United States, The Standard Hotel, New York

Hi Stenden students!

My name is Nicky Dullemans and I am doing my internship at The Standard New York. I am doing this internship for 12 months, which seems too long when you start and way too short when the end is near. I am interning in housekeeping where I am a housekeeping manager. You get a lot of responsibilities and not only expect you to be an intern, you are really here to manage the department. The department consists of about 65 employees of which many of them are Chinese. Which is a lot of fun, but it also takes a lot of patience due to the fact that for many of them Chinese is their first and only language. A day of work consists of making the housekeeper’s papers, dealing with guest complaints, walking guest rooms and guiding morning meetings. I do have to admit you have to work really hard; ten hour days, 5 days a week (6 if you have to). Aside from that the American culture is really individualistic and they tend to forget to work as a team. Luckily little things brighten up your day such as when you check the VIP arrivals and see that celebrities are arriving that day!
The Standard Hotel is amazing. I have never seen any hotel like it. The facilities make this hotel; a biergarten (beers, pretzels and a loud crowd), The Standard Grill restaurant, The Living room lounge, the gym, The Highline event space. And then there is the 18th and 19th floor. Where you have The Top of The Standard luxury bar, Le Bain (a crazy night club with a pool) and the rooftop (a great view of the city, cocktails and jacuzzi’s included).
Another fun part of this internship it that on your days off you get the chance to enjoy New York. There are so many things to discover about this city! You get to do all American things such as celebrating Halloween, going to the New York Knicks game, eat turkey on Thanksgiving and watch the fireworks on the 4th of July! Next to that, if you have any energy left, there is the possibility to go out every night of the week…
Four months to go and I do know that I am dying for a holiday. Work is long and hard and you have to take the internship very seriously. This has been an experience which I would have never wanna have missed. You learn a lot about you and what you want to do when you are finished with Stenden.
Very cheesy, but true: The experience of a life time!

United States, InterContinental New York Barclay

Frank Esmeijer

The Big Apple!

December 6, 2010 – New York

Hi, How are you?, is one of those typical American sayings, that you hear all over the place. It sounds pretty annoying, but as from the moment you start doing it yourself, you know you’re getting Americanized.

Well, my name is Frank Esmeijer, 4th year student at Stenden University, participating in the International Hospitality Management course.

Currently, I am living the American Dream!

As from last July, I work at the InterContinental New York Barclay. It is a classic, elegant hotel with lots of ambience and grandeur. It’s a very unique hotel in the collection of the IHG group, which includes Holiday Inn, InterContinental, Indigo and many more. The hotel has 686 rooms, one restaurant and one bar.

I was originally hired as a Food and Beverage Management Trainee.

As a Food and Beverage Management Trainee, you’re responsible for the daily operations of the outlets. The outlets include; restaurant, minibar, bar, room service and partially amenities. Shortly said, my duties including: running the shift (which my duty covers), scheduling, inventory, purchasing, billing, problem solving, meetings, forecasting, reservations, events and much more.

Positively, I’m working very close with many other departments, which ables me to get insight into their operations. Secondly, we are trained on budgeting, pay rolling, forecasting and other manager’s duties. Following, I work closely together, with the other managers and the director. And the employees see you as a full-time manager, taking decisions. It is a very learningfull experience, to be in ‘the city of dreams’ and work for a mega-operational company.

I must say, it is also an added value to work for a chain like IHG, who provides many benefits, opportunities and growth. Even internally on this internship, I have been rotated to departments like; housekeeping and conference services.

Unfortunately, the ‘New York Experience’ isn’t as bright as it sounds. I work a minimum of 50 hours a week, incidentally above 60. So as you can understand, it is working hard in a city that is stunning, living and thriving, but also exhausting and time consuming.

I have chosen to go to America to expand my cultural knowledge on business behaviour and city/country wise, after visiting and working in Europe & Asia. I specifically chose to work for a big chain, as explained above. All in all, I chose a combination (of job, company and country) that is rarely offered, but most outstanding and unique. Maybe to be honest, not my first choice, but definitely a great choice, that I won’t regret.

For the ones that are planning to go on internship, some tips: do not underestimate an internship, show all the best effort and attitude during your applications and most importantly enjoy and pick something you’ll feel comfortable with. But bear in mind: taking a different route (as I did), might bring you much more than you expect!

