Emma, 21, from Cardiff Metropolitan University, tells us how Work America made some great friends and an even better boost to her CV back in the UK.
After completely exhausting my Uni loan last year, I thought I had no other choice but to work during the summer. So, after discovering BUNAC and realising I could do both I was thrilled! I soon signed up to their Work America programme and started looking forward lifeguarding in Pennsylvania, USA.
Within hours of landing I was on my way to Starlight Park ready to start lifeguard training on the lake. It turned out to be a jam packed week full of hard work and getting to know the new Aussie/Kiwi/American waterfront staff. You bond with each other so quickly when you have to ‘save’ them from the bottom of a chilly lake and then simulate the kiss of life! An average day would consist of an early wake up for an equipment and safety check and then prepare for the sun-seeking families to arrive. I can honestly say that spending your days sunning yourself on the dock (and keeping one eye out for any drowners!!) is not too bad at all. If you’re reading this and thinking that you’re not sure you’ll be strong/fit/confident enough then I can reassure you that I had exactly the same worries... and so did everyone else when I arrived! As long as you’re up for a challenge, love the outdoors and like a bit of an adventure then you can do it too!!
In a nutshell, I had THE best summer of my life! Fireworks over the lake on the 4th of July, wakeboarding, beer pong, American football, square dancing – all things USA! My personal highlight has to be road tripping around all the College towns in a 1976 Chevrolet Van with seven Aussies after my contract was up! We partied with the fraternities in Kansas, went sightseeing in New York, ate far too much funnel cake at Ohio State Fair and saw the Tennessee Titans play in St Louis… I definitely don’t regret extending my flights for that. As cheesy as it sounds, that time I spent getting to know so many charismatic and unforgettable people, from all over the world was an incredible experience and I can happily say that, a year on, many of them are lifelong friends that I have kept in contact with, and who I have seen whenever I’ve had the chance.
Apart from all the great friends you gain and the amazing confidence boost you get…the work and life experiences also look great on your CV. I’ve found that employers always want to know when you’ve had to react in a high pressure situation or express your leadership skills, and now I’ve got plenty from being responsible for people’s lives!!
When the time came to go home, I was so sad get back to the everyday routine and face Uni work and now I often dream of going back. So if you, like me, are feeling bittersweet about leaving Uni and you want to avoid spending your summer with the rents, then I’d definitely recommend contacting BUNAC about the opportunities of working abroad!
If you're interested in taking part in the Work America programme, give us a call on 020 7870 9570 or you can request a call back from one of the team.