Sorry for my late post about beginning my life in Florida but that’s me after one month finally settled in after feeling homesick and I wanted to write the post once I was settled. I’ve been really homesick whereas no one else is yet.
I I moved into Mira Flores Apartment complex on the 3rd September with 5 others and love it – it still doesn’t feel like my first home away from my parents but it’ll sink in soon! Being an only child and never having to share a room it is difficult at times living with 5 others but to anyone in the same position- just remember they probably feel the same, everyone needs time alone and when it really matters your flatmates will be there for you. Whether that’s making you food when your drunk, giving you a hug or some well needed advice – they will be there for you. So you’re never alone ❤️
I began my Front Of House Internship as a J-1 BSG intern at Admirals Cove Country Club shortly after moving in to my apartment and to anyone working there in the future (for future BSG interns), the pictures on their website don’t do it justice. It is incredible. All the staff and members are so welcoming and wonderful. Two weeks of training is intense, I even started drinking coffee to get me through the day at times. But Kara does make it fun with games and a points system for prizes! A tip: study nightly!! There is an exam which you have to pass, as long as you study nightly and listen during training it will be easy. Training will tell you what is acceptable regarding hair and makeup- no fake eyelashes, fake nails, ‘dolled up’ makeup or messy buns. We’ve been fortunate as we’ve been able to pick our home departments within F&B, so I chose banquets as that’s where my experience and passion is and the opportunities you will be presented with are amazing. So far I have worked at a memorial and organised the storage for the season ahead but it’s only my first week in banquets. I also worked at a Friday night Bayside Grille dinner service which is the fine dining restaurant at Admirals Cove. I couldn’t recommend volunteering yourself for a shift whilst still in training enough. It put all our knowledge into practice, allowed us to meet the members, understand how Bayside Grille operates and build good working relationships with our colleagues. The person I was shadowing was an absolute pleasure to work with and even encouraged me to take orders and deal with tables myself when I was only there to shadow, clear plates and get sodas. My tip for anyone in the hospitality industry: smile, stay positive, drink coffee and stay professional even back of house. Hard work will pay off and the hospitality industry, especially events isn’t easy but it is rewarding.
I am finally adjusting to Florida life, I’m still a Glasgow girl at heart but America has so much to offer. If you have any questions please ask, I love to hear feedback!!
My next posts will be about Universal Studios and Fort Lauderdale.
The pictures below are: left – the harbour view from Upper Lounge, right – the J-1 BSG Interns for Admirals Cove 2016/2017.
Hi guys, some of you might know that I recently moved to Connecticut after completing my 8 months in Florida! So I decided to make my first trip to NYC to say my final goodbyes to two of my old roommates who were flying back to Austria.
I arrived in Grand Central station very intimated- big city and all that! – and someone grabbed me to try and steal my handbag. It was not a good way to start my trip so I wouldn’t recommend females to travel alone as I was a wee bit shook up by it!! But luckily my hotel was in Times Square and it was a lovely area to be in so I felt safe once I got to my hotel. New York City is such a big and beautiful place with so much to offer so two days really wasn’t long enough to see everything but it was so good to see my girls again! We went to the Brooklyn bridge, Little Italy, Chinatown, Times Square and Soho. I’m looking forward to doing more tourist things next time I go as I mainly shopped, ate and drank! I can’t wait to go back!
So stay posted for more info on NYC 🗽🍎
Not to sound cliche but moving countries, states and living completely independently is massive and you do learn a lot about yourself and grow as a person.
There’s small things you learn like how to do your own laundry, grocery shopping etc. But I’ve learned how to book a holiday and travel by myself without the help of my parents – as we flew from Orlando airport to Newark after our vacation to Disneyworld! That to me was a big thing and stressful as I’ve always had my family to help me around the airport.
You also grow up a lot and realise some things aren’t worth getting hung up on. Don’t say anything and move on because if you get caught up on all the small things it will ruin your time in America. Unfortunately I had to learn this the hard way for a time. It can be irritating living, working and socialising with the same people every day for 8 months – everyone gets cranky eventually! So what helped me get through that is to make friends outside of work. They can also show you different places to hang out as in Florida everyone from all the local country clubs will go to the same place every week. For the clubs around West Palm Beach it’ll be Roxy’s, Dirty Martini, Pawn Shop and Renegades.
