Internship @ the Happiest Place on Earth

Every student is attached to a company or institution in the industry for internship in their final year of study.  A student from the Diploma in Aviation Management & Services (AMS), Natalyn Guam, was attached to Walt Disney World (WDW) in Orlando, USA, for her internship.  It turned out to be one of the most happy and enriching 3-months of her life.  She recollects her experience….

In my second year, my lecturer informed us about an internship opening at WDW.  I immediately applied for it, attended an interview with the Disney Ambassadors, and was selected! 

On 26 May 2014, my group of friends and I embarked on this wonderful journey to the magical land, USA’s Walt Disney World!  Besides the fun that we anticipated, we were all excited that we were going to spend months without our parents (Think: FREEDOM!).  

My friends and I were shown to our accommodation, which was the Commons Apartment, 1412.  It was summer then, so the day-time temperature was about 40°C, and it was raining most of the time. 

I got posted to Epcot’s Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure as an Attractions Cast Member.  I had to read a spiel and give a mobile device to the guests and help them on their mission to defeat the evil villain (Dr Doofenshmirtz).  I met many wonderful friends at my workplace and we usually hangout after work at AppleBee’s for supper and talks.  Americans are usually more friendly and open-minded!

With my American colleague, Jacqui

Towards the end of my internship, I was one of 4 Cast Members transferred to do Park Clearing.  The best part about being a Park Clearer is that, while we were doing our duty as a crowd controller, we were able to watch the spectacular fireworks show in Epcot! 

We all usually have different shifts so I spend some of my off-days going to the parks alone to collect signatures from different Disney characters.  In addition, my classmate, Cynthia, and I would usually indulge in buffets graced by Walt Disney characters, Pizzas at CiCi’s restaurant (can u imagine an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet for only US$5!!) or gobble down some pancakes at iHop’s, before heading for shopping!  Sometimes, when there are welcome pool parties at our apartment, we would join in after work to dance and relax!  

Natalyn (left) and Cynthia on a day out

I also had the chance to visit Universal Studios Orlando, where I indulged in the latest Hogwarts Express and the other Harry Potter roller coaster rides!  Dizzy, shaken, but not stirred!  It was a fantastic experience. 

At the end of the day, you might ask, what in the world has this internship got to do with your AMS diploma!  Well, plenty, actually.  There are many things that you can learn and benefit from!  For example, I like the chance to interact with visitors to the attraction, and we get to learn relevant service skill-sets – both from the training that we underwent, as well as our on-the-ground work.  My daily interaction with guests helped me to build up my confidence as well as acquire subtle skills in handling difficult situations and people.

As you know, service is very important in the aviation industry, as a passenger’s experience in the airport is one of the most important factors in building the airport’s reputation.  If you want to have the best airport in the world (which Changi Airport is!), then you must provide the best customer service to passengers! 

On a personal level, this internship gave me the chance to meet different people from all walks of life and to learn more about the different cultures.  It has also strengthened me and made me more independent and more outspoken.  So if you get a similar overseas internship opportunity in the course of your study here, grab it!!   

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