Whether you are in your first or final year of university, you’re most likely searching for a paid internship in hotels and hospitality if you came across this article. Landing a paid internship abroad for hospitality internships is invaluable in today’s economy, especially when you get to have a glimpse of how global perspectives impact the hospitality industry. 

So, how do you get an internship in hospitality? In this article, we’ll be covering what steps you need to take in order to intern abroad in hospitality. Some questions we’ll answer include: 

  1. What do you do as a hospitality intern? 
  2. Why go abroad for a hospitality internship? 
  3. Where Can I Find Paid Internships for hospitality?
  4. How do you apply for an internship abroad for hospitality? 

At Intrax Global Internships, our mission is to help students like you be able to gain international work experience to connect people and cultures, inspire personal growth, and prepare individuals to succeed as global citizens. 

As a U.S. Department of State designated J-1 Visa sponsor, we simplify the legalities across borders and provide ongoing support to students throughout the program. That means that we’re here to fully support your hotel or hospitality internship application process, so that you can launch your career without stressing in the process. 

What to Expect Day to Day During Your Hospitality Internship

Image of Sheraton hotel. You can take part in hotel management internships at luxury hotels with Intrax Premium Hospitality.
Image Source: Unsplash

Hotel internships are designed to provide practical experience in the hospitality industry, complementing academic studies with real-world exposure. As a hospitality intern, you will be getting hands-on experience in the industry and have responsibilities that prepare you for a successful career in hotel and hospitality management. Here's a detailed overview of qualifications, typical responsibilities, requirements, preferences, and learnings associated with such internships.

Typical Responsibilities 

Depending on the hotel and its management style, your internship will vary in specific responsibilities, culture, and cadence. However, there are a number of responsibilities that you can find almost universally in hospitality internships, including: 

  • Front Desk Operations: Assisting with guest check-ins and check-outs, managing reservations, answering phones, and providing guests with information about hotel services and local attractions.
  • Housekeeping Coordination: Working with the housekeeping team to ensure rooms are clean and ready for guests, understanding the standards of cleanliness and room preparation.
  • Food and Beverage Services: Assisting in the hotel's dining areas, which can include helping with inventory management, service delivery, and even participating in event planning and execution.
  • Marketing and Sales Support: Assisting with the hotel's marketing efforts, such as social media management, promotional material creation, and sales strategy implementation.
  • Financial Operations: Gaining exposure to the financial aspects of hotels and hospitality, including billing processes, budgeting, and financial reporting.

The wide range of responsibilities allows you to have experience in a bit of everything, learning how each team works together to service guests and maintain a streamlined workflow. This also gives you the opportunity to think about which sector you have a special interest in, and how you may apply those preferences in your long-term hospitality career.

Do I Meet the Basic Qualifications to be a Hospitality Intern? 

Like job responsibilities, qualifications may differ based on the internship program you are applying to. These are a few that tend to be prerequisites when applying to a hospitality internship: 

  • Educational Background: Typically, interns are students pursuing a degree in hotel management, hospitality, business management, or a related field. Some positions may require specific coursework or a certain level of completion of your degree program.
  • Language Skills: Fluency in English is often a must due to its status as the lingua franca of the business world. Knowledge of additional languages is a significant advantage, especially in regions with a diverse international clientele.
  • Interpersonal Skills: Excellent communication and customer service skills are crucial, as much of your work will involve interacting with guests and staff.
  • Adaptability: The ability to adapt to new environments and cultures, especially for internships abroad, is essential. Flexibility in dealing with unexpected situations and problem-solving skills are highly valued.
  • Technical Skills: Familiarity with software, office applications (like Microsoft Office Suite), and the internet for research purposes.

Some companies may prefer that you have prior work experience in the industry, and if you have certifications or training in hospitality-related areas, such as food safety, first aid, or customer service excellence. 

As an international student planning on interning abroad for hospitality, you will have the additional requirement of getting approved and having a sponsor for the J-1 visa. With Intrax Global Internships as your J-1 visa sponsor, we’ll help you from screening to program information, helping you get a J-1 visa and find available internships so you can spend your summer at your dream hotel. 

