Behind the Scenes: Insights from My Corfu Internship Adventure

February 23, 2024 •

4 min reading

Behind the scenes: Insights from my Corfu internship adventure

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I am Rafaël Gehy, a 19-year-old 3rd-semester student at EHL Campus Passugg, currently undertaking an internship. For this semester, I decided to split it into two parts and venture abroad for the first half. While researching international internships, I found a position at the newly-opening resort of the Sani Ikos Group, Ikos Odisia. Founded in 1971, the Sani Ikos chain is rapidly expanding, with one or two new resorts opening each year. Located in Corfu, Greece, Ikos Odisia is the second resort on the island, with Ikos Dassia, its predecessor, just a few kilometers up the road.

Setting Foot in Paradise: The Allure of Ikos Odisia Resort

During my first international internship experience, I encountered numerous new observations and adjustments unfolding as the season progressed. As the hotel was freshly inaugurated when I commenced, familiarity with its facilities and operations was still in its infancy. It took several days for the resort to hit its stride.

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One remarkable aspect of interning at a seasonal resort in Greece was the international exposure. A diverse pool of interns from across Europe—Austria, England, Estonia, France, and Switzerland—enhanced the hotel's international appeal, ensuring guests could often find someone fluent in their native language.



Diving into Work: Insights from the Service Excellence Department

During my workweek, I held a standard position as an SED agent, part of the Service Excellence Department. Alongside my colleagues, I managed guest requests, whether directed to the concierge or to us directly. Tasks ranged from simple room service orders to arranging mattress changes based on guest preferences. Additionally, we generated reports for housekeeping and room service departments, highlighting guests' daily requests, such as preferred service times or specific room amenities.

My workweek extended from Tuesday to Saturday, aligning with regular reception shifts. Shifts commenced either in the morning at 7, concluding at 15:30. Fridays were my favorite, typically starting at 11, affording me time for kickboxing before work.

However, the highlight was always the weekend. Coordinated by the Human Resources department, interns enjoyed synchronized days off, enabling us to explore together. As international interns, we relished playing tourist, exploring the old town of Kerkyra, the serene lagoons of Palaiokastritsa, or the enchanting Canal D’amour in Sidari.



Facing Natural Hazards: Coping with Wildfires in Corfu

During my time in Corfu, I encountered diverse people and had numerous wonderful experiences. However, amidst the paradise-like setting, a few events reminded me of reality's challenges. Corfu's weather, akin to tropical islands, brought intense dry heat and occasional heavy storms every 3-4 weeks, confining us indoors at home or work.

Yet, the most alarming event occurred in July: widespread wildfires, including those on Corfu. One evening, returning from work, my roommate spotted flames engulfing the nearby forest from our balcony. It was a terrifying sight, contrasting sharply with the island's idyllic image. However, the hotel's communication about the situation was a bit inadequate. We could only direct guests to rally points with no further instructions, leaving us feeling unprepared. While the fires eventually subsided, the experience left me on edge, highlighting the need for clearer protocols in such emergencies.


Reflecting on the Journey: Lessons and Recommendations from an International Internship

In conclusion, an internship abroad comes highly recommended as it offers the opportunity to immerse oneself in an unfamiliar culture. It also provides insight into diverse work cultures, such as the distinct Greek organizational structure I encountered.

Additionally, it facilitates connections with people from various countries, broadening one's perspectives. While I haven't experienced it personally, interning or working for the same hotel brand in different locations can reveal the consistency of the brand's ethos across diverse settings. However, it's crucial to remain mindful of environmental hazards to avoid surprises like the ones I encountered.


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