Complete newbie questions for 19 year old student interested in working

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    Hi there, I’m Jonathan

    I don’t really know anything about how this works or how one would work, but I read about the social and community dynamics of Antarctica (as well as the beautiful activities and animals to see outdoors. Penguins! Whales! Skiing! Hiking! )and I was really fascinated. I’ve now become interested in working in a non-sciencey or some other kind of no-experience-required type of job. I’m a 19 year old college student from Los Angeles, California with a major in communications, probably focused on creative writing. I realized down there you probably don’t need any novelists, journalists, or playwrights (or some dumb kid pretending to be either of the three) but I feel compelled to find something to do so I can go down there and experience an opportunity both rare and exciting.

    Questions: What would one do to be able to partake in this? I’ve scanned the board but it’s not particularly newbie friendly, lots of confusing slang for people with Antarctic experience in the previous threads. How would one go about getting this opportunity? Are college age and mid-20s a prevalent age group, or would it be super-awkward.

    Any information you guys could give me about getting on the ice and living it on it that would be my relevant to my case would be fantastic.

    Thanks so much,


    Jonathan —
    There are many threads on this discussion board that deal with getting hired.  Peruse a few more of ’em.
    If you haven’t yet, visit  That’s where all the current openings are listed.  (Use CO-Centennial for the location)  There are plenty of entry-level positions for persons just like yourself – DA (dining assistant), GA (general assistant), janitor (under Housekeeping), to name a few.  If you’re proficient with computers, maybe even Materialsperson (under Supply/Logistics).
    Be aware, though, that Raytheon is probably 2/3 of the way through hiring for the coming season.  It all started with the Job Fair, in late-March.  That’s not to say that there isn’t a good chance of getting a job.  People are always dropping out at the last minute, or having problems with their PQ (physical qualification), that prevents them from deploying.
    I’d apply for whatever position looks interesting.  You may get called, you may not.  You may get ‘hired’ as an alternate (a backup to the primary person).  If the person ahead of you drops, you’re in. 
    As far as info about the ice, check-out, and .
    As you get deeper into it, you’ll have more questions.  Just post ’em here.  There’s a number of us that monitor the site that will answer you.
    Good luck!


    This will be my first season working on the ice so I don’t know if my hiring experience is typical or not. I am going to be working as a janitor lead for the upcoming Summer season. Initially I applied by sending a copy of my resume to the HR person at Nana Services (not through the Rayjobs site). Since I didn’t attend the job fair and it was early April at the time I didn’t expect to hear anything back. But I very quickly got a response, answered some further questions, sent in additional paperwork and had an interview. Within two weeks I was hired as a janitor and on to the PQ process. A few weeks after I was initially hired I was asked to be a janitor lead. And that is the really shortened version of how I got a job in Antarctica. Before I applied though I made it a point to read just about every blog about working on the ice that I could come across and read through most of the messages on this community — they are a fantastic resource.

    Good luck!


    Yes, BTW – NANA Services is the sub-contractor for Station Services.  That inculdes Housekeeping, Food Services, Retail, and Rec (as it were).


    I currently work as an Usher at a concert venue, and I have previous experience working at a Grocery Store and a Toy Store as a Bagboy, cart collector, saleshelper, and other basic customer service jobs.

    Would any of this impress Nana?


    If you don’t mind washing dishes, or pushing a broom, you’re EXACTLY the person they’re looking for.
    You won’t make a fortune, but you’ll get a free trip through New Zealand. 


    I can’t be bothered to go look at a job description for GA/jano/DA – but suffice it to say that even at the entry level a certain amount of experience with specific tasks will be required – and if your application materials fail to show the proper experience for the required time, your application will never even be seen by a human.

    So….have a gander at the many job descriptions and their requirements and tailor your resume to match – if, for instance, a jano job requires 6 mos experience cleaning bathrooms and hallways – and it’s a pretty safe bet that part of your duties as an usher or bagboy included sweeping or cleaning, make sure that this experience is highlighted in your resume.


    What do you mean by off-station. Do you have to earn the privilege to go out on your free time and ski and go to the bar/coffee shop or the Australian station?


    Off-station means you get to get outta town.  It’s called a boondoggle, usually disguised as a working trip where they need an extra hand.  McMurdo is a fine place, but it’s good to get out of town every now and then.
    People are selected on a lottery-type basis.  Your supervisor will submit your name to the Chalet, and they’ll call if something pops-up.  No guarantees on anything, and take whatever they offer you.
    In your off-time, you’re free to do/go wherever you desire on-station.  Recreational activities abound, the bars will welcome you, and by George, if you want to go to the Australian station, you’re more than welcome to (however, you’d be walking about a thousand miles to get to it – we have a Kiwi (New Zealand) station a couple of miles away, however – unlike what we’re taught in the U.S., they really are two, different countries).


    I went to Happy Camper School.  I almost didn’t go, as I don’t like winter camping (I live in Michigan and used to winter camp in my youngin’ years).  I am glad I got talked into going, as it’s not every day you can say, ‘I went camping overnight in Antarctica!’ and during a Condition 2!
    Not only was it educational, it was that chance to get out of town.  And the fun we all had meanwhile, making our campsite the best, a wall to keep out the howling wind, our cookers going and watching the snow drift down calmly while just a few steps away, windier than all get out.
    Now the only problem was, when I got home my husband wanted to go Winter Camping!!!!!


    Yeah the isolation is a lot less than you think going in. You do work a long work week. 6 days a week 10 hours a day, but with 24 hour daylight and weather that continually warms as the season progresses, you will find tons of fun things to do as long as you keep an open mind.
    Woman on ice’s example is common. You can look at being stuck on the ice in a tent in a condition 2 storm as good or bad. She chose good and got a good memory out of it.
    A few winters ago, I got stuck in a vehicle out on the ice shelf for several hours as a condition 1 storm set in before we made it home. Those experiences are the real reasons you initially go to Antarctica. If you never experience them, you leave kind of sad.

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