Why Should I Pursue My Hotel Internship Abroad?

You are probably looking at this article because you are interested in taking a paid internship abroad in the hospitality field. However, you may still have some doubts on why you should go abroad instead of staying at home, not having to deal with the  J-1 visa application process, flights, and other logistical efforts that come with international internships

But there is research-based evidence that interning internationally has numerous benefits, especially within the hospitality industry. A 2017 dissertation by Gregory Thomas Gannon explores the experiences of English undergraduate students who participated in 48-week paid management internships in the luxury hotel sector outside the UK. Gannon found that internships abroad significantly boost students' confidence and employability, regardless of whether they intend to remain in the hotel sector. 

Another study in 2020 concluded that the hospitality internships abroad uniquely prepare students for a global career. As you are exposed to new cultures and varying operational settings, you are not only learning about the industry, but are also positioning yourself as a candidate with cosmopolitan experience for your long-term career. 

Data aside, an internship is a great opportunity to explore new cultures without the pressure of a full-time job or multi-year commitment. This shorter job experience can help you gauge whether you are interested in working abroad in the long-term. 

Global Internships Student Experiences 

With an internship abroad, you are able to make new connections, network with leaders across the globe, and make invaluable friendships in a structured work environment, all the while getting exposure to the industry on an international scale (and getting paid to do so!). 

At Global Internships, our goal is to help students like you have unforgettable hospitality internships. Students, whose J-1 visas we have previously sponsored, reflected that their international internship experiences were pivotal to their career and personal growth. 

Karen had her internship in San Francisco, exploring rocky beaches and the Golden Gate Bridge, all the while gaining invaluable work experience:

The encouraging and motivating environment at my internship was also something I had not experienced like this in Germany. There is a Can-Do attitude in the U.S., which made me grow beyond my ideas of what I am capable of. I was able to take on responsibility for large projects, did big presentations, drove through the whole state for work, learned new technology, and so much more. In the end, I had the confidence to fight for a real job I wanted and the belief that I could do it. 

Beyond work culture and career growth, Karen felt a sense of camaraderie and deep cultural immersion during their internships. After work, students can explore nature and enjoy fun events with their peers:

The Americans I met were so fun and friendly, lived in San Francisco and told me about its live music, the beaches, the nature, Hawaii, etc. and so I went. I found American friends for life that I still keep meeting up with now. I have come back to the U.S. to visit many more cities and states, and still have some National Parks left on my bucket list.

Where Can I Find Paid Internships Abroad for Hotels and Hospitality? 

Image of a job fair that you can attend to connect with experienced individuals in the hospitality industry.
Image Source: Unsplash

There are many avenues to finding hospitality internships, and each of them have their advantages. Here are some options for you to start exploring: 

  • Intrax Premium Placements: To find accredited internship programs and match with your top choices, you can take part in Premium Hospitality to work at a US-based luxury hotel. 
  • Careers pages: You can directly look at hotel company websites and to see internship openings. It’s important to note that job boards may not indicate any essential specifics for international students who need a J-1 visa. 
  • Hospitality Job Fairs: Specialized job fairs in hospitality can connect you directly with employers in the hospitality industry. Job fairs may only happen once or twice in your area, and there may be fees to participate. 
  • Professional Hospitality Associations: Membership in professional groups often provides access to exclusive internship listings. These memberships often cost money, so if you are looking for more affordable options, it may not be your best bet. However, it’s a great option for those who want direct and exclusive access to internship openings. 
  • Alumni Network: Your university alumni network can be a great resource for networking, getting referrals, and learning about their experience in the hospitality industry. You can go to your school’s Career Services and ask to be connected to alumni who could be helpful during your internship search. 
  • Online Job and Internship Boards: Job board sites can be a great tool to discover what hospitality internships are out there, but with a rise in scams and fake job postings, you should be especially careful when applying through these sites. 
  • Social Media: Platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram can have industry-specific groups dedicated to providing updates, sharing job opportunities and answering FAQs in hospitality. 

