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.
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.
Jaleesa Wilson, 2014Florida is such an amazing state and I had such an incredible time; I just miss it so much. Rasheeda, I know you thought this ‘London Girl’ was going to struggle in Florida, but honestly I think of it as my second home. I keep thinking about Florida every day! I am forever grateful for this opportunity and all the doors this will open in the future
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!
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!
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.
Harriett Gibbons 2015I can honestly say I am having the absolute time of my life here and at St. Andrews Country Club. I love everything about America, including our apartment, the people, Boca Raton, Florida… the list goes on. This may sound odd but I actually really enjoy going into the club each day! Even the double shifts don’t seem that hard to do. The club experience has proven that this is the industry for me. Everyone at work is just great, and some of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life and I’m already dreading the day I have to say goodbye to everyone. St Andrews has now opened up the new Lakeside restaurant and I’ve been selected to work there. I am amazed at the amount of things I’ve learnt so far; they’ve taught us SO much in such a short space of time. The attention to detail in fine dining is unreal here at St. Andrews, and I already know when I go back to the UK I’ll be ahead of the game, as the service standards in America are lots better than back home. I could go on forever but I just wanted to say thank you for this whole experience. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I will cherish it forever.
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.
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.
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.