Glion around the world – Diary of an intern in Amsterdam
I caught up with fellow Glioner Melina Levan, currently in her 3rd Semester of the Bachelor Degree, to ask her a few questions about her Rooms Division & Front Office Internship at La Renaissance Hotel in Amsterdam, Netherland.
Where are you currently interning?
I am currently doing my internship in the Renaissance Amsterdam Hotel, in the Netherlands.
I chose this hotel and this city because I wanted to experience something new and that is exactly what the motto of the hotel says: “Live life to discover”. I liked the idea of going to a city I had never been to before. The contract was quite good as well compared to other contracts I saw from other properties.
How long did it take to find your internship?
I was personally quite eager to get my internship early on during my second semester. I wanted to have a plan as soon as possible. I got quite lucky with the application process and within a month of my second semester starting, I had my first interview with them and got my confirmation contract soon after.
How did you feel on your first day?
On my first day on the job, I was very nervous but I knew that it was going to be okay. I knew that eventually it would feel like home and it does now, after 2 months. My first few days of my internship, I was very nervous of never getting used to it. I thought not knowing anyone and not understanding a word of Dutch would make it hard to communicate and be social, but thankfully, they all speak English and the team is great.
How do you feel now after two months?
I must admit, time flies. I feel like I live at work. I am working all the time and when I am not, I am too tired to do anything. During those 6 months of internship, you have to be willing to be fully dedicated to your work. I love what I am doing so I don’t find that it is a problem but I am sure that if you do not enjoy your job, it must be a lot harder.
Tell us about the choice between staying close to home or going far away.
I personally wanted to go far away from home considering I grew up in Switzerland. Even if the pay in Switzerland is a more interesting than in Amsterdam, the experience is not the same and I am very happy with my decision to take the risk of the unknown.
Tell us about something that happened at work or the first days of your new adventure:
During the first days I messed up a few times and looking back on it I still giggle a bit! In my first week, I had a cross training that would help me understand a bit of every department in the hotel. One day, I was cross training with the maintenance and engineering department. They are all very manly and I was this girl wearing a skirt (the uniform) with a pink sparkly phone coming to them for a day. Needless to say, they were a bit reticent to teach me things and show me around. During the break I was finally getting a bit more comfortable with them, they started to acknowledge the fact that I even existed. That’s obviously when I ruined it all. My phone started ringing, it surprised me and it made me jump, with a glass of water in my hand. The glass fell on the floor, water went all over my uniform and the little confidence I had gotten throughout the day was out the window.
A typical day at work: what did you learn so far?
After 2 months working as a front office trainee in the Renaissance Amsterdam hotel, I feel at ease. It takes a bit of time to be confident because there are so many things one needs to remember. On every shift that we do, we have specific tasks, it’s all in a checklist. This includes printing reports, checking if all the guests have enough money on their accounts to pay the stay and a lot of other things. We have this checklist as well as taking care of all the phone calls coming in, guests passing by the front desk to ask a lot of questions or just to have a little chat. All in all, even though we work 8 hours a day, not moving a lot, time flies by. In these past few months, I have learned how to be a lot more independent. Moving away from Glion, taking care of everything by myself, it is a really nice experience but also a lot of responsibility. It’s not like at school where there is always someone there to remind you to do things, show you how to do something if you do not know. Now, you learn how to be yourself and it is really nice!