes to mind is “amazing”. I was so nervous ahead of time, and didn’t think I would even get on the plane, but I am so happy that I did. You will learn so much about the business and about yourself. I met friends for life and I got to travel around America. I would recommend anyone to go… it was so surreal at first and the best experience. I miss it and the people so much already!