Tag Archive for: Hospitality Internship

Roshni Patel, Sydney Internship—Hospitality Track

Australian BeachInterned in revenue management at Hilton, Sydney, Spring 2014

I studied in Sydney, Australia on the Hospitality Track as I am pursuing a dual degree with both SHA and SMG.

Internship: I was the Revenue Management Intern at the Hilton Sydney and concentrated in their Food and Beverage operations. One of the main projects I had was to develop a SWOT analysis for their five food and beverage outlets. I also worked closely with the Assistant Director of Revenue Management to help develop Excel templates that would help forecast F&B revenue and covers more accurately as well as identify need periods for potential marketing opportunities.

I Learned: I’ve always placed a high priority on academics, but studying abroad showed me how to balance both life and academics, having fun while working hard. I found that learning another culture is just as important as learning in the classroom. I’ve realized that my perspective on life has changed, and I now remind myself not to stress over the little things and am better at enjoying life in the moment.

Also, studying abroad opened my eyes to a new world of different perspectives. Living in the USA, we often get caught up in our own lives and view work, life, and many other things with a perspective similar to that of our peers’. We forget that there are billions of other people living their lives just a little bit differently than we do, people who have different priorities in their lives than what we’re used to. Although it seems like common sense, the realization is hard to come by unless you experience a new culture first hand. The realization that there is so much more to life than just going to college or work is very important nowadays, particularly in a world as global as the one we live in today. There is so much to learn on this planet: its people and their cultures.

Australia Groupat HarborWhat Surprised Me: How much culture Australia has. It may not be as diverse as the States or be considered a melting pot, but the lifestyle is still very distinct. I was surprised at how difficult it can be to understand Aussies even though they are speaking English. They also have many slang words, and it can feel overwhelming trying to keep up at first.  For example, their language is different. They have slang words for everything from afternoon (arvo) to breakfast (brekkie) to McDonalds (Macca’s).

Hardest Part: I think the hardest part to deal with was how expensive Sydney was. It’s so easy to fly through your budget because you want to do everything and try new things, and everything starts to add up very quickly. It definitely helped keeping a budget and keeping track of all my expenses.

Best Part: Queenstown, New Zealand. I also went sky diving and bungee jumping (Nevis Bungy) here and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life.

Another amazing part was the scenery of Sydney; there are lots of coastal walks and beaches to go to, so make sure you take advantage of them, especially in the during the summer months (towards the end during fall semester and the first few months during spring semester).

My Tips: 

  • Keep a budget! It will help you space out your spending appropriately.
  • Shop at Coles for money-saving grocery trips.
  • Take out is a few dollars cheaper than actually eating at the restaurant.
  • Take advantage of the weather in the first few months and with your long weekends. It gets much harder to do things in April, especially with the weather and working full time and taking a class.
  • Use backpacker’s world or other backpacker travel agencies for your trips! They give pretty decent deals, especially when going with a group of friends.

Alexa Tom, Madrid Internship

Interned in Hospitality and Event Planning at Cat’s Hostel, Spring 2014Alexa Madrid Hostel

Internship: Twice a week I interned at Cat’s Hostel in the city center of Madrid. Some of the requirements I had to do were check guests in and out and manage room reservations, and also plan weekend events and parties for guests. For Valentine’s Day, we made invitations for every guest inviting them to a sangria fountain party in our lobby that included typical Spanish tapas. I loved my internship because hostels are very laid back. Also, my coworkers came from Spain, Italy, Argentina, and France, so I learned a lot about their backgrounds and got to spend time interacting with guests as well. 

I Learned: Two things I learned from this experience were one, really emphasizing the fact that knowing more than one language is a huge advantage in any situation whether it was traveling outside of Spain or in my case, during my internship where I worked in a hostel and people from all around the world were coming to stay. The second thing I learned was—while the norm for most people my age in the United States is to go to a university, maybe go to grad school, and then eventually work—there are also tons of young people meandering around the world before or after their studies. These people have learned so much about other cultures and lifestyles and really being open to adventure, which I’m definitely envious of since sometimes we can be so focused on ourselves and working nonstop, not taking the time to step out of our bubbles.

