How has this experience impacted your future?
Lam: This experience has been beneficial for me from the get-go. This is also exactly the type of internship that I was looking for, one that doesn’t require full Spanish fluency, but allows me the opportunity to improve my Spanish. It has only been a month so far, but I can already feel that my Spanish has reached another level.
Professionally, I have learned so much more about the tourism industry in general. This knowledge will be extremely beneficial for me when I return to Vietnam to open my own hostel. Academically, this internship is the perfect place where I can apply what I have learned from my first year of MBA.
Describe your program socially and academically.
Lam: My internship program is structured so that interns work six days a week with a day off. Interns can eat lunch at work and the food is made by the hotel’s kitchen staff when they are working. The program does not have much of a social aspect, but interns have sufficient free time on their own to explore nearby attractions and places. I have also made many new friends from the hotel and other places.
On the weekend, I tend to go to nearby towns to explore all the beauty of Mexico. I am planning to visit Chichen Itza in the nearby future as well. Academically, every working day is another day of learning for me. The learning is geared towards the hospitality and tourism industry.
What did World Wide Internships do for you and what did you need to do on your own?
Lam: World Wide Internships (WWI) was mainly responsible for making the connection between me and the hotel that I am currently working at. I believe that was the most important and valuable thing that came from WWI. They also provided me with guideline on what things I should bring along for my trip. The rest of the planning needed to be done by me, from booking plane ticket, arranging temporary accommodation, inquiring about applicable visa, to arranging for transportation to my destination.
There was a slight miscommunication between me and the staff at WWI that resulted in some extra costs on my side. I wish that there were more than one person that I could contact at WWI or the WWI representative would be more responsive to my emails and messages in a timely manner.
Do you feel you got a chance to see the city from a local's perspective?
Lam: Yes, very much. Even though the company put me in a room in one of their hotels on a crowded tourist street, I still have plenty of chances to explore and see the city from a local’s perspective. I have travelled to Merida, which is further away from the popular tourist destinations.
I believe that Merida is a quaint town with lots of history and there are fewer tourists. The city is filled with Mexican culture and history. The food is also very delicious and there is a variety of cuisines to choose from. I have also been to Tulum, a small coastal town that has Mayan ruins and beautiful blue-sky ocean. Overall, travelling around in Mexico is fun and educational.