The Netherlands, Golden Tulip – EHP Hotels

Lijanne de Beus

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dear Readers,

My name is Lijanne de Beus, and I am 21 years old. I started the course ‘International Hospitality Management’ in 2006. During my time at ‘Stenden University’ I went to South Africa for six months to follow the minors ‘Wildlife and Lodge Management and I have been an active member of the student association ‘Io Vivat Nostrorum Sanitas’.
Nowadays I’m just about to finish my internship at ‘Golden Tulip – EHP Hotels’.
I am assisting Mr. M. Lindelauf during his daily activities as Managing Director of the six ‘Golden Tulip – EHP Hotels’. This internship is actually pretty exceptional while I am literally following Mr. Lindelauf everywhere he goes. We depart from his house in the morning and come back when his day is finished.
Mr. Lindelauf has tremendous experience within the Hospitality Industry while he has been General Manager of many well known hotels within the Netherlands, for example ‘Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky’ and the ‘American Hotel’, both situated in Amsterdam. While I work so close with this man, I have been given the opportunity to learn many things about working on management level within an organization during the last nine months.
Some activities I worked on are; setting up the budget files for the six hotels for 2011, marketing activities, designing new ‘banquet brochures’ for the six hotels, the setting-up of policies and procedures, writing the strategic plan for the organization, organizing the client event, attending meetings about the renovation of the six hotels, attending the General Managers meetings, attending Sales Meetings and many more interesting things.
If you are about to go on internship, make sure you have chosen the internship of which you think you can learn and benefit from the most with regard to your intended future career.
I have actually been surprised about how ‘small’ the hospitality world is within The Netherlands in terms of people knowing each other.
So my advice would be; make sure that you behave professional from the very first day, because even though you might be an intern, you will be working on your own network from day one!

Greetings,

Lijanne

Golden Tulip Loosdrecht, one of the six Golden Tulip – EHP Hotels

The Netherlands, Amsterdam, Strand Zuid

Lindsey Meyer

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

People may wonder why I have chosen for an internship in The Netherlands and not abroad. I could give you a simple answer; I based my decision on the function that l needed to fulfill, not the country that I liked the most. Well, before I tell you more about my function, I first will give a short introduction about myself. My name is Lindsey Meyer and I am 22 years old. Ever since I was a little girl, I always had a goal in my life; to go to Hotelschool The Hague. Finally, after doing the Intermediary Hotelschool in The Hague and selection (combined with a lot of stress), I managed to call myself a student of Hotelschool The Hague. Because I already had an intermediary degree, I did the Fast Track course, which lasted 2 years instead of the regular 4 years. This contains 1,5 year of theory and 6 months of a management internship. Students are free to chose where they want do to their internship, as long as it is a minimum of 5 months.

Like I mentioned, I am doing my internship in The Netherlands at Strandzuid. Strandzuid is a unique city beach in Amsterdam which covers an area of more than2,000 m² located between the RAI Centre and Beatrix Park in Amsterdam. Since its opening in 2005, the company has successfully established itself in the events and restaurant world of Amsterdam by distinguishing itself from other city beaches by virtue of the perfect mix of business and leisure.

Strandzuid provides several locations where different kinds of events can be given. My function during this management placement is being a Party Manager. It is my responsibility to manage the personnel on an event, keeping the upper control and overview and maintaining professional contact with the contact person and the kitchen. I am also the person where people can go to if they have any questions or remarks. Basically, I need to manage an event from A to Z whereby my team and I deliver a qualitative high product to the guests.

Currently, I am still working at Strandzuid till the end of August. I really recommend this company to do your management placement at, since this is a young and dynamic company where they have a pleasant work environment and where you can learn to develop yourself.

Spain, Majestic Hotel Group, Barcelona

¡Viva España!

Buenas días a todos!

Let´s start with introducing myself, my name is Hellen van Asselt and I am doing my internship in Barcelona. Before I decided to move the Netherlands and go to Spain, I always thought that I was going to do my internship within the F&B department of a hotel. That went a little bit different and I am an intern revenue management and E commerce in Majestic Hotel group.

I started the 1st of September 2011 with my internship for Majestic Hotel group and until now I am really satisfied with my position here. Choosing to leave the save position behind and try something new and different is definitely one of the best choices I´ve made.

I work from Monday to Friday, from 9 to 6, a typical office job. However, Barcelona has so much to offer that you almost need all weekends off to explore the city..!

During a working day I make pick up reports from the reservations and send it to the revenue manager. After that I am checking our distribution channels and implement the changes that are made in IDS for that day. Futhermore, I check our online rates, load new online travel agencies and do certain competition studies. Since the world of E-commerce is getting much broader within the hospitality industry it is great to have this opportunity.

