Chef Stuart Lewis – 2019
I am now Head Chef on board the prestigious motor yacht “Mia Elise”. We charter for $500,000 a week. I cook for the world’s richest at 25 years old. It’s unheard of but I am smashing it. I earn around $17,000 a month depending on gratuity & now own my own Property Management Company in the UK. All of this was made possible because you took a chance on me! I just wanted to let you know that I’ve been able to achieve all of this because of you & Frank, who helped me start my international career and for that I am so grateful – thank you so much. I’m also pushing for the first ever Super Yacht to hold Michelin Star.
Carys Browning – Sheffield Hallam University – 2019
Before moving to America I already had a wealth of F&B experience as I had worked in Pubs, restaurants and cafes. However, nothing I had done before in the UK, came close to what I was to experience in the US. At first it was very daunting, things got stripped back to basics, which at the time I can remember thinking, why am I sitting in a classroom, being taught how to take orders and learning the menu off by heart (Yes menu tests were a thing in our club before you could even start on the floor.) But honestly, without that ‘classroom’ time, I definitely would have struggled. It helped me work in a way which was efficient so that I had more time to interact with the members and also more effectively. It also made me realise the importance of understanding the food menus and the dishes fully, we done a lot of food tastings so that whenever we got questions about the dish you could give them a genuine response as you had tasted it. Short-hand, if you don’t know it, learn it, and if you do, make sure it’s simple! This is a life saver, forever having to write down ‘NO TOMATO, LETTUCE, ONION’ will not only take forever, but the chef will not be your friend!
The high standards that are instilled in you from the beginning, will never leave! Not only do you do you bring these into your work life, they are also in your personal life. You become more aware when eating out as to how the operation is run, how well the person is serving you, the way the food is served! It engulfs your life, but in the most amazing way possible.
Although I have taken a different direction in my career and have moved out of the hospitality business and into Marketing (Although I do F&B marketing), America helped me get there. I am currently been living in Dubai and have been for the past 2 years, but it was my experience in America that got me here! Without it, I definitely don’t think I’d be in a job that I love doing in a city like Dubai!
Here comes the cliché, you do not return the same person that steps on the plane! My mum was the first person to say this and I have to agree with her! Before I left for America, I was studying at Sheffield, which from where I live is a 4-hour drive, so was used to going without seeing my family for a couple months at a time, so the thought of moving 9 hours on a plane was daunting, but how exciting! I can remember listening to people who had been to America with BSG and them being ‘cliché’ saying, it will be the best year of your life, you will make friends forever and it will change you..bla bla.. the usual cliché stuff.
But honestly it is so true! Although the work is hard, and at times you are working ridiculous hours a week, with no sleep, this is where you lean on the people you went with and they become your family! You are all in the same boat, so you bond over this incredible experience, I still keep in touch with the three girls I shared an apartment with and we are all meeting in the summer at one of the girls wedding!
Not only do you meet different people from the UK, you meet different people globally! You learn about different cultures, languages and its incredible. This has definitely helped me adapt to living in Dubai, due to the diversity of cultures that not only are in the company I work for, but the place as a whole!
I can honestly say that working in America completely changed my outlook on everything and changed me as a person (cliché) It made me realise that it’s good to step out of your comfort zone every now and again, if it wasn’t for America, I would not have got on the plane to Dubai in 2017 without knowing a single person!
It was one of the best years of my life, it’s been 4/5 years since I went and I still to this day talk about my experience to people and they are amazed. If you are set about going, amazing, I am so jealous and excited for you to get to experience what I did. If you are unsure, go for it! It’s only a year of your life, and I guarantee you will love every second and wonder why you were ever unsure.
David Mazzucchi 2013
BSG has given me what I can safely say was the best year of my life. I absolutely loved every minute of my time in the US and I couldn’t have imagined a better experience if I tried. What I don’t know is how I was meant to go back to living in the UK after such an amazing year!
Rasheeda, when I was first in touch with you about going over to the US, I remember you forwarded us a few emails from students who had
done the trip and were thanking you for an amazing year. At the time I thought “ahh how soppy! I’ll not be like that!” Well, to be honest, I have never been more devastated to leave somewhere in my life.
I built a nice life in the US over the past year. I have a great group of friends in both New York and Florida, who I would consider as some of the best people I have ever met, so I know I’ll always have an excuse to go back whenever possible. I got to travel and see so much of the country. (You should advise all of your interns to work hard, just for the time off work to go and travel.)
I have learned so much over these 12 months, from simple things like the value of hard work to other things such as where I want my life to head. I couldn’t recommend this experience more to anyone if I tried.
Jaleesa Wilson, 2014
Florida 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
Ellis Baron Jones, 2013
I 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!
Michael Smyth, Belfast
I 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.
Sophie Buckley, Manchester
I 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.
Jack Bowen, 2012 – Bucks University
I 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.
George Tan, 2013
Having an internship in the US has made a big impact on my life. I like to travel and explore a lot. One of my American friends told me this, “YOU NEVER KNOW, UNTIL YOU GO.” Life is a short journey, live your life without any regrets. No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.
The students that I’m with are friendly, and although all of us are from different backgrounds and cultures, we are just like a big family from different places, living in the same place taking care of each other.
Lewis Rainey, Manchester University
This 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.
Harriet AisthorpeI would highly recommend Butler Search Group (BSG) program to students who are looking to do an international placement. Never having any experience within the food and beverage industry before, I went into the job very open minded. Being placed at Broken Sound Club, I wasn’t the only one without experience; everyone was in the same boat. The Club has given me many opportunities in the few months I have been here – I have trained in all different areas, including two Main Dining Rooms, many different events, and at the Front Desk. For people who are open to learning different skills and willing to work hard for a year within the Hospitality or Events Industry, this is the placement for you! Be willing to take every opportunity you can get and grab it with both hands. Also, the Florida lifestyle is not all that bad either!
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.
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!
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.
George Tan, 2013Having an internship in the US has made a big impact on my life. I like to travel and explore a lot. One of my American friends told me this, “YOU NEVER KNOW, UNTIL YOU GO.” Life is a short journey, live your life without any regrets. No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying. The students that I’m with are friendly, and although all of us are from different backgrounds and cultures, we are just like a big family from different places, living in the same place taking care of each other.
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.
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!
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.
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.