For PROJECT-E’s first year students it has been an exciting end to their academic year as they embarked on their internships at some of Addis Ababa’s most prestigious hotels in April and May 2018. This was always going to be met with a little bit of nervousness trepidation by the students as it was their first step into the public hospitality arena – it can be difficult at first to transfer the skills learnt in the classroom into a real scenario where there is extra pressure to perform well in front of potential employers. It was especially challenging for the students as they were no longer comforted by the collective presence of their peers – although they remained roommates, most of the young women had their internships at different hotels in Addis.
As far as work is concerned, however, it is business as usual for the PROJECT-E students. Polishing cutlery, laying tables and serving guests a variety of food and drink – these are tasks that the students are completely accustomed to as their time at PROJECT-E has been filled with a multitude of hospitality classes. Although the students have been well trained in the fundamentals of the hotel industry, their internships were particularly challenging as their work was not necessarily confined to everyday hotel work – many were tasked with working at large conferences and weddings. They can be proud of being able to adapt to these changing circumstances and have managed well to please all guests.
The students are three weeks into their internships now, however, they have already had time to reflect upon the work that they have been doing. Overall, they are thoroughly enjoying the social interaction that any job in the hospitality sector entails: communicating with guests from all over the world and being able to make new friends with their co-workers has been a positive experience for everyone involved. The experience gained from working in real hotels is invaluable for the students, especially when it comes to applying for jobs upon graduation next year. There are aspects of working in the hospitality sector that some students find challenging. Physically it can be tiring – especially if the job requires you to be on your feet all day. Further to that, there are certain challenges that inevitably arise in hotel work outside of PROJECT-E where the students are required to interact with real guests – people can be unhappy with the service and this necessitates a calm and collected attitude which the students have naturally been able to maintain. Overall this internship weeks have been of great value and positively received as the young women gain a huge amount of experience that will be pivotal in securing future employment upon graduation.
By Joe Zietman