When Vivian applied to the academic Disney Exchange program she was nervous, but excited to expand her horizons, gain experience, make memories, and ultimately push her limits to see what she was really capable of.
Academic Disney Exchange program
The academic Disney Exchange program, offered by the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences for Recreation and Leisure Studies students, is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
The 6-month exchange program to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida includes an internship with the theme park, as well as a stay at the University of Florida where students get the opportunity to learn while experiencing a whole new university atmosphere.
Vivian reflects on her time at the University of Florida as a memorable time where she bonded with her fellow interns, and made memories on a new campus.
One of the major differences between UF and UW is the size of the campus. We can access most of on campus services and academic buildings by walking distance… UF, is a different story.
On top of this, UF has the largest stadium in the state of Florida. Attending homecoming is an entirely different experience for students in American universities, but this was something that Vivian and her colleagues from UW got the chance to be a part of.
Not only did Vivian get to experience things she had never dreamed of before, but she also had the opportunity to push herself and her knowledge to the limit through her internship at Walt Disney World, which has just been named the number one place to work by Fortune 500. As part of her position, she gained valuable experience by:
- meeting resort managers who are professionals in the field of resort and destination management
- living and working at Walt Disney World Resort, learning professional skills in various fields of business including operations of the Resorts’ largest theatre, Fantasmic!
- interacting with guests to develop transferable skills such as public speaking, adaptability during challenges, communication skills and time management
“Where dreams come true”
One of the most valuable lessons Vivian learned was that pushing yourself to step outside your comfort zone is a great way to realize your potential and gain experience, knowledge, and memories. This opportunity allowed her to “dream big” and understand that her career opportunities were much more diverse than she originally thought. Challenging herself to participate in this academic exchange was something she contributed to her success.
After living, studying, and working in Florida for 6 months, all of the knowledge and skills that I gained from the program has made me confident in my ability to take a bigger step towards my dream.
Vivian is currently finishing her degree and she plans to use all that she has learned throughout this experience and continuing to push herself after graduation.