Between my 2nd and 3rd years at uni’ I decided it was time for an adventure. So after very little thought, planning or deliberation I took off to work in the USA for the summer. Due to the very helpful people at Work America and despite my lack of planning or preparation I managed to pull everything together, get a job organized and arrive in South New Jersey safe and sound.
So I moseyed on up to this town called Wildwood having very little idea of what to expect; I knew it was a beach resort with a theme park and a boardwalk, but that was the extent of my knowledge. It turned out that the name was rather apt; Wildwood was mental. The first interaction I had with any locals was when a kid rode past on a bike and shouted out a comment about my rather pasty Scottish completion. It was something along the lines of “Yo Milkybar, careful you don’t melt”.
It turned out that Wildwood was like an American equivalent to Blackpool; no heirs or graces, but plenty fun and full of tremendous banter. The boardwalk was filled with shops selling gaudy souvenir tat, the bars were filled with extremely loud Americans whooping it up and the theme park was filled with hyperactive kids out of their minds on sugar.
Now, the job I found was as a Ride Operator at a theme park called Morey’s Piers. My first duties involved dressing up as neon colored ghost pirate and scaring people silly on a haunted river ride. I loved it. And Morey’s Piers were pretty decent employers, the pay wasn’t great, but they did help out in a lot of ways including recommending accommodation, providing internet access, setting up bank accounts and making sure we had access to cheap international calls.
After a few weeks on pirate duty I was promoted to the position of mascot escort due mainly to penchant for banter. This job involved basically being the personal body guard of a dude in a giant skateboarding seagull costume. It turned out that this position was actually vital to the survival of the seagull dude; left to his own devices he surely would have perished at hands of a swarm of sugar crazed manic children.
Being the mascot escort certainly had its perks; seagulls obviously cannot talk so I had to do the talking for him, meaning I spent most of my time chatting to people who were in a rather good mood. Also, due to health and safety reasons, the guy in the suit was only allowed to wear it for 15 minutes at time before taking a 15 minute break. So, half of my day was spent chatting to happy people and the other half was spent hanging out in the break area.
I could write pages and pages about all the fun shenanigans I got up to that summer and all the amazing people I met, but I’ll just sign off by saying that if you’re thinking of working abroad this summer just go for it; remember to stay safe, but don’t let your fears hold you back. Get out there and have an adventure, I certainly enjoyed mine.
Have you been abroad to work for the summer before? Planning to go this year? Feel free to tell us about it in the comments section.
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