Author International Hotel School   |  February 6, 2013

Ocean Reef is paradise away from the city (45 minutes to be exact); it is one of the best private member-only clubs in the State of Florida. The club boasts a 4000ft landing strip at the private airport, its very own fully equipped medical center, fire station, public safety, cultural center, man-made beach, tennis centers, golf courses, hotel, vacation rentals, an interdenominational chapel, retail shops, a market, an entertainment center for children, an academy, member fitness center, restaurants, a marina with berthing for 175 boats and many more amenities.

It’s a home away from home for some members and for others it is their home. Associates are allowed to enjoy some of the amenities for free or at discounted prices. Sasha and I used this to our advantage and went kayaking and sail boating!

We had never sailed before, but we took up our newfound hobby with ease; we were good to go and we had perfected the art of sailing. We sailed out within an area of the channel, being out there with nothing but the wind to steer us in the right direction; we felt a sense of serendipity.

Quickest month of my life

Work for me is a bicycle or golf cart ride away, which is great because I can kill two birds with one stone; I get to work in the most efficient way whilst keeping fit. It has been the quickest month of my life, I feel like I have been in Key Largo for three months, yet I’ve only recently completed my first month.

I am currently placed in retail, a position which Americans consider to be a front of house sub-department. Since I have attended The International Hotel School, I’m equipped to work in any hospitality-related department and I have IHS to thank for preparing me in the field of hospitality.

Christmas and New Years away from my family has been odd, as if something was missing, but surrounding myself with familiar faces and my friends whom I love dearly made it a little easier to cope with the uneasiness of being away from home during the festive season.

Americans are fascinated by our accent, although they tend to confuse it with a British or Australian accent, but they say that there is something special in the way we articulate our words.

Positivity is key

The key aspect to American hospitality is positivity; they enthusiastically greet members and guests, and always avail themselves to assist. Here at Ocean Reef all associates, managers and directors were sent to a compulsory motivational speech to prepare us for the busy session ahead.

The one thing that stood out in the speech was that in the morning, when preparing for work, we need to “dress twice” – this means that you physically get dressed for work and, whilst doing this, you’re mentally preparing yourself for work, blocking out anything from your private life that would withhold you from fully performing to your full potential at work.

The motivational speaker also mentioned that we should treat work like our own businesses, because once we all take ownership for something, we want to make a success of it and give it our all.

This has affirmed to me that it’s not just about the bottom line or just getting the job done, but also investing in your workers.



All about convenience

I was in disbelief when we pulled into Walmart (an American multinational retail corporation similar to Makro in South Africa) at around 2am to do grocery shopping on a week day! Walmart is open 24 hours a day, all year round.

Just imagine how great it would be if you didn’t have to rush to the grocery store or pharmacy to beat their closing time or rush… The American lifestyle is all about convenience – drive-through pharmacies and ATMs, and soon American consumers will have a new way to pay at the checkout: by cellphone!