Working at a theme park in the USA with BUNAC
We want to introduce you to someone special – Oli. You’ve probably seen him all over BUNAC’s Instagram, taking amazing shots of places he’s visited on our Work America program. He also filmed everywhere he went, from his London Heathrow to JFK flight, to his daily routine on the job and his travels afterwards. Watch his awesome travel vlog here.
While it would be pretty hard to cram everything he’s done in the last three and a half months into a single blog, we sat down with him to chat all things Work America. Well, nearly all things...
Where was your Work America job based?
I was based in Ocean City in Maryland, and I worked in a theme park called Trimper’s Rides. I usually worked on games along the boardwalk (which was the main bit) on stalls like the basketball and horse race which were usually the most popular. My day-to-day duties included commentating on the microphone and trying to get customers to get involved!
What did you get up to on your days off?
I worked six days a week and had one day off. You have the freedom to choose when you have your days off and also who to have them off with, so I was lucky to be with my friends every time. Ocean City is a really fun-loving beach town, so we usually hung out at the beach and did water skiing and parasailing. We also had free rides at Trimper’s which we really made the most of. In the city itself the restaurants were really good, even for a vegetarian like me.
Where did you travel at the end of the summer?
I went on a road trip with three friends. We rented out a campervan and drove all around the West Coast for two weeks. We went to LA, San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Sequoia, Vegas and the Grand Canyon, then finally back to Vegas again to fly to New York. If I had to choose a favourite, it has to be Yosemite. The views were just incredible - honestly like nothing I've ever seen before. It was actually surreal just being there. After that I went on a G Adventures tour from New York and headed to Philadelphia, Washington D.C and up into Canada to see Toronto, Montreal and Niagara Falls. So basically I did a lot of travelling, and it was genuinely the best time of my life.
If you had to choose, what’s been the best thing about doing Work America?
I think meeting people from different nationalities is definitely the best thing. I made friends from Spain and Germany who I'm already planning to go and see next summer. Having friends all over the world means it’s an excuse to go on holiday and get free accommodation! It's also great to experience a different culture like America. It makes you stronger as a person to be able to move away to a new country even for just a few months. For me, the newfound independence I had showed me that if I ever wanted to make a permanent move, I could do it.
We agree. We're a strong believer that travelling helps your personal growth.
(Laughs) And it's true! It sounds stupid, but I used to get a bit of anxiety when I went on public transport because I was afraid of getting lost, but in America I really didn't have a choice. I had to go on it all the time. If you've ever been on a New York subway you'd know how confusing it all is, and I managed to work it out. Doing that has made me more confident with everything now.
Finally, what advice would you have for someone thinking about doing Work America?
I would say definitely take the opportunity now when you're a student. Once you've graduated, you're never going to get another summer like it. Obviously, it's always a plus when you get home and you can say you've had a better summer than all of your friends!
Been inspired by Oli’s experience? Spend your uni summer holidays Stateside. On our Work America program we’ll help match you with a paid summer job before you go, provide the sponsorship you need to apply for your J-1 visa, and support you throughout the whole process. Find out more and sign up here.