For anyone who's been, you'll know a 2 weeks holiday in America is not enough! And it wasn't for Fran who, after her first taste of the States, couldn't wait to get back out there for a whole summer on Work America! This time she's heading to Ocean City, Maryland, to work at Trimper's Rides theme park!
How did you find out about BUNAC?
I found out about BUNAC through Googling 'student travel programmes' and BUNAC looked to be the most reliable and established company. Only after I'd booked on to the programme did BUNAC start to crop up at uni fairs etc!
Why Work America?
I knew I wanted to spend my summer in America; I'd visited New England and Florida while on holiday, however I really wanted to experience living there for a longer period. I originally had my sights set on California, as do so many people, but after looking over the Job Zone I realised how many options were open to me!
Had you been planning your trip for a while or was it a spur of the moment decision?
After spending my previous summer doing absolutely nothing constructive with my time, I made the decision to do something exciting for the next one. As soon as I saw BUNAC’s Work America I knew that was what I wanted to do. Saying that, I didn't really think about the reality of it until I'd paid my registration fee, as I knew that if I did I'd probably back out! Book now, worry later! I don't think my parents even took it seriously until I'd actually done it!
How did you find the Job Zone? Easy to use?
The Job Zone was really useful as the jobs were broken up by location so I could glance at the places I wanted to go and take it from there.
What is your job and where?
I'll be working at Trimper's Rides of Ocean City, an amusement park in Maryland. I wasn't sure about Maryland at first because I didn't know much about it and I hadn't considered the East Coast, apart from the New York area. I'll be working as a games cashier which doesn't sound overly glamorous but from what I've heard it's great as there're so many students working in Ocean City, which is what's most important to me.
How did you choose which jobs to apply for?
When I first started applying for jobs, I was really set on going to New York or the West Coast, as many students do. But it was really important to me that I'd be working with a lot of other students. I knew I wanted accommodation to be provided though, and I didn't want to be too far from New York in case I opted for the Group Flight.
How many jobs did you apply for?
I applied for ten jobs initially, mostly before Christmas. I knew that if I applied for loads then there was more of a chance of me getting offers, even if they were from places I hadn't really considered going. It's better not to be selective and then at least you know you'll have a range of options.
And how many did you get replies from?
I received replies from four employers. A couple offered me a job straight away and two asked me for further information. I still hounded the ones who hadn't replied and they emailed me to say they hadn't begun the recruitment process yet. I got rejected from one employer and one offered me a job as a lifeguard, but by the time I’d emailed them back to accept it they'd filled all the positions! When I received the offer from Trimper's I snapped it up as it was in a really great location and they hire lots of students, so I knew it would be ideal!
So far does the programme differ from what you expected?
Not really! BUNAC were really clear about what the programme entails before I signed up so I knew what I was letting myself in for. However the reality of going to the USA on my own is starting to sink in now!
Have you arranged accommodation?
Luckily, Trimper's have offered me accommodation - dorm-style apartments with other students. I'm not expecting luxury but it'll be good to live with other people who are doing a similar thing!
The Interview process
I didn't actually have an interview with Trimper's, but I presume they saw from my CV that I was quite pro-active and liked getting out there and doing things which is always a positive! I didn't have any specific work experience for amusement parks but I had plenty of customer service experience which is the most important thing to them.
What are you looking forward to most?
Seeing America! I love travelling and experiencing new places so being seeing New York, living in Maryland and then travelling after will be amazing. I haven't made any plans for post-placement travel yet but I'm hoping to meet people while I'm there who will be up for a bit of sightseeing!
Going alone or going with a friend?
I made the decision to go alone because I knew that if I did, I would gain so much independence and make so many new friends.
When do you leave?
My flight is on the 15th June, which is just a week after I finish my exams, so I won't have much time to prepare! I know I'll just want to get out there once I finish anyway so I wouldn't have left it any later!
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