California here we come: my Work America summer!
Carly, from the University of Leeds, found her perfect package for her all-American summer!
I always said to myself in the summer of the year of my 21st birthday I would go the USA and travel. I knew I wanted to go to California and I considered just travelling, but then I discovered the BUNAC Work America Programme and it suited me perfectly, as I could spend the whole summer there, earn money and, most importantly, travel!
I wanted to get a job in California but trying to find one proved to be very difficult. I wanted to have a job and accommodation lined up before I left the UK so after a little advice from BUNAC, I decided to broaden my search and apply to a variety of jobs on the BUNAC Job Zone. Many of these were on the East Coast and I eventually got offered a job working at Trimper’s Rides in Ocean City, Maryland, which isn’t too far from Washington DC.
BUNAC helped me obtain my visa, and even called me to check all my travel plans were going well. I flew out to New York in early June and spent five days there before travelling down the coast to Ocean City. I stayed in the HI Hostel, which offered a discount for BUNAC participants, and I made friends with fellow BUNACers which made being in NYC alone a lot less daunting! I travelled around the whole of Manhattan Island, went over to Brooklyn and Staten Island and I literally fell in love with New York. I didn’t want to leave, but I was also so excited to get to Ocean City.
When I arrived, I went straight to meet my new employers who showed me to my apartment, which I was sharing with 3 other British girls, and was located on the site of the amusement park, right on the beach. Although the apartments weren’t exactly luxurious, we had a lot of fun as there were around 20 apartments all close by with international students, so it turned into a bit of a party! At Trimpers, I worked as a ticket seller, which involved selling tickets and wristbands, and passing on all information about the rides to the customers.
Trimpers were really good to us; they let a group of 9 of us take a week off work and we travelled to Washington DC and then to Toronto. In Toronto, we all had an amazing time; we saw the main sights of the city including going up the CN Tower and we even went to a baseball game. We all loved the vibe in Canada, and it even inspired some of us to consider doing BUNAC’s Work Canada programme next year! After Toronto, we returned back to work and began planning our trip to California at the end of the summer.
There was a group of 8 of us who went to California; we flew into San Francisco, where we saw all the main sights including the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz prison and the San Francisco street cars. San Fran was a really cool city. For the next part of the trip we hired cars to drive down the Pacific Coastal Highway, which was the most incredible experience! The best part was driving on the twisty roads of the Big Sur; we couldn’t keep our eyes of the magnificent views. We stayed the night in Santa Barbara and from there we drove to Malibu for a bit of beach time, then to Santa Monica and finally LA. By the time we reached Hollywood, we were all shattered but so overwhelmed and excited that we were in LA. Whilst in LA we went to Universal Studios and saw the Desperate Housewives set, as well as many other famous film sets. We also did a tour of the stars’ homes in Beverley Hills and hiked up to the top of the Griffith Observatory which gave the most spectacular view of the whole of LA and the Hollywood sign. The next stop was San Diego, which was a really relaxed city with a great vibe. After San Diego, we flew back to New York for two days before finally flying back to UK and to University.
Thanks to the support from BUNAC I had the most amazing summer in the USA and met some great people. Even though there were times when I was working that I wondered what on earth I was doing there, the fun and the travels were more than worth it!
Work America is now OPEN! Available to full-time university students, the programme allows participants to spend their university summer holidays working and travelling in the States. Click here to find out more or call us on 0207 251 3472.