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Hi, I am Daphne! I am 25 years old, live in the Netherlands and I worked in Florida for a bit longer than a year. I also lived in Sevilla, Spain, where I met Seyamaila. But in this article, I want to discuss my time in Florida I loved my time there and would love to share my experience and convince you to go there as well!

Sun, sea, beach and Hurricanes What is it like to live and work in Florida USA
Hi I am Daphne!

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What to expect in this article

My life in Fort Lauderdale (Florida)

For my study of International Business and Languages (which I studied in Groningen, the Netherlands), I had the chance to do an internship in The United States in 2017. 

I worked at a navy company called Governor Control Systems inc. They work in shipping, which means that they make and repair big marine engines, for example for cruise ships.  

My internship was mainly based on marketing, sales and I had to do some administration. Examples of activities were working on the website, writing emails for clients, making photos for brochures and I also had to prepare for conventions in Florida and in other states. We even could join some of those conventions. 

About Florida

Florida is one of the states in the United States of America. It is located South-East and it has a subtropical climate, and because of that, it is the perfect state for a holiday. Sun, sea and beaches! It has the longest coastline in the US, with 825 miles/ 1327 km of accessible beaches.

Sun, sea, beach and Hurricanes What is it like to live and work in Florida USA
At Big Pine Key, which is near famous Key West

Why I choose Florida

For my study, I had to do an internship abroad. 
When I was talking to my parents about this, my dad told me he’s doing business with this company and he could ask if they were looking for interns. 

Lucky for you they are looking for interns every 6 months, so they are experienced in guiding interns from abroad, which is very handy for the visa you have to apply to.
Of course, I had to go through a process of having an interview and getting to know them before I could start. 

I don’t think I would have thought about Florida first. I would have looked at a place closer to my home country (the Netherlands) so that I am closer to my parents. When my dad mentioned Fort Lauderdale, I did immediately like it, especially because I love the whole idea of ‘sun, sea, and beach,’ which Florida is most known for. 

Sun, sea, beach and Hurricanes What is it like to live and work in Florida USA
Islamorada, near Key West

Making friends in Florida

I had many foreign colleagues and I was living with two other interns from Germany, with whom I became friends very easily. So when I was living in Florida, I had a mix of foreign friends, but I also made friends with 1 American guy. 

American people are genuinely interested when you are new to the country, they always chitchat and invite you over for dinner or to watch a football match. For me, there was no problem making friends and I think it will be easy for others as well to make friends in the USA. 

In my opinion, American people can be superficial as they often tell you while greeting ‘Hello, how are you?’ In the Netherlands, we only tell ‘hello’ while greeting, so in the beginning, I thought I had to tell every time someone asked, but after a while, I understood it is just a greeting.

Besides that, I find the USA a fun country to go to for your holidays, they mostly treat you friendly and don’t act like you are a tourist. The summary of my story is that I believe it is pretty easy to make friends in the USA/Florida. 

Sun, sea, beach and Hurricanes What is it like to live and work in Florida USA
Miami, fun life guard houses 🙂

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American food

Unfortunately, American food is pretty unhealthy as there are many fast-food chains. Not only in Florida but all over the USA. I know all about it, as I gained 10kg/22 pounds in just one year, whoops!
My housemates and I did cook at least four times a week, but of course, we also wanted to try it all, so we did order in or go to a restaurant. 

All the snacks in the States are unhealthy, as you have many cookies and doughnuts, things most people know. I find it a pity that healthy food costs more than, for example, a Mcdonald’s. 

Sometimes I thought it would be cheaper to have breakfast, lunch and dinner at Mcdonald’s. I believe the reason for this might be that the salaries are not that high everywhere in the USA.
In the Netherlands it is the other way around, fast food is more expensive than healthy food (luckily). 