How We Help You Find a Paid Hospitality Internship

Though searching through job boards and attending job fairs can be productive ways to start finding internship openings, it’s hard to know if these internships are J-1 visa eligible or prospective companies are legally able to hire you. Truth is, you may be getting excited for an international internship opportunity that you can’t even apply for. 

At Global Internships, we know how confusing and time-consuming it is to search for internships that check all of the logistical requirements for you to work abroad. 

As a J-1 visa sponsor, we can help with: 

  • Screening participants
  • Selecting participants
  • Monitoring participants throughout their stay in the U.S.
  • Explaining to participants how the program work

We can also match you with host companies based on your goals, interest, and skill level. You’ll be able to receive services such as: 

  • Exclusive positions
  • Year-round start dates
  • Amazing customer service
  • Emergency support around the clock
  • Assistance with securing work authorization
  • An international network of connections

You can look through our list of available hospitality internships to find available opportunities or contact us if you have more questions. 

Paid Internship Abroad for Hospitality: The J-1 Visa Process

If you have a J-1 sponsor secured like Global Internships, you will then be able to apply for the J-1 visa. We have an ultimate guide with more details, but here’s what you should generally be preparing for: 

Documents and Fees 

  1. Submit your Application for J-1 Visa Sponsorship: The application form includes basic information about yourself and your host company, including addresses, phone numbers, and program dates.
  2. Submit Documents: Provide additional documentation, including the proof of English proficiency, diploma/work experience proof, resumé/CV, and a copy of your passport's biographical page.
  3. Pay Fees: There will be payments associated with visa interviews and J-1 visa sponsorship. You can use our J-1 pricing calculator for an estimate. 
  4. Receive DS-2019: After submitting all required documents and fees and all parties have signed the DS-7002, receive the DS-2019 within 4 weeks, and bring it to your visa interview. 
  5. Complete DS-160: Fill out the online nonimmigrant visa application to schedule your visa appointment,upload a photo and print the barcode page to take with you to your visa interview.

The J-1 Visa Interview 

Every J-1 visa applicant needs to complete an interview. We have 10 smart tips to confidently answer J-1 visa interview questions so that you feel more prepared. Here are some things  you must bring to the interview: 

  • Passport
  • Form DS-160 confirmation page
  • SEVIS fee payment receipt (Intrax will provide directions on how to print the SEVIS fee payment receipt))
  • Your personal photo from the DS-160 application (2x2 format)
  • The DS-2019
  • The DS-7002

Once you complete your interview and are approved, you’re all set to pack your bags! Now’s a good time to review your host organization’s orientation guide and additional requirements such as attire and work hours. You should also check more basic information about the country where you are working, checking things like seasonal weather, cultural norms, and tourist locations.

Land Your Dream Internship with Intrax Premium Hospitality 

At Global Internships, we can connect you with luxury hotels with our Premium Hospitality Internship, allowing you to gain experience at ​​the world’s leading hotels. We support you throughout your internship process, with our program geared specifically for those interested in hospitality internships. Some program features include: 

  1. All hotels are rated by Forbes and have achieved a 4- or 5-star rating.
  2. You can leverage our signature organization relationships to be a top candidate. 
  3. We develop a training plan that identifies goals and responsibilities for both the candidate and host. 
  4. Our Program Advisors check-in with both the candidate and host to monitor satisfaction.
  5. Many of our hosts provide the opportunity to transfer at the end of your program to one of their international sister properties, allowing you to return home with experience and time of service!

You can request for more information if you are interested in learning more about the Premium Hospitality program. 

As a U.S. Department of State designated J-1 Visa sponsor, we can help you get a J-1 visa, show you available internships, guide you through specific programs in hospitality and teaching, and more. If you’re interested in starting your abroad experience today, you can request information, begin your registration, or contact us today! 

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Apr 10, 2024
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