Of course not everything is that simple as the way it looks. When you go to a foreign country you have to speak the language quite good in order to adapt in a company. On top of that, an internship is an internship and you will always be the ´trainee´.  This doesn´t have to mean a bad thing, but you have to show your interest and motivation in order to reach the goals you´ve set for yourself.  

At last I would definitely recommend to go abroad to do an internship. You are getting familiar with new cultures, new places and people.  I am very glad that I´ve chosen for a fantastic city like Barcelona. I am enjoying as much as I can while the summer is already getting started here..!

Hellen van Asselt

South Africa, Protea President Hotel

Maaike Amels

Monday, November 22, 2010
 

Dear Readers,

Well here I am, live from Cape Town to tell you something about my internship. As a first year student I already knew that I wanted to do my internship abroad. Where that would lead me got clearer in my third year, when I decided to go to South Africa. I applied for a hotel and got accepted by the Protea President Hotel in Cape Town.

South Africa and especially Cape Town attract me because of the great dynamics the country and the city represent. It is a country that is developing and will become bigger and more important each year. Cape Town has a lot to offer, the beautiful views of the sea and the mountains but also the energy of a big city. All the people are very friendly and nice, they made me feel very welcome. All in all I can say that Cape Town is everything I expected and much more.

At this moment I have been working in the Protea President Hotel for 2 weeks. This is a 4 star hotel with 349 rooms and it is rated as one of the best and more upscale hotels in Cape Town. I am accepted as an all round trainee. This means that I will get to see different departments where I will hopefully learn as much as possible. I start with two weeks in housekeeping followed by two weeks in Guest Services. Then I will start working at the reception for 2 months. In the beginning of February I will start working at the reservations department. After that I will probably work in marketing and accounts and maybe some other departments. After three years of IHM I still have no idea which departments and functions within the hotel I really like and that is why this internship is perfect for me. I get to see a lot of different sides of the hotel, which I like a lot.

After two weeks I can already see a difference with working in the Netherlands and working in South Africa. In the Netherlands everybody is always busy, Dutch employees work efficient and fast. In South Africa it is harder to get things done and employees do tend to be a little slower during their work. One thing is the same in both countries, working to create the best guest service. In the President Hotel they have three basic principles. Respect for human dignity, the best guest service and in search of excellence. That is the main goal for every employee and I think they do strive to achieve this goal. The atmosphere within the company is very good and I hope that I will be able to learn a lot during this internship.

I can recommend an internship in Cape Town to everybody. There is so much to learn within the internship but also of the country and everything it has to offer. I will be able to enjoy it for 10 months and I am looking forward to everything that is yet to come.

Kind Regards,

Maaike Amels

South Africa, Cape Town International Convention Centre

Vivienne Adam

Friday, May 21, 2010

My Name is Vivienne Adam I am 24 years old and I was born in Germany but my mother is South African and my Father is German. That is why I chose to do my internship in South Africa. I lived near Durban before and worked as a Wedding Coordinator in a hotel. After this experience I knew that I want to come back to this amazing country. I have been to South Africa quite often because most of my family lives here, which also was a reason for me to do my internship in South Africa. I am working as an intern in the International Sales department, which deals with all the International bookings of the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). The main task of the international Sales department is to get all kind of international conference to Cape Town and the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Therefore I have to do a lot of research for previous conferences which the CTICC could host in the future. I chose to work at the CTICC because I am very interested in the convention section and organizing events. My actual plan was to work in a hotel in the convention department but that was not possible so I started at the CTICC which was not a wrong decision. The work is very diversified and I learn new things every day.

Furthermore the working climate and conditions are different to European countries, beginning with the salary and ending by the social work that is done within the company. Every Friday before the employees get paid the company is organizing a small staff party called Poor Man’s Friday where the staff can stop working one hour earlier will get snacks and drinks which are provided by the CTICC. Furthermore a Social Committee is organizing events every few weeks, like a movie night, hiking on Table Mountain and at the moment they are planning a soccer tournament.

I am in South Africa now since nearly three months and I already discovered a lot in and around Cape Town. I learned a lot about the different cultures and characteristics of South African people. I discovered that the people in this country are very religious and go to church like nearly every Sunday, or even twice a week and there are a lot of different religions in the City. Most people are Christian or Moslems. At the convention center everything is Halaal and it is not allowed to bring any non Halaal food in the building. The Capetonians, as they call themselves are mostly colored. In South Africa you have white, black, colored and in the east like in Durban are also a lot of Indian people. Every time I have to fill in a form or anything at work I have to say which race I am, which I think is very strange because they want to treat every person the same way.