Personally I hate being grouped as a J-1 Butler kid as it means that if other people make mistakes your name is included through default. The best advice I can give is to stay professional, don’t gossip (it can be hard but trust me!) and stay true to yourself. I never do things I’m not comfortable with but it is good to push your boundaries and try new things because the culture here is so different to home. I’ve just moved to Connecticut and now listen to Latino music, I’ve tried salsa dancing and I’m trying to learn a little Spanish and French because it’s the languages my new colleagues speak. In Glasgow I wouldn’t have this opportunity so I’m trying to make the most out of this experience!
So this month it’s all about the American experience you have whilst completing your internship compared compared to that you would gain whilst doing placement within the Uk. Personally I can’t advise with this because I’m not at university I graduated college studying Events Management and instead of beginning 3rd year entry to uni I came out here to do an internship at Admirals Cove country club in the banquets department. So I never took part in a placement year as such or know of anyone else’s placement experience for this industry back home.
It is a big decision to move to America for a year with no family or long time friends and it isn’t something you should decide on impulse. It can be scary but you’re only young once and it’s best to experience it whilst you’re young! I’m so glad I came out to Jupiter to live and work I can’t imagine what it would be like at home instead of Florida. I love Glasgow and all my family and friends but it’s important to remember that’ll all still be there when you go home!
But I can tell you the benefits of doing an internship at a country club in America! The benefits are: Learning about new cultures, history, religion, and politics. An example of this would be that I live with four Austrian girls so I hear them speak German often and try to pick up little words. I’ve also learned about the different tribes and traditions in South Africa.
You learn how to be fully independent as you have to rely on yourself more as you have no more Mum and Dad doing everything for you! To me this is a bonus as it makes you appreciate them so much more!!
You have such amazing travelling opportunities on your doorstep with NYC, Cali, Bahamas, Key West, Cuba, Miami, Everglades, Mexico & South America as well as the Caribbean and Canada. Once I complete my internship in FL I’ve booked to go to Disneyworld for 4 days before going to NY and before flying home going to Cancun. These trips are far cheaper doing it from the states than the UK so it’s crazy not to tick some things off the bucket list!
You gain an understanding of how fortunate we are back home in terms of health care, education and in politics/legislation. I think one word sums up what I mean: Trump!!
So this month’s blog post is all about what to expect from your country club! Every club is different of course but the responsibilities and duties will stay the same.
I work in banquets in Admirals Cove and I love it. It puts my knowledge and experience to use and I’m learning how to communicate with the members and guests. Due to working in banquets we have different events on all the time – from weddings, meetings, member events, golf events, bar + bat mitzvahs, memorials, internal training events, anniversary parties and birthday parties. Some weeks can be quiet – nature of the business don’t worry! – but our managers are great that they still give us our 40 hours every week.
I love the nature of events and the opportunity to experience new things and learn. I find restaurant work too routine. But it truly is the work force that makes the job what it is. Your duties such as side station work and ‘shopping’ for silverware (stealing from other departments) isn’t always very exciting but with my banquet girls there it’s always a laugh.
I’m going to make a list for you of the cultural trips I’ve been on and what I’ve still to do and give you some tips if I can!
So far I’ve been to Miami, Fort Lauderdale, the South Florida fair and Universal studios. Due to money and always working/friends with people mainly in the same department then it’s hard to do as many trips as I’d like so I’d recommend doing essentials before you begin work.
From my experience here’s some tips for you:
- Have emergency funds cause Florida isn’t cheap especially the tourist destinations!!
- Always leave early to make the most of the day
- Don’t go light on the sun screen – as a Scot I found this out the hard way!
- Bring two change of clothes and makeup/makeup wipes for Universal cause there are water rides – which you’ll go on a lot to cool down
Cultural things I’ve still to do are:
- Florida keys day trip cruise
- Disney world
- Miami Heat basketball game
- Different areas of Miami + Fort Lauderdale
- Paddleboarding at Jupiter Inlet
- Rapids water park
Once I’ve done these things then I’ll let you all know how I get on!
There is a lot of Latin culture in Florida – restaurants, bars and salsa clubs. I tried my first experience at salsa dancing and absolutely loved it and have tried Brazilian comfort food. In Scotland there isn’t much Latin culture so I really enjoyed getting to see something different and I’d definitely recommend it!
Happy holidays everyone! Spending Christmas in Florida- which was my first Christmas completely without my family- was really difficult. I always try to be as honest as I can in my blog so I’m going to tell you my honest opinion on how I found it.
Thanksgiving I had to work so I didn’t get to celebrate it but it was nice to see so many families coming together to celebrate. Work, however, was very busy! Thanksgiving wasn’t what I’d imagined: I pictured fall colours and winter vibes but I live in Florida so it was sunshine and palm trees.
