Jules spent 4 months working on the idyllic island of Oahu in Hawaii on BUNAC's Work America programme. She used her customer service experience to land her a role as a receptionist in a hotel. She shares her experience with us...
If someone had told me a few years ago I would spend a summer living and working on a Hawaiian Island I would never have believed them. But thanks to BUNAC's Work American programme that is exactly what I did!
I found a job as a receptionist on the island of Oahu, in the tourist resort of Waikiki. After emailing back and forth extensively with my employer and a skype interview to secure the position, I booked my ticket. On the plane over I remember mumbling these place names to myself, trying to work out how to pronounce them and worrying I'd never get them right. Three months later they flew off my tongue like I was Kama'āina (a local)!
The company I was working for provided accommodation for employees for a small weekly fee, which I was very grateful for since rents in Hawaii are extremely high. I shared a room with another receptionist who was from Columbia and there were also employees from Spain, Prague and America working there. Before I flew out I had been nervous about finding it hard to make friends since I didn't know how many other seasonal workers would be on the island, but this turned out to not be a problem at all! The main area of employment in Hawaii is tourism so I found myself spending time with people from all over the world. Since we were all seasonal workers we shared the desire to see as much of Hawaii as possible on the cheapest budget possible which led to some crazy adventures! Luckily Hawaii is known for its beautiful beaches and incredible hikes, which we could experience for free! During my three months in there I hiked an active Volcano, swam with sea turtles, jumped off waterfalls and bathed in natural rock pools.
Since my shifts were from 4pm until 11pm five days a week, I had plenty of time to explore everything Hawaii had to offer. One goal I had when I found out I was going to be spending three months in Hawaii was to learn to surf. Waikiki is known for its warm waters and manageable waves so is the ideal place to learn. Every morning I would wake up, change into my bikini, grab the surfboard that my employers let me use for free and head straight down to the ocean to catch some waves. During those early morning surf sessions, I sometimes had to remind myself that this was real and not a dream. Hawaii will always hold a special place in my heart and I would never have travelled there were it not for Work America. I got to see a completely different side to island life living and working in the community as oppose to visiting as a tourist and I would not change my experience for the world.
Has Jules' experience inspired you to kick start your Work America adventure? This programme is exclusive to uni students, give us a call on 033 3999 7516 and we can help you plan your trip!