Zoe Ball, 21, from Essex has been living it up Stateside for the past few months on the Work America programme.
I was near approaching the end of my second year at uni and the thought of spending another summer living and working at home really didn't appeal; so I decided to take the plunge and spent the summer working in America instead. BUNAC assisted me in obtaining my J1 visa and it was such a relief to have a reassuring voice at the end of the phone every time I started to panic! They also serve as your first point of contact when you arrive in the US. As I was quite late to apply for Work America I had no fixed destination! This seemed a bit of a daunting prospect initially but I think the freedom is what I loved. So, for me, my first priority was to find other like-minded travellers who were in a similar situation.
I joined BUNAC's Facebook page and it seemed that there were a lot of people who didn't have prearranged work. I met up with 2 girls and we decided to head to Ocean City, Maryland where we had heard there were an abundance of seasonal jobs available. It was a massive advantage having an English accent and I managed to secure a job on my first day in OC!
I worked in a beachwear clothing store right on the boardwalk. Over the next few weeks, more BUNACers joined us and there were 6 of us living in an apartment, along with a few other international students. There were loads of students living in close proximity, so after we finished work we generally all tended to chill out on the balcony and drink out of red cups!
Luckily for me, I managed to meet a group of BUNACers through the Facebook page who were in a similar position to myself. We all met up and moved down to Ocean City, Maryland where we have spent the summer living together and working. Since then I have completely fallen in love with the place - I'm having the best summer ever!
On my days off I tried to get out and about and see a bit more of America! For example, I visited Washington DC, Baltimore and Assateague Island.
At the end of the summer I travelled to Florida and to California. I really had THE best time of my life and to anyone having doubts my main advice is JUST DO IT! You will have the best summer of your life!
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Work America opens in Autumn for the following summer.
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