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David spent last summer on the Work America programme, living up to the 'holiday' part of a working holiday visa in 'vacay' hot-spot Cape Cod!
I worked as a cook in a seafood restaurant in the lower Cape. The restaurant served quality food like lobster and oysters and I was responsible for preparing much of the menu. The kitchen was a very high pressure environment to work in and when things started to get busy during August, I was cooking for upwards of a hundred people a night. Work normally finished quite late but I got on really well with the staff and it also meant I had the chance to hit the beach in the mornings.
I was based in Cape Cod, Massachusetts or more specifically, Wellfleet. Wellfleet is a beautiful town further out in the Cape; the whole area is preserved and it has some amazing glacial ponds and long sandy beaches.
For others wondering where to travel, I would recommend Hyannis, the main town of Cape Cod. It's full of students looking to take advantage of the seasonal work and the nightlife is much livelier than other parts of the cape. The season kicks off on the 4th of July and I would recommend going there before the end of June to have the best chance of landing a good job.
I found my job by phoning around some places on the BUNAC Job Zone. I was late applying and a lot places had already been filled, but one place I rang referred me onto their friends and that was where I found my job. I called and talked for a long time with the owner and she asked me to send her my CV. A week later I received another phone call and I was asked to join them to do manual work around the restaurant and hotel.
Luckily, I arrived just before the restaurant opened for the season and the kitchen was understaffed. I worked for a few nights as a pot wash and by the end I the next week I was working fulltime as a cook!
Later in the season, I moved down to Hyannis and got a maintenance job down there for a few weeks. Going to the Cape without a job is not a huge deal, but you have to be open to the jobs available.
I had accommodation provided as part of my job and employers can generally recommend places to look if there is difficulty. I lived in a small apartment above the restaurant with 6 other students. The place was typical of seasonal accommodation and included a small kitchen with a microwave and oven grill. I didn't spend much time in my apartment; it was much nicer being out in the sun!
The season on the Cape finishes the first week in September and from there I moved up to Boston for a few days. College begins around this time and so Cambridge (the student area of Boston and home to Harvard University!) was starting becoming quite lively. I had a relative who lived in Boston and she was able to guide me around the city.
From there I moved down to Providence, Rhode Island, and then down to New York. New York was the coolest place I visited but it was expensive for me to spend too long there. Following that I traveled to Washington D.C. which is such a historic American city, full of famous buildings from the TV. The Segway tour of the city was great fun and I got to see everything.
From there it was to Atlantic City, the Vegas of the East, to try and win big but unfortunately I'm not the best gambler!
Why Work America?
Many of my friends had been on J-1 programs before me and had told me how good it was. I also wanted to be flexible about where I would go but be able to spend long enough in one place to get to know cities there. It also gives you the opportunity to recoup the money I spent on the programme, and earn more to travel.
To start your own all-American adventure on Work America, or call us on 033 3999 7516.