My Disney Experience

Kengo Takeuchi
UCR Extension Disney Hospitality & Tourism Internship Program
University of California, Riverside (United States)
Kengo Takeuchi 3rd year, Faculty of Economics, Department of International Business

UPDATE : 2019.12.13

I definitely wanted to study overseas during my time at university.

I wasn’t looking for a program to learn English; I was looking for a program where I could learn by using English. The program I found was the UCR Extension Disney Hospitality & Tourism Internship Program.

Participants in this program take a ten-week course and a two-week intensive course at the University of California, Riverside; then go to Florida to study business-related subjects while doing an internship of about six months at Disney World. It seemed like it would be a one-of-a-kind experience where I could study, live and work with students from around the world—so I decided to take part in the program.

In the dormitory, I lived with a Spanish guy who had parties every day, and a New Zealander who helped himself to the food I kept in the refrigerator. I found out how difficult cross-cultural communication is, and learned the importance of having and asserting my own opinions.

At the internship at Disney World, I learned about the diverse working styles and hospitality customs of people from about 23 countries. For Japanese people, having private conversations at work is generally not allowed, but for people from other cultures it’s an important form of communication. I realized that things that may be taken for granted in Japan are not necessarily taken for granted in other countries. I started conducting myself with that in mind that things, and my supervisor told me he had never worked with a Japanese intern who tried so hard to gain a deeper understanding of people from other cultures.

Our courses were based on group work and discussion was always important, so I had opportunities to deepen my interaction with Spanish students in class.

Disney World is a place that offers endless amounts of wonder and excitement. Completing this internship program in a place where I could learn, live and work with people from all over the world was the best overseas study experience I could have had.

Visiting Disneyland Park with classmates before heading to the workplace
At the graduation ceremony, sandwiched between Mickey and Minnie
With Spanish exchange students. We worked hard to make funny faces!