As I have been to South Africa already 6 or 7 times and also worked there, it was not new for me so it was also not so exiting as it might be for people or students who come to South Africa the first time. But I also had a very exiting moment and that was when I picked up my World Cup Tickets. I am a really big soccer Fan and I was so disappointed when I didn’t get tickets for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. But this time I got tickets for two games, the first one, Germany against Serbia, is in Port Elisabeth which is about 800km from Cape Town and the other one is in Cape Town. It will be the quarter Final, and which Germany will play in if they become first of their group. The World cup will definitely be a very exiting period of my stay here in South Africa. When travelling to Port Elisabeth we will drive along the Garden Route which is a very beautiful route along the coast line of Western Cape.
Talking about the culture in South Africa it can be said that it is very different as in Europe as there are so many different cultures coming together. South Africa has 11 official languages, English is the main language even though it is not the most spoken language in the country. Furthermore the South Africans have a language that is called Afrikaans which is a mixture of English, German and Dutch.
Looking at my social life and different trends I realized during my first couple of months are for example that people always get together to have a Braai (Barbeque). This is very popular in South Africa, everybody brings something to eat and to drink and you just have a good time with your friends.

A very big trend at the moment is of course the soccer. Normally only a few people are interested in soccer in south Africa, they are more into Rugby and Cricket but these days I realised that everybody is trying to get tickets for the World Cup and they are getting information about other teams and the rules and not everybody but a lot of people are very exited to host the 2010 World Cup.
Especially in Cape Town it is very popular to go to the beach and have a walk and look at the sunset. As I leave directly at the beach I am there nearly every day to look at the beautiful scene of Table Mountain and the sun setting down next to the mountain. Most Capetonians, as they call themselves, can surf and are on the water as often as they can. The water is just freezing cold as we have the Atlantic Ocean on this side of Africa. If you drive to the other side of Cape Town the water is much warmer as the Indian Ocean is hitting that side.
Regarding clothing trends I would say it is very similar to the European trends. Girls walk around in winter boots even if there are 25C outside.

For me the time in South Africa is a great opportunity to get some experiences in a different work environment then in Europe. I think this will help me find a job in the future as a lot of companies appreciate it if a person worked in a foreign country and also is willing to travel and work in different countries, especially in the hospitality industry.
For the future I do not have any specific plans what I would like to do in 10 years time. Other I know that I want to work on a cruise liner and on Sansibar within the next years. Further I just let the future come towards me. Maybe I like it so much in Cape Town or South Africa that I will stay. If my parents would decide to go back to South Africa I probably would decide to move back to South Africa too.

China, Wyndham Grand Plaza Royale, Hangzhou

你吃饭了吗? Have you eaten?

Wyndham Grand Plaza Royale, Hangzhou, China

I am sure you have an opinion about Chinese people and their culture! “They all look the same, they always copy everything for school assignments, four generations are living together under the same roof, they eat ‘lice’ instead of rice, and everything is always ‘Yes yes’.” I think you can guess but I am completing my internship in China!

My family, friends and also fellow students declared me insane when I told them my country of choice for the first time. “Why would you want to go there?!!!” “That culture is too strange” “What will you eat?” “Aren’t you afraid?”

I could tell you all about that I was scared: how I would be leaving my home country and its culture for 10 months, to move to a host culture that was … well to be fair: the exact opposite of my own culture AND personality.

But I won’t. I’d like to tell you about how amazing China is. I can say, choosing to go to China for my internship has been the scariest, craziest and most amazing decision of my life. So far I am 8 months in, still 2 months to go but I have already learned so much, met  wonderful and inspiring people, and had funny, confusing, challenging and frustrating experiences, that all have added so much value to my time here in this crazy, fast growing, spitting country.

So in July 2011 I started my internship with the Wyndham Grand Plaza Royale Hangzhou, as a Front Office Management Trainee & Guest Relations Officer. I work 5 days a week, on average 8 hours a day with sometimes over time. In all honesty, it didn’t quite go the way I had expected it. If you are considering to go the China (whichever city or company), make sure to bring a lot of patience. I started my job with high expectations and a lot of excitement. After my training period and getting into the second phase of cultural shock I started to see everything without the ‘pink glasses’. I am used to working hard and being challenged, but the job was not challenging at all. However, working together with my Chinese colleagues became a challenge on its own.

