Working as a lifeguard in the USA with BUNAC

Working as a lifeguard in the USA with BUNAC


Working an ordinary job in an extraordinary location could be your all-American reality next summer. With heaps of job opportunities all across the USA, BUNAC’s Work America program is the ultimate way to spend your uni summer holidays. Earn a local’s salary, add international work experience to your CV, and explore America with new friends. Now, about that lifeguard thing...

Meet Harvey. He spent two summers Stateside, the first working as a lifeguard at Water Country USA in Williamsburg, Virginia: and the following summer working at Trimper’s Rides in Ocean City, Maryland. Here’s his Work America story.

Where did you hear about Work America?

My mum took part in a BUNAC program when she was a student! She said it was an amazing experience and that I had to do it for myself. After I decided going Stateside for the summer was something I was interested in doing, I signed up and started to apply for jobs on the BUNAC Job Zone.

What was a typical working day like?

The first summer I was a lifeguard at a water park in Virginia. It was a fantastic experience working there and a typical day included sitting guard over the lazy river, catching some rays and keeping patrons safe. Alongside this, each day I was interacting and having fun with guests on the different waterslides and conversing with people from all over the world.

The second summer I worked as a games cashier in a family-run amusement park. With an emphasis on family, at Trimper’s Rides I really felt like one of the gang. A typical day involved talking, shouting and singing into the microphone to encourage customers to play the game you were promoting. Interacting with the customers definitely added excitement to your day. A personal highlight was definitely working on the basketball game and being able to perfect my shot on the non-regulation-rimmed hoop.

What were the highlights of your job?

Highlights of both jobs were getting to meet new people, whether it was just a passing conversation with a New Yorker, adamant that he was more Scottish than me, or swapping stories with American college students. Also, getting to know people who are now some of my best friends.

What did you get up to in your spare time?

I had a good laugh with the fellow Work America participants, making friends from all over the world. During my first year I chilled out at our little housing village and on my second the beach was the preferred hangout, as it was so close by - we practically lived on the thing.

Where did you travel at the end of the summer?

My trips were quality! I recruited an all-star team for my last summer trip - some from my first summer of work, some from my second and my best mate from home (who also came to work at Trimper’s Rides). We flew to Dallas (did not buy a club), hopped on a bus to Austin where we well and truly kept it weird. We then jumped on a plane to Las Vegas where we met Dana White and got a monumental “Sup” from Ice Cube. At this point we hired a minivan and zoomed down to San Diego, cruised up to sunny Los Angeles (where we looked out of place in the Hills) and voyaged up to Yosemite. After this we headed towards San Francisco and became Oakland Raiders casuals for a good three hours at the stadium, followed by a trip to Portland where we became at one with nature (and Carls Jnr) - lastly we shot up to Seattle for our last adventure and said our goodbyes.

Finally, what advice would you have for someone thinking about doing Work America?

I was hesitant to take part in this program at first – I was young and slightly scared of the world. The thought of rewinding two years and making the decision not to do Work America and missing out on this chance makes me feel sick!  I’d say jump in and just enjoy it, you can make it quality for yourself - get involved!


18-30 and a full-time student? America needs you. On our Work America program we’ll help match you with a 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.

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