Sun, sea, beach and Hurricanes What is it like to live and work in Florida USA
Beautiful sunset at Islamorada, near Key West

Costs & Work salaries in Florida

Regarding costs, you can make your stay in Florida as expensive as you want. You can visit Disneyland every weekend, but you can also visit the beach every weekend (free and always close by in Florida).
The only thing you have to pay then are parking costs, which are around 1 dollar per hour, not much if you share it with others. 

Unfortunately, groceries are expensive in America, as I mentioned before. 

Regarding
salaries it is hard to say something, as I have never really ‘worked’ there.
Rumours are that salaries are relatively lower than in other states or other countries like the Netherlands. This is a reason why many people have side businesses. 

I noticed that many people have a side business, whether it is because they like it or to receive a better income.

Just an example, I know people that live on 90m² and are paying 3000 dollars of rent per month, luckily he doesn’t have a bad job and there are also other prices for rent of course. 

Sun, sea, beach and Hurricanes What is it like to live and work in Florida USA
Schoolbus

Intern salary

I received 1000 dollars per month for my work as an intern. Rent and gas were included, so I only had to pay for food, insurance, fuel, going out and other small things.

For me,
this was perfect, although I did not go out to party every weekend. This was not possible, because you have to be 21 to go out and drink, and I was only 19/20 at that time. So when you want to do that, it might be not enough money. 

I have heard that ‘your salary’ depends on your internship company and which state you are staying in.
For instance, I heard that in New York you don’t receive any money at all because everyone wants to work there.
So always check this with the company you want to work for.

Want to read more articles about people that are working and living abroad? Click here. 

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Public transport in Florida

Public transport is almost non-existing. Sure, there are some bus lines, but they do not go to many places and they are mostly for the ‘poor people’.
Next to that, I have heard that the trains are not functioning that well. In the year that I stayed in this state, I have never used a local bus or train. 

In the USA and Florida, you really need a car, to get your groceries or to go from one place to another. My housemates and I had two cars from the company we worked for and we only had to pay for the fuel. 

Whenever I was alone, I used taxis or used the Uber app. I remember using Ubers most of the time during my stay and mostly to go to the beach. As I said, the beach is always close by in Florida, so going there by uber is not expensive. 

Sun, sea, beach and Hurricanes What is it like to live and work in Florida USA
The house and cars from the other 2 interns and I

Advantages of living in Florida

  • The first advantage is THE WEATHER! It’s always sunny and warm. You can go to the beach all year long. There is a rainy and hurricane season, but then you have shopping malls
  • This feeling of being on vacation, all year long. If I think of that, I would love to book a flight tomorrow. 
  • Boring is not a word you can use for Florida. You always have something to do in Florida, whether it is going to the beach, visiting a museum, going shopping, visiting indoor places like shopping malls or visiting other places. Miami is not far away! As it is mostly sunny, you can also go on a terrace and have a drink, all year long… 
  • Most American people do not speak another language than English, but in Florida, many people can speak Spanish as well, as it is so close to Spanish speaking countries. 
Sun, sea, beach and Hurricanes What is it like to live and work in Florida USA
Even during Christmas I went to the beach!

Disadvantages of living in Florida

I have to think really hard to come up with any disadvantages (which is a good sign), but if I have to come up with some, it would be the next few things: 

  • It really is a pity that doing groceries is so expensive. Healthy food should be cheaper and I think this is a pity for the residents of America. 
  • Public transport as I mentioned, it is a pity there are so few bus lines. Now you are dependent on your car, uber or bicycle. To be honest, cycling is not something many people do, as Florida is a warm state and it is pretty hilly, so you’ll always arrive somewhere sweaty while cycling. 
  • Hurricanes. It comes back every year, but depending on how bad it is, people will panic a little. Let me tell a bit more about it. 

Hurricanes in Florida

As I said, are hurricanes an annual thing. Every year there are a couple of hurricanes and it is always the question of how strong the winds are, how much rain there will fall and if there will be many tornados. 

When this happens, people will hoard in grocery stores and mostly buy jerrycans with water, canned food and toilet paper. 
Some people will find shelter as they are scared their house will get damaged. 

