The start of the year began with myself doing one of the hardest things I would of ever imagined — leaving everything behind. I never thought that I would have been so far away from everyone. This is one of the best things I think I have ever done so far in my life to get away and explore the world. By being able to do this I think it is going to help me further in life due to all the opportunities that I have been given here in New Zealand.
The first few weeks were the hardest for me but since I have made so many friends and gone out there and explored the part of New Zealand that I am in. It feels like home to me because I know for the next couple of months it is going to be my home. I have never been around such caring people here at this school and this country it's nothing like I expected to be honest. This is the beginning of the start of my future and I would love to tell you how it’s been going so far — here it goes.
I have been enrolled in to the PE (Sports Department) which kind of works in my favour because I really love my sports, we have played so many games it has got me amazed of how different PE is from my old school to this one. I have also been on some sports tournaments with the school, because I love helping out as much as I can. I went on the indoor soccer tournament, cricket tournament, tennis tournament, touch rugby, hockey tournament and football. This is just the beginning I hope to go on as much as I can. I have also got myself into a hockey club which is so amazing because I didn’t really expect to be playing in such an excellent team and meeting all these people just makes me realise that even if you get old there are still people out there playing their sports they love which just makes me smile. This is the sports life that I have been through for the first few months and I hope it continues.
There are also some things I didn’t expect to be doing, like I went on a Shakespeare tour also which was so amazing the talent and expectations of the play was outstanding. I have now been through some culture parts of New Zealand and I hope it stays like this because I don’t even know if I want to come home after being here for a few months. I would love to stay here forever and start my life out here.
People told me that when I did this it will change you and I didn’t believe them in the start because I didn’t know what to expect here to be honest. Living so far away I thought I wouldn’t last because it's so far and one thing is certain all the things you learn from your parents and elders comes out when you are living all by yourself which is a good thing because you realise how you take things for granted.
I would love to thank everyone who made this possible especially Brendan because I know that without Epic Exchange's assistance, kids like myself would never get the opportunities to go out and do things like this. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a gap year it’s the best thing you will do, trust me.
With the help of Chris Charlton at Epic Exchange I was given the most amazing opportunity of working on a dairy farm in New Zealand! After graduating from the University of Pretoria with my bachelor degree in agricultural science (BScAgric Animal Science) and a short stint of working with horses, I wanted to experience how agriculture differs between countries. The Agricultural Internship from Epic Exchange allowed me to do just this, and after a really easy application process (thanks to Chris’s help), what a journey it’s been!
I’ve met the most amazing people, both through working and travelling. I’ve worked and lived with people who have lived their entire lives in New Zealand, and by doing so I learned to appreciate a different way of life. New Zealand is a very easy country to fall in love with, and wherever I went I have been only met with warmth and welcome. The people I met through travelling the country came from everywhere in the world and it was amazing to meet them. I made some very valuable friendships in this time.
I’ve learned how to operate a lot of equipment I never had the opportunity to use, and my host family were always willing to take the time to show and teach me new things. My experience in New Zealand has been nothing short of amazing and I know I will always look back on it with fondness.
In the words of Jonah Lehrer: “We travel because we need to, because distance and difference are the secret tonic of creativity. When we get home, home is still the same. But something in our mind has been changed, and that changes everything.”
My name is Tshlofelo Modise and I am currently on a US internship program with Epic Exchange, with the help of Chris Charlton I got the opportunity to work for a Michelin-starred Chef Daniel Boulud in New York City!!!
Epic Exchange has given me a chance to brighten and enhance my career as a chef. Being a chef is something that one grows-up with (I remember when I was young, mom and I we used to bake for family holidays and would cook 7 colours one of the traditional meals in South African families).
Taking back home what I have learnt from Chef Daniel Boulud’s Restaurants will not only make me a more professional, independent, self-motivated and strong Chef, but sharing the knowledge with the other chefs will be the most successful and resourceful tool that I would have accomplished in building my career path.
Chris with his expertise and professional assistance at Epic Exchange made it possible for me to secure a job in the primary industry of New Zealand. Now, working as a farm manager in Canterbury, New Zealand, I can highly recommend his services as it stretches from finding a suitable employer to getting a visa and even booking plane tickets at competitive prices lower than most major airline fares.
Make things happen - do it with Epic Exchange.
My experience with Epic Exchange has been great. Chris helped with all aspects of getting to America, from helping us with the interview process, getting visas and passports, to sending us off at the airport.
This has been the most amazing experience of my life and the best decision I've ever made. It's been a great learning experience. I would definitely recommend using Epic Exchange if you want to work aboard.
I am just writing to inform you that I have now completed my 6 month internship at the Merville Beach Hotel,Mauritius.
It is an experience I will never forget and I would like to thank you for all the work you put in to make everything go smoothly!! I will definitely be recommending epic exchange to my peers. Many thanks again Chris.
So as my journey is coming to end, unfortunately. I just wanted to say a massive thank you for helping me through this journey and for even making it all possible! It has been the best experience of my life and I will never forget it!
You have provided great service and I will definitely be in touch with you again as soon as I'm back to start planning my next trip :)
I was also able to travel during my time here and it was amazing!
I signed up with Epic Exchange in August 2016. I had some potential offers and went ahead with interviews. Some were not in my favour. Chris from Epic Exchange was extremely helpful in getting me alternative employment.
I am currently working in Florida, at a hotel that is simply beyond amazing! My experience in getting here was a lot of admin, but I am here and I am loving every bit of it. I have had interactions with so many different kinds of people from various places across the world. I have met people who have traveled to my country and its amazing to get their perspective of my hometown.
I definitely experienced culture shock, but its simply a beautiful experience. I am definitely looking forward to my future exchange programs with none other than Epic Exchange! :)
Epic Exchange is by far the best agency for young aspiring hospitality students!
Chris helped me with my interview process and all the paper work needed. He also paid half of my fees which made the load waaay lighter. It took exactly 3 months to process everything and get me here, with other agencies it usually takes much longer. I got a good hotel where I'm learning quite a lot and I absolutely love the city of Atlanta!
There are so many places to go to and see when I'm not working, I love it!