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Internship in Washington DC | 04 september 2017

Nienke Cliteur did her internship at Marriott Property at Tysons Corner in Washington DC. Read about her experience as manager housekeeping!

Washington DC

My first impression of Washington DC was that it would be a boring, political and grey city. I never visited the city before because of my assumptions. After I started working in the housekeeping department at a Marriott property in Tysons Corner (that is a 20 minute drive from the White House), I quickly noticed that my assumptions about the country, the culture and Washington were not realistic at all.

Manager Housekeeping

After a couple of weeks I became manager on duty and was responsible for 394 rooms every night. I met a lot of wonderful people within the hotel that were not as individualistic as I thought they would be. Within my department most housekeeping ladies were from Puerto Rico or Mexico. As a real hotello I thought my Spanish was on a very high level, but I quickly realised it was not. After several months I started to understand what the ladies were talking about.

My cultural "blooper"

During my role of supervisor I wanted to be taken seriously, but there was one time I failed big time. Around 5 pm all the housekeeping ladies came down to my office to get my signature. I was singing the Spanish song "una paloma blanca" (which I thought meant "a white bird") while the ladies gathered and started laughing and talking. First I had no clue what was going on so I kept singing and nodded back happily. After a while one of my closest colleagues who was born in El Salvador told me that "paloma" means something different in their country. I asked her what it meant and she said "paloma is the part that makes a human a man". I felt so dumb that I was singing that in front of everybody, but eventually my cultural awareness increased because of it. All the housekeeping ladies and men have been so good to me and all the associates really became my family for the past 6 months. I visited baseball games, went out for diner and visited many cities such as Chicago, New York, Orlando (Disney world), Miami and Key West. My time in the US really made me a different person with a much more open mind with regard to culture, politics, economics and the hospitality industry.

Housekeeping ain't no joke!

This quote I would like to share with all the people out there who think cleaning rooms is easy. Latasha told me once "Housekeeping ain’t no joke"!

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