Luckily, my enthusiasm, excitement, interest for China and desire to challenge myself on a personal level, outweighed my fear and frustration and helped me to overcome the difficulties that I had.

Just some of the things I encounter in this fascination country, filled with paradoxes and extremes: One day, a tree in front of our hotel had to be removed. Where in the Netherlands a crane, truck, and digging machine would do the work, I saw 14 workmen in nice orange work suites gather around the tree. First one guy climbed into the tree, cute of all the branches with a hand axe. Then, 2 guys with hand axes started to cute done to tree which was caught in some sort of a blanket and lifted into the truck by the fourteen guys. Then, the roots of the tree needed to be removed: one guy with a shovel started to dig away the earth while 13 guys and an iron chain started to ‘1-2-3-PULL’ the roots out of the ground, to then lift the roots after 2 hours of pulling into the truck. I call this: productive!

Then there is the aspect of ‘Yes’. Before I came here I did quite a bit of research about the Chinese culture and read/heard a lot about always saying yes. I though, cocky ignorant me, ‘It cannot be that bad, can it?’ Well, it can. “just tell me, can you do it yes or no? maybe, maybe later.” I think overall Western people will not be able to understand until they have experienced it themselves. Even the smallest things, for me at least, like asking someone for dinner or a movie, is answered with maybe/some other time/etc. It takes getting used to, but I am starting to appreciate it: it has its own charm although during work, while being in a rush, it remains a challenge.

Another overall assumption about Chinese: Chinese employees are hard workers. They are, but … only for the responsibilities assigned to them. As soon as they get more responsibilities, without a promotion or pay raise they will think that the manager/person in charge wants to see him/her fail; as more responsibilities means more things were mistakes can be made. Also, they can work very quick and efficient but only if it goes according to ‘standard operating procedure’, which in the hospitality industry, encountering human beings, is highly unlikely. As soon as something goes different, for example a guests asks questions at the ‘wrong time’ of check in, the staff panics; if a guest has a compliant or does not agree with the suggested compensation/solution, panic. In addition, rather than helping the guest, they will try to find out WHO made the mistake and start pointing fingers ‘it’s not my fault’.

Even though in the beginning I didn’t find the job challenging, I was blind to the biggest challenging of all: the culture and its people. Working and Living in China has made me more patient, as there are many more aspects of this culture like the ones stated above, that will make you wonder. Going abroad has definitely opened my eyes and enriched my life. Though, I do want to emphasize that you are responsible for your own happiness and success. Going abroad, means YOU have to adapt, not the culture or the people [especially in China], and this is sometimes difficult to accept. Don’t expect that things go the way you want them to go, learn to accept that and see the beauty in what you can learn from others: learn about your new culture (so for example, instead of ‘how are you?’ ask ‘Have you eaten?’)

I would definitely recommend you to visit China is you ever had the chance. Although the above might have scared you a bit, if you want to go abroad you need to stand with two feet on the ground and take everything into consideration: the good, the bad and the ugly. I am very glad I have made to choice to go the China; I am seeing this amazing country and all its developments with my own eyes. It is an experience I will never forget.

 

Annemien Schipper

Aruba, Manchebo Spa & Beach Resort

Jurjen Vernooij

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dear readers,

My name is Jurjen Vernooij, I am 23 years of age and currently working and living on Aruba. I work at the Manchebo beach and spa resort. Manchebo is located at Eagle beach and has the largest and prettiest beach of Aruba as you all can see on the pictures.

I work at Manchebo as an F&B manager trainee. This means I am responsible of the daily operations of our 2 dining restaurants and our lunch beach bar. When you read F&B manager trainee your probably think; I’m an apprentice in a foreign country working in the F&B department, he will be serving guest all the time, working long hours and never do anything management related.

Well, normally I would have thought that too, but here at Manchebo things work a little different. I have my own office here and I get my assignments directly from the General manager. These assignments are mostly related to the things we learn at school, for example: Financial horizontal analysis, benchmarking, menu engineering etc. When I am not working on these assignments, I organize staff meetings in the different outlets to see how we can improve.

When you decide to do you internship in a foreign country, you always come across culture differences of the hosting country and the hosting company. Here on Aruba the major differences with Holland are that everything goes a bit slow and if something is not finished on the same day it will be postponed to the next day.  Usually it is normal to come in late when you make an appointment. But I think I can get used to these differences and this life style.

Another important fact I want to share with you, is that the average temperature here is around 30 degrees every day and the sun shines around 9 hours a day.

Kind regards,

Jurjen Vernooij