For Christmas I found it – and am still finding it – really difficult being away from all my family and friends. I miss going Christmas shopping (postage costs a fortune to send to the uk!!), wearing winter clothes and getting into the festive spirit with my family and friends. In Florida it is always hot so it doesn’t feel like Christmas at all. My best friend and I decided to cook a roast chicken dinner and get as close to our traditional British dinner as we could! That really helped me to feel better as watching your friend remove giblets from a chicken whilst drinking a gin & tonic is the funniest/most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen. We never done a secret Santa as we left it too late and we were all working crazy schedules but I think it’s a nice idea. I got a Christmas parcel from home which was really lovely. Inside was a Scotland tshirt, Scotland coasters and keyring and a Glasgow teddy. See a theme here? As well as clothes, jewellery and my Gran’s Christmas tree fairy all the way from Scotland which she’s had since I was a baby. The parcel made me feel closer to home and I did struggle with the home sickness but everyone’s in the same position.
It really helped me being in a team with international managers as they understand how hard it is and can offer advice. Also team banquets are my American family and the patter and daily laughs with them make work so much easier!
I first started my employment at Admirals Cove on the 7th September and there are 5 departments within F&B you can choose to work in – banquets, Blu restaurant (fine dining), Marina Cafe (casual dining and bar), The Fairway Restaurant at Golf Village (fine dining) and the Card Rooms.
Banquets is my home department and I absolutely love it. There’s a different event daily and a great chance to broaden your banquets knowledge. It is more difficult to get to know the members as you don’t serve them weekly like in the other restaurants. Pro’s: free buffet food, working with Flavio + Claudia the banquets managers who will go out of their way to help and support you (they’re both internationals so they understand how difficult things can be), free flowers which is always nice! Con’s: don’t expect holidays off and you will work late nights.
Blu restaurant is the fine dining restaurant in the main clubhouse. The operations behind service are very organised and the managers are very supportive so never be afraid to ask for help. The menu changes weekly but members will always have their favourites and special requests.
Marina cafe is the restaurant facing the pool and the Marina – hence the name – it is extremely busy and the members are very challenging!! It is a much more casual style of service.
The Fairways is the golf village restaurant. It is fine dining but with a casual family atmosphere.
The Card Rooms responsibilities consist of being the attendant and ensuring snacks are stocked up – there is no service as such. Although you’ll have the pleasure of working with Nyaka who is the manager for both the male and female card rooms.
For anyone with hospitality experience Admirals Cove can be a little more challenging – even for me when my experience is in VIP service and hotels. There are rules of speech, greetings and behaviour to be followed which does take time to get used to but it is a really valuable thing for later in your career. Americans do things a little different to home but you just need to learn to adapt! I even had to learn to change my accent and tone down the Glaswegian accent a little as no one could understand me, it’ll change slightly naturally with time due to picking up American phrases. The members are absolutely lovely and so are the managers. Just stay out of trouble and you’ll have an amazing time at Admirals Cove. It is an incredible club and is not to be taken advantage of this great opportunity at one of America’s top 2% of country clubs!!
So I thought I should share some of my new experiences with you guys to let you know it’s not all just work and Netflix! Since living in Florida I’ve had new experiences from wee things like deep cleaning the kitchen, riding on a scooter and learning to live with other people to going salsa dancing and playing beer pong on the beach with locals.
Firstly I’m going to talk about the night life. Clematis street in West Palm Beach is the most popular place for young people to go as it’s the ‘strip’ filled with clubs, bars, shops, Starbucks and restaurants. Nico’s pizza is not to be missed after a night out! Roxy’s rooftop is the place to be on a Sunday with a chilled seating area overlooking West Palm Beach it’s a cool atmosphere or there’s a dance floor in the middle of the bar with a stage and DJ booth. Downstairs is Roxy’s Irish pub – if you’re Irish you’ll be disappointed but it’s a nice try! There is Pawn Shop if you are struggling with ID – we’ve all been there – then this is the place to be on the weekend! They often let girls in for free as well. If you don’t feel like clubbing then inbetween Roxy’s and Pawn Shop on Clematis Street is Duffy’s Sports Bar which is insane if there’s a Connor McGregor fight.
