2012: One Year On... My Industrial Placement!

What a difference a year makes! I was lucky enough to be selected by Hallmark Aviation Services to work at Newark Liberty Airport for Virgin Atlantic Airways. I loved being a fully-fledged Passenger Services Agent! What was I thinking going to live in the U.S.A for eleven months?! Embodying my fierce Britney Bitch persona helped me get along with Newark life! BB served!

Newark's Ironbound became my new home, showing me a whole new way of American living. Fast food restaurants were secondary after the Portuguese and Brazilian barbecue eateries that served the tastiest chicken, rice and beans! The realisation that I would be living in Newark for close to a year was incomprehensible after I had experienced my clean-cut summer at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando the previous year, but something told me this time around things became serious. 333 Lafayette St became my home, well one of the apartments did. Walking to work at 03:00 am through the mean streets of Newark became second nature, getting to know the nocturnal habits of Ferry Street put me in good stead ensuring my safe arrival at Newark Penn Station for my bus to Newark Liberty Airport. My flatmates and colleagues were Rebecca and Sarah, we had a colourful year! Bye Felicia!

So, after completing three semesters of my BA Hons Hospitality and Tourism Management Degree I choose to interview for a opportunity to be part of the Virgin Atlantic Airways ground operation at Newark's Liberty International Airport working as a Passenger Services Agent. Little did I know my love for the Newark Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse would be my ultimate favourite department from working at EWR. The airport was amazing for the most part, seeing the Virgin Atlantic Cabin Crew report for the VS2 and VS18 flights to London Heathrow gave me life, some of those fly boys were very easy on the eye! Building my fierce persona had to be done, people forget how to act properly when they are passengers so she pushed me forwards through those once daunting situations. Newark, New Jersey had edge so I appreciated the hustle of my colleagues who called the 'Brick City' home. Would I ever go back to airport life? I really don't know but it was an almighty experience! I will return.

Hopping over from New Jersey to NYC became second nature for me, I loved the 24 hour PATH train. Facing my fear of heights at the top of the Empire State Building. New York City enabled me to reunite with my Disney love Ritika! Our meetings were amazing, a series of meetings that I won't forget in a hurry! Tequila! You see this city in the movies. I actually saw this city for real! Nothing will ever compare! I also caught a baseball game at the Yankee Stadium in the Bronx! The feeling of standing in the middle of the action watching the lights of Times Square took my breath away, a site that was truly amazing! Throughout the year New York showed me many sides, some mesmerising and some not so nice but that's what life's all about! I tried to get outside of the tourist traps, Newark wasn't and still isn't a tourist trap so I lived that truth each every day during my placement year. I didn't regret the time that I didn't sleep because I was always out and about, playing tricks and seeing sights! 

Throughout my year I made sure I travelled to many places across America, I even crossed over the border to Canada twice! I left Jersey for the bright lights of Las Vegas for one weekend, it was a weekend that will remain with me for a very long time! I used every opportunity to take a short trip away to see something new, a new state or even a new country. I used all of my holiday allowance and even got an e-mail to prove it! My island holiday to Puerto Rico has to be my ultimate trip of the year! I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of my time in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Trying my best to sample the local cuisine and to not be rude by having a few too many margarita's, well one can never drink to much in my book! I know that I will always miss the streets of Newark, NJ! Newark and it's Ironbound taught me how to be, I wasn't made that Newark had an edge, it kept me on my toes. I knew where not to venture, those NJ 62 buses journeys to the airport always kept things fresh before the afternoon/evening shift! Newark was showing me a different side to the USA that I hadn't seen before 2012! 

I was the hostess with the mostest, serving as a Clubhouse Host in both the original and new Newark Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse. The new Clubhouse made me realise that my dream of having a long-term career within the airline Industry could become true! I have to say a huge 'Thank You' to the Clubhouse Manager for giving me the opportunities within the Virgin Clubhouse and believing in me! The Clubhouse gave me life, working with my sisters it made my mornings and evenings working at EWR. This experience did come with some stressful times and the odd struggle but as the 'New Joe' emerged I worked and served during my shifts at Newark Airport. I had my way with the guests as this job requires personality and flare this made my everyday job quite extraordinary! BB toned her vibe down but she knew her Upper Class flow! Yes, I saw many famous faces at Newark Liberty's finest residence.

Let's leave the work and the holidaying alone for one moment, one final component still has to be featured that made my Placement year so special. Fiorella Sanchez, Valerie Calinawan and Leah Alcid are 'My Honey Bee's and also my Virgin Clubhouse sisters. Without the love and support from my three lovelies I honestly don't know what I would have done. Leah's Filipino Thanksgiving celebration gave me the opportunity to experience something new! Mine and Valerie's Christmas Day was a time to never forget! Fiorella and I had a marvellous weekend in New Orleans before my departure back to England. I'm a very lucky boy! I don't want to forget the other friends I made when working at Newark Airport, you guys and girls are amazing! Paolo and Tom your my Brit lads, forever and always I shall remember our Newark days and our Las Vegas trip! Thyciria you will forever be my Virgin Clubhouse Queen! Teaka and Sharoya stay the way you both are! BB has love for you all!

A B*tch Was Born! 

Joseph Harrison


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