Student Testimonials

Student Testimonials

Nicole McKnight 2015

Every 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!

Nicole McKnight 2015

Sam Gibbon 2015

I went to America through BSG not knowing what to expect, nervous and hesitant. Now I’m home after finishing my year, and I can look back
and see how amazing an opportunity it was. I grew as a person and I experienced new and exciting things, but most of all, the year abroad
fueled my ambition for the future. My future goals are now bigger and better than ever and I feel like they are more achievable because of my experiences abroad. Frank and Rasheeda were always there in my times of need, and I have met some lifelong friends from all corners of the globe. I wouldn’t take it back for anything.

Sam Gibbon 2015

Danny McGee, 2015

My 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.

Danny McGee, 2015

Felicity “Flicky” Massy Birch, 2015

Thank 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!

Felicity “Flicky” Massy Birch, 2015

Helen Ravenscourt 2014

The 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!

Helen Ravenscourt 2014

Heidrun Nilsen 2014

My 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.

Heidrun Nilsen 2014

Mihaela Gavrila 2014

I 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)

Mihaela Gavrila 2014

Sebastian Bunford-Jones, 2014

I 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.

Sebastian Bunford-Jones, 2014

Steph McEvoy 2013

When 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!

Steph McEvoy 2013

Gemma Armstrong, 2012

I 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.

Gemma Armstrong, 2012

Kathryn Glasgow 2012

I 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.
Kathryn Glasgow 2012