The experience of a lifetime

November 15, 2016

We all probably know of someone who has spent a summer in America working as a camp counsellor. Behind that great experience is a committed team of professionals supporting them from the word go...

“Doing what they’re doing can be a nervy or anxious experience,” explains Jamie Forbes, who heads up CCUSA’s Scottish office, which opened up at Nexus Business Space at the beginning of August.

Since 1985 the organisation has been connecting thousands of students with temporary jobs and internships overseas. Summer camps in North America are their specialty but they also arrange cultural exchange programs and internships in America, Canada, Russia and Croatia.

Making plans and calming nerves

“If a student is going to do a summer camp for the first time we sort everything for them,” Jamie says. “They have the option not to have us book the flight, but we recommend it because we can sort them to get to the door of the camp.

CCUSA is a national company, sending large numbers students overseas each year. To do that is a huge undertaking, helped by a unique status.

“We’re a J1 Cultural Exchange Visa sponsor - one of only two companies that have that status with the American government.

“That means we connect them, place them, get them the visa, help arrange travel.

“When they go to do their visa appointment we have also made sure they’re ready to do that.

“Once they’re in America or Canada we provide support. We provide a 24-hour hotline, just incase they have issues during the summer months when they’re over there. We’re there for them from the moment they apply to when they arrive home, hopefully with a big smile on their face.”

Breaking new ground

Despite being in Scotland for a number of years, they have just this autumn opened an office. They have done that here, at Nexus Business Space, having worked largely from home for around 31 years.

“It was important our clients, who are mostly students, were in an environment where they can be open and excited about going overseas since for many they can be nervous about going away on their own like this for the first time.

“When looking for a location for an office space when you deal with students, for us to be really easily accessible was really important. So this is great for people to pop in and see me, talk stuff over.

“The second thing was the Nexus space was very comfortable. Traditional office space, where there is maybe a suit culture, can be a bit daunting to our clients.

“Nexus is relaxed, the hub areas when you can sit down and have a coffee and a chat are ideal and the interior design suited our clients coming in and speaking to me. They don’t feel threatened but are just at ease and comfortable.

Thinking about sunshine

“It’s been great. Now we’re rolling into the heavier start of the season. Quite a few people have popped in to have a chat, so it’s been fantastic. I only really see it getting better as the cold starts to set in and people start to think about going away and doing something in the sun.”

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