Struggling with where to go on your internship? Not even sure where to start? And I bet you want to make the right decision? Maybe even, the perfect decision? Student Nav understands the struggle and will share her own tips & tricks with you here.
Well, let me tell you, the word ‘perfect’ in the title was pure clickbait, because the ‘perfect’ internship may not exist, unfortunately. But you can definitely have an enriching experience and a good time nonetheless, so allow me to walk you through the tips and tricks for choosing an unforgettable internship!
If you’re lucky enough to travel abroad for your internship (meaning that the ongoing pandemic doesn’t affect your cohort), make sure to really narrow down location-wise. Remember - this is the country you will spend 6 months of your life…and that’s a long time. You want to be at least somewhat acquainted with the culture, and be ready to adapt of course! Apart from a change in culture and a step outside of your comfort zone, you may want to consider the following:
These criteria become increasingly important with time as you may begin to feel a little homesick or out of place, especially when you’re busy working all the time and might not get the chance to have as much free time as you would have liked. Final internship? Then think about whether you can see yourself living here for longer than 6 months, because maybe you can secure a job with them after your internship is over!
Luxury? Business? Resort? The list goes on and on nowadays, so do your research! Where would your personality flourish, and where do you see yourself? Fortunately, you have your teachers and mentors all prepped with your TSI profiles and more than ready to give you a helping hand with this. Nonetheless, the decision is still in your hands, so begin thinking about which type of hotel makes you smile :) This is important because the last thing you want is to be feeling like you stick out like a sore thumb because you wanted to work at a casual holiday resort by the beach but are instead serving millionaires at the Burj al Arab. You may not know fully where you’d fit in best, but even the slightest idea will get you pushed in the right direction. For example, for me, I knew I preferred a hotel that I was able to express my personality in. When I eventually went on internship, I was in a place where I could be myself and learn! Plus - Hotel Management School Maastricht (HMSM) has a wide selection of different hotel types so you will be spoilt for choice!
By now, you’ve had a taste of what it’s like to work in different positions at the Teaching Hotel Chateau Bethlehem. Try and remember which departments had you at your happiest… and which perhaps had you not so cheery. I had an all round internship, which actually ended up being really fun! Even if you particularly disliked everything (or thoroughly enjoyed it all!), don’t worry because once again, the mentors at HMSM will be your guide and help you choose a suitable department to complete your internship in. If this is your operational internship, you can really draw from your experience at the THCB as those were operational experiences too! Even having a chat with a parent or a good friend might reveal where you might work best, maybe they envision you somewhere you hadn’t thought of yet? Give it a try!
This is an extremely personal choice for most, and it truly depends on you! While some internships offer “compensation” (which is like a salary), others may offer housing or transport costs, or maybe all! Or maybe none. Honestly, the best way to go about this is to really know your own terms and conditions and what you feel comfortable working for as you should keep in mind you’ll be working full-time for those 6 months. Generally speaking, full time refers to a 40-hour work week (so 8 hours a day for 5 days a week). However, this can be a little different depending which part of the world you work in. Some parts of the world will ask you to work longer hours, while others may let you off a little early. By doing your research and bearing in mind the requirements set by the school, you should make an incredibly educated decision on what you would like from your internship. Whether that be housing or compensation or maybe just the experience of it all - make sure to give this some thought.
Similar to point number 3 regarding your position at the hotel, you may want to also consider what your personal goals are. Where do you want to develop: people skills? Technical skills? With questions like these, you’ll be able to further answer which department you would like to work in which is why these tips work hand in hand with each other. If and when your personal goals are not lining up with the hospitality industry, this is where the school can step in and assist you to see the parallels you may be missing. So begin thinking - what do you want to get better at?
In the end, the internship can be hard work, but it is rewarding. Whether you learn exactly what you like or if you learn what you absolutely did not like - it is almost never an experience regretted by students as there is almost always something to take away from it. You will learn about the industry like never before and quite honestly, about yourself! It’s a time for personal development, growth, and a good time - so don’t waste this opportunity! Give it ample thought, sleep on decisions you can’t seem to make in the moment, and ask around for advice, personal stories, and help when you need it. And of course - the very best of luck to you!
Student Nav shares her tips & tricks about finding the perfect internship.
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