By Sarah Rossi, Marketing and Communications
When Riley Baynton first saw that Douglas College was hosting an information session for its Disney International Programs, it caught his attention right away.
The unique partnership with the University of California, Riverside (UCR) allows Douglas College students to earn a Certificate in Hospitality and Tourism Management or a Certificate in Management from UCR, while gaining valuable hands-on experience at Disney World in Florida.
Once he read up about it, Baynton knew he wanted to sign up. Read about his experience, firsthand, below.
What was it that initially drew you to this program?
“What drew my attention to this program was the ability to travel to – and experience –
Florida and work at Disney World. When I was about five years old, my family travelled to Disneyland and I will always remember the excitement I had. I especially remember how all the workers were really polite and nice. It made my experience unforgettable. When I saw this opportunity from Douglas to work for Disney World, it meant everything to me to be a part of the magic to provide other families and guests that same experience I once had. I always look for adventure and this was an opportunity I could not turn down.”
What was your favourite part of the program?
“The people. During the first two weeks at UCR, I met people from all over the world, including France, Spain, the United Kingdom and Japan. Learning about different cultures was cool. Down in Florida, my co-workers, roommates and the guests were great and always happy. I have made friendships that will last a lifetime.”
What was something new you learned while abroad?
“How to effectively communicate with guests. Since Disney is one of the biggest entertainment companies in the world, they taught me how to provide great guest service. One big personal skill I learned is organizing my time well. With working full time and studying, time management is a must.”
How do you think this will help you with your future jobs?
“I gained some key communication skills that I know will be useful in my future jobs. If I ever move away from home (Vancouver) to another city, being a part of this program showed me how I can adapt to a new environment.”
What would you tell someone who is thinking about entering the program?
“I would tell them this is an amazing experience. I had my doubts at first if I should go or not – six months is a long time to be away but trust me, it’s worth it. You will make friends from around the world, enjoy the Disney parks and develop a lot of new skills. If you have the opportunity, take it!”
For more information on Douglas College’s International Opportunities, see here.