Academic internship offers life-changing experience

Rikkyo student learns the importance of a positive attitude while working at Disney resort in Florida(Ami Kanazawa, 3rd-year student at Department of Culture and Tourism Studies, College of Tourism)

May 08, 2020


“Disney World Internship Program” is a program in which students study at the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management while working as interns at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

Kanazawa at her program completion ceremony at the University of Central Florida.

Ami Kanazawa applied for the Disney intern program to challenge herself overseas, but she gained even more than she expected.

“I studied abroad for a while when I was in high school, and I wanted to take up a new challenge overseas while I was at university,” Kanazawa said. “When I found out that I could use Rikkyo University’s Global Scholarship to cover all the expenses in this program and that I can even earn enough to meet my living expenses by working as an intern at Walt Disney World, I thought this was a fantastic opportunity.”

Kanazawa worked at shops and restaurants in the Disney resort and attended Rosen College's classes once a week. Her English was good enough for the application requirements, but in Florida, she soon began having difficulty when communicating with colleagues and guests at work. She became frustrated and spent many days feeling down. But this experience made Kanazawa resilient and helped her grow as a person.

“I'd always looked for easy ways out whenever I ran into obstacles, but at Disney, I tried to change my mindset, absorb as much as possible and take on challenges,” Kanazawa said. “I observed people around me so I could learn a lot from them, and I proactively talked to guests and coworkers. Soon I got used to the work and my English skills improved considerably.”

Kanazawa also developed her own view about her career path by working with people coming from around the world.

“I once read a book that said, ‘We must create something rewarding on our own, instead of looking for it,’” she said. “I realized that it is up to me to find the value in my work. I also realized the importance and enjoyment of working with people as a team.”

Kanazawa found the classes at Rosen College stimulating. “They deepened my knowledge about hospitality from a different perspective to the classes at Rikkyo's College of Tourism, which was refreshing,” she said.

Kanazawa learned some guiding principles and new insights while she worked, focused on absorbing new ideas and took on challenges. These qualities, combined with her English proficiency, will greatly help her future career path.

Kanazawa with a senior colleague who taught her “everything there is to know” at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Kanazawa and her friends relax at a party after the ceremony.

*Information in this article was correct at the time of writing.


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