If you love to travel and see the tourism and hospitality industry as a way to see the world and learn about new cultures, read on! International internships in Tourism and Hospitality allow students and recent graduates to deepen their skills, develop confidence and gain new contacts. Learn more about Emily’s experience with Intern Abroad HQ and find out how she explored her career path after college.
Hi Emily! What was it like getting started with this Tourism Operations internship?
The first week of my internship was more or less how I imagined it would be. I met a lot of people and it was a little bit of a struggle to remember everyone’s name. I got stuck in by researching and getting a better understanding of the product, the affiliated museum, and how it all relates to the local area. I got to learn how to make an Irish coffee at the bar, which was really exciting!
Can you tell us more about your internship placement in general?
My Tourism Operations internship was with one of Dublin’s historic attractions and museums, located in the heart of the city. The themed attraction includes a bar and tasting rooms, historic exhibits, and a souvenir shop.
As an intern, I had the opportunity to do a lot of different tasks and I loved that some days were more structured and some days I got to bounce around and try new things! I learned so many things about myself and what parts of the industry I enjoyed more than others. I assisted and supported day-to-day operations throughout the museum. Some of these tasks include reception, managerial tasks, and social media marketing/content creation.
I took the bus and walked to the internship placement throughout the week. There were a few other interns at this placement and they were from various different countries, so there was a multicultural variety of people and ideas. The company has a target market of international travelers so there are a lot of varieties of people to interact with during the day.
What were some unexpected aspects of the internship experience?
It was really refreshing to see how nice everyone is. I was told that Irish people are very nice but I was expecting this level of niceness. Ever since boarding the plane to fly over people have been incredibly nice to me and gone a little out of their way to help me out. In Ireland people are, in my opinion, more open to difficult conversations as well, and are willing to talk about things in a calm manner.
My expectation when I got here was that they would have everything laid out and kind have daily tasks for me to do each day. However that wasn’t the case for me - they do give you a guideline packet to follow, but they also let me pick and choose what I wanted to be involved with.
I wish I would have researched a little more on the work environments in European countries prior to coming to Ireland for this internship. For some reason in my mind I thought it would be a little more “strict” with lots of rules. However that is not the case, as during my internship at least, I was encouraged to take some initiative and work in a productive why, that works for me. The managers were really open to ideas and suggestions, which in my experience is very different from traditional American workplaces.
Did you encounter any challenges that you needed to overcome?
The main thing I struggled with was the range of different accents, as well as being able to articulate myself, as sometimes I found that when I was talking, my ideas and other things weren’t always coming across the right way. The way I speak and my own dialect is very different from a lot of the people I collaborated with in the office, so sometimes we really don’t understand each other. However, this can be expected when you’re navigating international relations and multicultural working environments, so we kind of had to over-explain some things to get the point across.
One unexpected situation that arose was in regard to the internship tasks that the company wanted me to work on. It is about marketing, such as social media and content creation. I struggle with marketing aspects so those tasks really challenged me. I also thought that my role within the Tourism Operations internship would be more front-facing and around people, so I had to get used to the idea of not being around people so much. It also was a little bit of a challenge to get creative and try to come up with ideas that haven’t already been done for the company.
What were your most significant takeaways and learnings from this internship?
I feel more empowered to be successful in my field, as I was able to work with all different types of people throughout this program and we all worked well together. Also, by interning abroad I realized that I am more willing to relocate for a job and that, I feel like is a big plus in my field.
This placement really helped me to see what I enjoy and what I don’t enjoy about the industry. It also helped me expand my skill set into that marketing area of the hospitality industry. I dealt with some international guests during my placement so I think my skills are getting better in regards to international communication, which I think will really help me in the future, especially if I go into a part of the industry that deals with more international guests.
My favorite memory from the program was definitely working on a murder mystery event that we developed as a promotional tool for the company. We spent weeks on it and we made a bunch of props and things to use throughout the event. I’m super proud of all the work we did!
Throughout this last year of school and deciding what career path I’m going to take I’m going to keep in mind all the things I learned from this internship abroad experience. I also want to make sure that whatever I decide to do, I am happy with that choice and I’m not just doing something because it’s an easy way out.
What advice would you give to future interns who are interested in this experience?
The main advice I would give is to be willing to speak up when you want to do something. As well as to understand that “yes, I am here to help them but they are also here to teach me and help me get experiences, so it’s okay to speak up and ask to move to a different department for the day.”
I would also advise others to make yourself familiar with the area that you are going to spend the most time in. It’s wise to figure out the best ways to travel while you are there, because other people might also ask you for help and want to be in a confident position to assist others, if needed.
Ready to start planning your own internship abroad? Here’s how to 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 - just submit your application to get started. It doesn’t cost anything to apply 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.