Staff Spotlight: Daniël R.C. Altena Blom

Representative: Recruitment & Career Development for Eurasia
Daniël is born Dutch, 26 summers ago, but quickly started to spread his wings; he has lived in several countries, adapted to different cultures and speaks a wide variety of languages. With his background in Leisure, Tourism, Events, Hospitality and Strategy, he combines a highly service-oriented and creative background with an honest and open-minded attitude. He believes that everyone deserves the chance to gain decent and new experience before taking the next step to a professional career.

Did YOU intern abroad?! If so, where and what inspired you to go?

guy at internship abroad fair

Daniël: I have been an intern in one of the most luxurious and prestigious hotels on the globe, in the Caribbean. The experiences, the very high quality standards, and everything else I've learned there are still a benefit for my daily life. I carry it with me and open doors that otherwise would've been closed and I still call the Caribbean my home.

Other learning projects I have done were in Bulgaria and Portugal. They were related to event organizing, leadership, and creating a successful something out of nothing.

What inspires me to intern abroad is immersing yourself in a new environment, a different culture, and getting lost in new places that you don't know and languages you (sometimes) don't speak.

Why is language learning and cultural immersion important to you?

Daniël: You can only really understand someone else´s ideas, reasoning, way of thinking, decisions, etc., if you understand his or her language, cultural background, beliefs and underlying thoughts. Communication is what connects the world and what makes it a better place. Learning different languages and immersing yourself in cultures that are not yours, will benefit your creativity, your communication skills, and broaden your horizon. Realizing that the world that you see outside the window of your bedroom is not the only truth, and getting lost in other realities, is the only thing that will really enrich your worldview.

What was your favorite traveling experience?

Daniël: I cherish so many valuable experiences. We have climbed an active volcano when it became dark already, and a few days later it erupted. Lake Atitlán in Guatemala was a stunning breath taking view from aside, above, and from the boat itself. Drinking world quality cocktails on a high rooftop in downtown Prague, perhaps Europe's most gorgeous city. Or spontaneously crossing the border from Spain to Morocco, unprepared and for the first time on African soil; traveling all the way down south, until we had a return travel that included train, bus, boat, plane, taxi, metro, and basically all other kinds of transportation.. Only helicopters and hovercrafts were missing. Each travel experience becomes a new favorite memory!

What language have you always wanted to learn and why?

Daniël: I would like to put more effort in Arabic, as I believe that it is becoming a more important language. Russian also seems to be very valuable to speak, at least I am able to read the Cyrillic letters, but what I am saying? Last but not least, I have no idea why I speak basic Turkish, but it is a fun language and a great country, so definitely looking forward to improve my Turkish language skills!

What changes would you make to the intern abroad industry?

Daniël: I would make it more personal and transparent. Every individual looks for something else and want to know the exact offers before applying. It is becoming easier for students to find internships due to better connections, much more social networking opportunities online, and because it becomes easier to travel from one country to another. Competition is growing and the intern abroad industry need to step up its game in order to keep meeting the growing expectations of its target audience. Only those who adapt the best will survive.