Wow what a week, I jumped on the plane at Heathrow airport on Monday (5th) morning and to be honest I don't think I fully prepared myself for the next week. I had done all the physical preparation, I just didn't mentally prepare myself for this whole thing. I think because it never felt like I was going anywhere it was hard to adjust. I would defiantly prepare more next time!
So I arrived in New York Monday afternoon, I luckily met another girl before hand so we traveled on the same flight and then collected our luggage together to proceeded towards the Exit of JFK. We pre booked a shuttle service (super shuttle) this was recommended by interexchange and to be honest it was the easiest and most cost effective route we found (not that we looked). If you're okay with the crazy driving.
Arriving at the hotel, well we was in the centre of Manhattan a couple of blocks from Times Square and you could see the Empire State from out front. When you have never been to New York before I'll tell you it is incredible at first I felt so small, as if the buildings were towering over me (well they were). It was so different to any other city I had been to before. We walked into the hotel and we were directed up to the 3rd floor to the interexchange check in desk. Here you are given your room key, information about the following day and a huge binder with more information, if you have got to this stage you will know you have so much paper work you don't even know what to do with it all! Be prepared when you get to your room you are probably sharing with someone maybe two people so don't be disappointed, I actually liked sharing because it gave you someone to talk to and distracted you from everything else that was going on in your head right now!
I'm not going to tell you every minute of everyday because we would be here a life time, there was so much packed into the 3 days of training.
Monday - Travel day, everyone travels from their home country to The New Yorker Hotel
Tuesday - American Culture, Culture shock and child development 0-3 years
Wednesday - Driving in America, Laws and children aged 3 - teens
Thursday - First Aid, CPR and Lots of paperwork. Some people also leave on this day
Friday - So some people will leave on Thursday depending on what the family have arranged with the agency and everyone else will leave to go to their host family on the Friday!
I found this weekend very tiring, I was a little ill as well so that didn't really help but the time just completely threw me off. I didn't even think about jet lag but being that tired and then having to sit in training for 7-9 hours a day really takes it out of you.
Ensure you bring enough money for the first couple of weeks. I would recommend brining money anyway but interexchange recommended $150-$200 but I would probably double that because you don't get paid straight away obviously because you haven't even worked yet and when you get to your host family you want to be able to pick some bits up if needed like toiletries or clothes. Just ensure you have enough.
When you arrive you are given vouchers for free breakfast and lunch in the Tick-Tock Diner which is connected to the hotel. There is a set menu to order from so don't look at the menu because you WILL be disappointed. But for free breakfast and lunch you can't complain, the food was okay, although on the Thursday lunch me and some other girls went to a local salad bar to one get out of the hotel for an hour and to eat something relatively healthy and tasty. Being in that hotel for too long gets a little claustrophobic. Free time Each day training finishes at different times, Tuesday it finishes at 4pm and everyone has the opportunity to go on a 4 hr tour of the city with a tour guide this is $30 and I didn't go because I was ill, but some of the girls said it was amazing. On the Wednesday you are given an opportunity to buy a ticket to go up the Empire state, Me and another girl bought a ticket but didn't go up as we will both be living very close in New Jersey so we will go another time. As the tickets were $18 each. We finished at 5 pm Wednesday Thursday we finished at 6pm some people left to go to their host family and the rest of us went out and did things, me and two other girls went for food and then to see Times Square. I was then picked up by my host family Friday morning.
I am now with my Host family in New Jersey having a great time, I will keep you in the loop.
I had an amazing week in New York I learnt a lot and made some lovely friends.