What Surprised Me: What surprised me the most about my time abroad was how the crisis in Spain has really affected the majority of Spaniards. Students continue to study until their late twenties if they want to be successful in the future, and many students usually study close by to home and still live with their parents to save money, but in turn this makes the family connections in Spain much stronger than in the US.

Hardest Part: The hardest part of my experience was managing time between traveling and exploring and studying. There are so many festivities, events on the weekdays, places to visit in Madrid as well as cheap weekend getaways to nearby countries, but it’s important to know that classes come first. All my classes covered my CAS requirements and were all taught in Spanish, so the variety of themes in my classes were very interesting, and I could use what I learned in class to understand the Spanish culture even more. 

Best Part: The best part of my experience was getting to know native people! I LOVED my host family, a mom and her daughter my age, and still keep in contact with them. Not only were they the sweetest, most caring people ever, but also I was forced to practice Spanish every single day. It’s definitely improved. I became friends with other native people in studying in Madrid, and I learned the most from them by just talking and comparing the different cultures, and experiencing their everyday lifestyle. Spanish people are so loving and welcoming, greeting someone with a kiss on both cheeks was much warmer than a handshake. 

My Tips: The main tip I have for those studying abroad is to try everything! From food (even when you have no idea what it is when you order it), not being afraid to talk to Spanish people, and really branching out to not only discovering the main attractions, but also wandering and getting lost in the city. There’ll be times when you miss home and American lifestyle, but you have to be open to how life is in Spain and adjust to their customs to make the most of your experience.  

Alec Fong, Madrid Management Internship Program

Alec’s Homestay location

Intern in Accounting and Hospitality in the Restaurant and Hotel Industries, Spring 2012

Internships: I had a pretty interesting experience with the internships. At first, I was placed in the accounting department of a company that owned a group of restaurants. A lot of the work was basic, but that’s because the company wanted to ensure that I had a good work ethic and could prove myself before giving me other responsibilities. I had a previous internship in accounting back here in the United States, so I asked to be put in another accounting internship.

My second internship was helping out the manager of a restaurant and learning about running a restaurant. That included verifying bills, helping customers, and the like. Due to complications with management there, I was moved to a hostel where I was a receptionist. That was by far my favorite job as I got to interact with many different travelers from different parts of the world. I even checked in a guest in on my own and explained all the rules of the hostel. Maybe the only down side to this internship was that I spoke a lot of English since it is a very international language. Although I had these experiences, the internship placement team over in Madrid will always work with students to make sure they’re content with what they’re doing.

I Learned: In the Madrid program, we were all placed into home stays, unlike other programs where students were all bunched together in a dorm. For this reason, I learned how to be extremely independent and not afraid to ask questions to get where I needed to be or to find out how to do something I needed to do. This ranged from cultural interactions to asking which train to take to get home. I also learned how to communicate effectively in another language (expressions, study terms, slang, etc)! There is no other substitute to being surrounded by those who speak the native language.

Comparing/Contrasting to Other Work Experiences: Spain was very different. A lot of the technology was older than that in the United States. People there were generally more relaxed about their jobs and followed tradition. Smaller shops opened around 9/10am, closed for a long lunch from about 2pm-4/5pm, and re-opened until closing time at around 7pm or earlier. Banks closed around 2pm every day and were rarely open on the weekends.

Hardest Part: Studying at a university level in Spanish was probably on the top of my list. Learning finance terms in Spanish wasn’t easy, but some parts were easier since numbers are the same in every language. Professors were generally more willing to help international students, but it was still difficult since some class grades were based off of one cumulative final exam. (I believe this system is getting changed next year.) Study hard!

Best Part: Adjusting to the Spanish culture and living in Spain for five whole months was the absolute best part of my experience. I learned to study in another language, explore the city like a local and know the transportation system like the back of my hand. Being in Europe for that long also meant that I got exposure to a variety of different cultures as well as the opportunity to be able to travel to neighboring countries.