Elizabeth Watson, BelfastThe decision to come to America and train in a country club (Broken Sound Club in Boca Raton, Florida) is the best choice I have made in my life. What could be better than knowing every morning you are waking up to sunshine. Its not always easy and it took time getting used to, but the friendships and the experiencing of a new way of life have been fantastic. If I had my way, I would not go back home. I have made friends from all around the world that will last a lifetime and memories that will last just as long. The right choice for me was Broken Sound and it might the right choice for you.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!