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.
Nicole Bateman, 2012The best part of this experience was being independent in such a great country. I’ve always had a passion for travelling and meeting new people is my way of life. I will never forget all the fantastic friends I made both at the club and in my social life. Being able to get to know club members and club managers who take an actual interest in your life and future is a great opportunity to discover links to different industries. Never having been in a full time situation for a whole year, this is helped me build skills that I will need in my career. I know I can be a strong leader and I am very self motivated. This experience enhanced my confidence and ability to push myself to achieve my goals.
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.
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.
Adam Walsh, 2013As I look at my experience coming to work in America through Butler Search Group (BSG), I think the members and management at the club have been absolutely fantastic. Sometimes I think the long hours we work can be punishing, but seeing a nice paycheck after 60-70 hours is great. It makes us all feel like we are entering the “real world” now, which is perfect at my age. This experience has made me become more mature, not just a bit, but MASSIVELY. I have had to deal with changes and I have learned to make the most of any situation. I am now a better bartender and a more efficient server, which will help me as I move on in my career. I now have friends from America, England, Ireland, Turkey, Poland, etc., so it has been beneficial not only from the working aspect, but the social side too. To be honest, I really want to come back to America after I graduate as I have never been happier! This has been a once in a lifetime opportunity. I have gained an insight into the American culture and lifestyle, especially in the hospitality industry. I’ve met a great bunch of people who no doubt will be friends for life. What could be better than gaining knowledge, earning money, and spending every day in the sun.
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.
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.
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.
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!