The best time of my life

Emiel's internship experience in Washington D.C.

"Up until that moment I was under the impression I was going to do an operational internship in the Food and Beverage department, but instead I was appointed as F&B Manager in Training on the first day."

Emiel Ritzen [F 2021] talks about his internship experience back in 2018 as F&B Manager in Training in the Watergate Hotel in Washington D.C. 

Four guys standing in front of a wall full of graffiti. Smiling and leaning on each other looking into the camera.
Emiel Ritzen (second to the left)

Getting used to

On Wednesday the 1st of August 2018 I stood at Schiphol Airport waiting for my flight to Washington D.C. Little did I know that the journey I was going to embark on, was going to be one of the best experiences of my life. The area of D.C. was a complete contrast to the calm environment of Maastricht, so arriving in the United States I felt fairly overwhelmed. But in a few weeks you get used to the sirens rushing by every few minutes and cars honking after someone didn’t see the light turn green within half a second. 

Sudden responsibilities

Finally, my first day at the Watergate Hotel started. Up until that moment I was under the impression I was going to do an operational internship in the Food and Beverage department, but instead I was appointed as F&B Manager in Training on the first day. This gave me a major confidence boost. Early on I received a lot of responsibilities which provided me with the ability to make my own schedule. Even though The Watergate Hotel was (and probably still is) a chaotic place to work, it was an amazing experience! I learned that managing staff is not as easy as it seems, and many different things have to be taken into account when dealing with employees. 

Future goals

Somehow, being out of my comfort zone and in a foreign country made me feel more alive. It meant that I was always prepared for the unexpected and constantly on my toes, no day was the same. I discovered that I loved this level of excitement and risk in my life. Eventually I came to the realisation that my future career needs the same experience and that that thrill can be found in entrepreneurship. So, in the end my internship in D.C. gave me a clear picture of what my goal and dream should be: owning a hospitality company.

Expectations

I hope that I have given you a sense of what the Hotel Management School Maastricht is all about. Personally I want to say; don’t expect to join this school and become the best chef or sommelier in your country. Even though we get trainings in the topics of food and beverage, the focus of this study for me was on something else. The HMSM for me is about developing your personality and turning every single student into a young and professional leader, regardless of your field of work. 

Emiel Ritzen currently works as a Startup manager at Café Restaurant Eindhoven.
 

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