Anders Peter Thomsen traveled from Denmark to intern in Zanzibar, a tropical island off the coast of Tanzania, East Africa. He participated in a 12 week Tourism & Hospitality internship with Intern Abroad HQ in a boutique beachside hotel. Sound dreamy? Read on to find out how he found stepping out of his comfort zone to experience a new culture, workplace and life abroad!
This Tourism & Hospitality internship gave me the opportunity to develop my capacities in a management role. I was able to test my ability to deliver messages and instructions in a way that feels comfortable with other people. I also gained insight into how many different departments work, while developing my cultural intelligence from working within a culturally diverse environment. All of this supports my dream of a career abroad. My ambition to work abroad has only been confirmed during my internship in Zanzibar.
Settling into my internship in Zanzibar, Tanzania
The first week of my internship experience was great! I got a really good impression of Tanzanian culture in Zanzibar. I like the way that the locals communicate with each other and how they met me. It has been easy to make friends that I can talk to, both at the internship placement and within the local village. The most memorable moment during the first week was going home from the internship placement in a 8-10 person bus, with 19 people inside the bus and 3 hanging on the back!
Day to day activities on my Tourism & Hospitality internship
Each day, there was clear communication about what the different departments needed to get done. I was at my best when I walked around catching up with the different departments and monitoring their day. This gave me the chance to make connections and contacts with different people, problem solve and get fresh ideas.
As I developed familiarity and context within my role, I gained more responsibility than I had anticipated. I was involved in stock control, inventory, development of SOPs (operating procedures), coming up with new ideas, communicating with staff across different departments, administrative management and human resource management.
In my free time, I really enjoyed going to the beautiful beaches and relaxing!
Getting out of my comfort-zone
During my internship, I had to give feedback to other staff on some uncomfortable things, like what needed to be done to improve. There were also some situations where I had to support guests with complaints. In all cases, I worked on delivering information in the best way possible. I proved to myself that I can communicate effectively and keep people motivated, despite any differences in culture and background.
Developing my cross-cultural communication skills
I recommend that interns make an effort to learn the basics of the local language and social etiquette and try to build from there. It’s also important to be yourself. You need to feel comfortable and allow yourself the chance to learn from your surroundings, so you are an active part of the cultural exchange.
The staff were all very welcoming and open to me. They asked me questions about where I am from and we chatted about their lives too.
If I had to explain something to someone with whom I didn’t share the language, I used my smart phone, either to find pictures or use a language translation app. I would also physically demonstrate something, if I needed to make it clear what I wanted to communicate.
Key learnings from my internship abroad
Through my internship in Zanzibar, I obtained a good understanding of the different challenges and opportunities that there are in the Tourism & Hospitality industry here. The experience broadened my network and sparked my interest in pursuing my own ideas. The most important thing I realized here is that I want to work for myself. I learned that there is such excitement obtained from working with your own ideas and I think it’s time for me to pursue that!
If you’re considering doing a Tourism & Hospitality internship in Zanzibar…
My advice is to be open and humble. It’s important to show that you can take part in the real work. Show interest in the job and the team you are working with. The more you give, the more you will receive back. I had a great time because I carried out my own task and asked for more. You can get valuable experience and personal growth when you are ready to get out of your comfort zone. Just enjoy your time in Zanzibar! It’s always over far too soon. And learn some Swahili, it will work wonders!
How can I get started?
Our step-by-step guide on how it works provides you with more information on how to get started. The process is user friendly and there are two options you can take to get the ball rolling.
If you’re unsure of which internship program is right for you, you can simply check availability to submit an enquiry which will help us to point you in the right direction. If you want to chat over the phone, you can also find our full contact information here.
If you already have an idea of what you want to do, and when you want to do it, you can submit your application. It doesn’t cost anything and won’t take more than 5 minutes. However, your formal expression of interest provides the foundation for us to help you take the next steps.