One of the amazing things about living and working with internationals is that you learn about different cultures. I live with Austrian girls who are trying to teach me German and one of my close friends here is Brazilian who taught me salsa! Anyone who knows me knows I’m not a dancer at all, but after some tequila I was having an absolute blast on the dance floor. There are a few South American restaurants/bars and salsa places in West Palm Beach.
Last night I went to Jumby Bay Island Grill for my friend’s birthday in Downtown Abacoa. They do great deals, on Wednesdays they have a flip a coin challenge for a free drink and the food was brilliant at decent prices. The bar and restaurant is Florida Keys themed so it’s a casual place with good dance music. Would definitely recommend. There was a beer brewery across the road with a bar which looked nice so I’ll let you know what it’s like once I’ve been!!
Another first experience was being robbed by the US Post Office!!! It cost me $72.00 to send a light weight parcel home for my cousin’s birthday back to Scotland – $22 for the box and tape alone. For Christmas I will be online shopping and have it delivered home instead. I’d 100% recommend this for any other internationals as I wish I’d knew this before I bought the presents.
Thought I’d fill you all in with moving to Floresta apartments and how I’m feeling about life in Florida.
I moved to Floresta less than a week ago and I feel more settled here than I did living in Mira Flores for nearly two months. Floresta apartments is in Jupiter- 5 minutes away from Admirals Cove Country Club- with a Starbucks, Publix, Chinese takeaway, beauticians etc 2 minutes walking distance with a Walmart 5 minutes driving distance also. It’s a safer more family-oriented area with a better gym and pool area than the old apartment complex which is amazing!! I’ve even deep cleaned the kitchen and became house proud – something my friends and family would never have believed before!
I’ve also experienced my first American Halloween in Roxy’s rooftop bar – anyone working at a county club in Palm Beach county will hear of Roxy’s! I’m not a big Halloween fan but it was a good night and a laugh with the banquets + Austrian fam.
I feel like I’m finally loving my life in Florida. I have friends out with the other interns, I’ve learned to put on the Scottish charm – the accent gets you out of a lot of difficult situations especially with fussy members in work, and I love my banquets family. It’s hard work being in banquets: you’ll be physically and mentally exhausted at times but there’s great opportunity to make contacts and I couldn’t ask to work with a better team.
I’ve always been an independent person but I finally feel like I’m ‘adulting’- people in their 20’s will understand… Moving internationally was a massive achievement for me, terrifying also but I couldn’t recommend it enough. Nothing good is ever going to come easy to you, it’s all about pushing yourself. At times I’ve asked myself what the hell am I doing here? Then you have to look at the bigger picture – your career, your life experiences and goals. The American Dream is real, it might be a little blurred right now but I’ve made friends who are living examples of the American Dream. To any interns like myself the biggest piece of advice I can give is to remember you’re only here for a year and to live it up as much as you.
So it’s coming up to the end of my second month living in Florida and I thought I’d write a little comparison blog post and share some of my new experiences with you guys.
All throughout my first month living here I was terribly homesick. I missed everything about Glasgow: the Pure Gym I was at, seeing similar faces, knowing the transport system, knowing the best restaurants/short cuts/and general way of life. Also not being able to legally drink over here was a big struggle for me. I’m a strong believer in ‘People Make Glasgow’, Glaswegians may laugh at it but when you’re taken out of the area it couldn’t be more accurate. Glaswegians are one of the friendliest people you’ll meet. However I’ve learned to realise that I’m so blessed to be living here in Palm Beach county and to be working at one of the top 2 country clubs in America and to fully take advantage of this amazing opportunity. Yeah it is scary but you’ll grow so much as a person and it is such an amazing learning experience.
This month I’ve settled so much more; I’ve made good friends with the new H-2B workers as there is a lot of them in the banquets department as well as with other J-1 interns and locals, I absolutely adore my work at Admirals Cove and I feel like I’m living my life in Florida as more of an individual now instead of just a ‘Butler kid’. We fortunately chose our own departments and I was placed in banquets and I can honestly say it was an absolute god send to work with such an amazing group of people who will be there for you professionally and outside of work because everyone 100% has your support and respect. Everyone is so happy to be working and I feel so blessed to be working in such an incredible environment.
To anyone looking to complete an internship on a J-1 visa like myself, or coming on a H-2B working visa: embrace it, be thankful and most importantly work hard. It is difficult at times but the reward and support you will receive is amazing. There is a lot of internationals so everyone is going through the same as you. Let’s face it I’m not going to have the opportunity to be working at a private party on a yacht worth over $3m in the Glasgow River Clyde am I? So network and build professional relationships and friendships and who knows what the future will hold.