Scott, from Glasgow, found his first working abroad adventure a breeze with Work America.
The idea to travel and to break out of my comfort zone came to me while I was holidaying in Spain with friends at the age of 18. From that point it developed into a longing that I found myself unable to shake off and which made the prospect of organising yet another sun, sea and sangria extravaganza pretty much unbearable. It was after days of wondering where to begin organising a trip that didn’t come complete with an all-inclusive wrist-band that I came across BUNAC and found out that my long-harboured dream of travelling to America might not be as difficult to realise as I had imagined!
The Work America programme first attracted me with its opportunity to live – not just spend time – in a country that had been tugging at the straps of my suitcase ever since I had first sat down with Rachel, Chandler and co. in Monica’s airy Manhattan loft! However, what really sealed the deal was the assistance that BUNAC promised to provide to travelling novices like myself in our search for employment, accommodation and that all-important US visa.
THE JOB HUNT
Finding a job 6000 miles away was, thanks to BUNAC’s Job Zone, as easy, if not easier, than what it would have been to track down summer employment in the UK. Any fears that I had about finding accommodation were similarly laid to rest by the fact that many employers were able to lease a room in a nearby apartment. By applying early to plenty of listings, I was able to remain relatively confident that I’d be able to secure both a contract and place to rest my head before I’d even hit the tarmac at JFK!
Four months before I left the UK, my hard work paid off and I was offered two jobs (with accommodation) within days of one another. Grappling with the choice of accepting a position in either an ice cream parlour in Martha’s Vineyard or in a souvenir store in California was perhaps the toughest aspect of my entire BUNAC experience, but when it comes down to it, you just can’t stop a boy from California dreaming!
I boarded my BUNAC flight to New York on the 10th of June, bound thereafter for Catalina Island, 26 miles off the coast of Los Angeles to start my new job at Island Ventures retail store. I had an initial three-night stay in the Big Apple to ease me into a world where the burgers are as super-sized as the buildings and it was for this reason that I was incredibly happy to have opted to purchase BUNAC flight package. It meant that my first night’s accommodation in New York was arranged and that I’d be given all the information and help I needed before I embarked on the second leg of my trip; the second, and possibly biggest, benefit was that I had new-found buddies to go sight-seeing with by the time I arrived…and, believe me, it takes more than one person to get through a New York-sized pizza!
NEW HOME, NEW FRIENDS
Three days and a world away, I arrived in California; what I’d ultimately been waiting for since pressing ‘send’ on that application months before. I was taken to a house just a stones’ throw from the beach; my home for the next three months of my contact.
I shared with two other BUNAC participants and worked in a team of around 15 people, most of whom had travelled to work there from overseas. The work was fun, the lunch hours were sun-filled, and all my evenings and weekends were spent with a group of people who quickly became as close and familiar to me as anyone I had left back at home. I immediately found that making connections with other BUNACers, as well as the local people, was just the easiest, most natural process in the world and it was all undoubtedly made a million times easier by the fact that Americans are some of the most accommodating people you could imagine!
My many friendships, formed in what felt like the shortest 3 months of my life, extended into my month of travel around a country you’d most likely need about 10 years to fully explore! With my pockets lined with all that I’d saved from three months’ worth of wages, I became, without realising it, that wide-eyed, tanned figure that had seemed so alien before I’d set out on my journey, and travelled to San Francisco, L.A., Washington and Boston before going right back to New York City.
I boarded my flight back to Heathrow, I realised that I had well and truly left my heart In San Francisco…and Catalina…and Boston…and New York…and in that pizza restaurant on 34th street, and that strapping on a back-pack and travelling meant finding a new home, rather than leaving your old one behind.
To start your own American adventure, check out Work America for information on visa, flights, access to the JobZone and much more! Or call one of our travel advisors on 0207 870 9570.