In the year, 2017-2018 I was in Florida, I experienced a hurricane called Irma.
We had to find shelter for a weekend, which we did in the building of our intern company and we brought air mattresses, food and whatever more.
During that weekend, we did not have any electricity for at least 1.5 days, because of the strong winds and rain. We were not super scared, but one hurricane is more damaging than the other of course, so maybe we were lucky. 

Below is a video of the hurricane I witnessed. 

Necessary documents

The only document you need if you are going to do an internship in America is the G1 visa, which you have to arrange for 3 to 5 months before you fly off. Often there are special organisations that consult for you, which you can contact.

That would also be my biggest tip: make sure you have your documents before you fly to the USA! 

Sun, sea, beach and Hurricanes What is it like to live and work in Florida USA
Islamorada, a little bit of paradise in Florida

Safety & Misconception of Florida

Luckily, I have always felt safe in Florida, but I do have to mention, that I never walked alone during the evening.
Although it is not unsafe, during the evenings I mostly walked with someone else. 
Nevertheless, there are always areas that are less safe, but this happens in every big city. 

The misconception of Florida is, I believe, that only old people go here after they are retired. This is not true at all, as there are enough youngsters. I always had a feeling that I was on a holiday in Florida, but I did work very hard as well. 

Sun, sea, beach and Hurricanes What is it like to live and work in fort lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale, my home base

Favourite places in Florida

As you might have noticed by now, my favourite place in Florida is of course THE BEACH! You can find it everywhere luckily and it is free to visit. 🙂 
In Fort Lauderdale, my home base, the boulevard is fun to eat ice cream. Other than that it is pretty small. 

One hour from Fort Lauderdale, you can find Miami, which is a super cool city. In Miami, you can find so much street art, which I find awesome.
Next to that, you can also find lifeguard houses in all different colours, you can see Rodeo Drive, which is fun if you like beautiful hotels and expensive cars.

Sun, sea, beach and Hurricanes What is it like to live and work in Florida USA
Tampa is also super fun to visit!

You can also spend one weekend at Disneyworld in Orlando, which is 3 hours north of Fort Lauderdale.  That is especially fun if you are with children. 

Not far from Disneyworld, you can find Kennedy Space Center, where every once in a while they launch a rocket. Once I had the chance to witness this and it was unbelievable, of course, I had to take a video of it, which you can find below. 

Last but not least, my favourite, Key West. Completely south of Florida and absolutely beautiful, as it is a long road surrounded by water. This is a must-see in Florida! 

Sun, sea, beach and Hurricanes What is it like to live and work in Florida USA
Rodeo Drive in Miami
Sun, sea, beach and Hurricanes What is it like to live and work in Florida USA

Other places I visited in America

I have visited quite some places during the year I did my internship.
Due to the conventions I and other interns had to organize, I had the chance to visit Louisanna and Orlando.
Next to that, I was able to fly to New York, visited Las Vegas for a couple of days with a colleague and went to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. 

After my internship, I had the opportunity to travel for 2 weeks by myself, where I visited Los Angeles, Maui Hawaii, San Francisco and also Mexico, even though that is outside the USA 🙂 

So I did work hard, but I luckily also had enough time to travel and take days off. 

Sun, sea, beach and Hurricanes What is it like to live and work in Florida USA
Hawaii
Sun, sea, beach and Hurricanes What is it like to live and work in Florida 1 Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon
Sun, sea, beach and Hurricanes What is it like to live and work in Florida San Francisco
San Francisco

Future plans

For now, I don’t have plans to move out of the Netherlands, as I just bought my own first house, yay!

I have visited Florida a couple of times after I moved back home. Due to Corona, it has been 2 years already since I last went there, so I really hope to visit Fort Lauderdale this summer and my loves, the sun, sea and beach again 🙂 

I hope you liked reading the article and got some valuable information about what is like to do an internship in Florida. If you have any questions, don't wait and send me or Seyamaila a message on Instagram! -XOXO- Daphne

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