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The University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management
Provides Students with Intership Opportunities All Over the World

Gives Students Advantage When it Comes to Competing for Industry Jobs


HOUSTON, August 30, 2007 — Casinos, hunting ranches, luxurious resorts and top-rated restaurants aren’t just vacation destinations.  They also are student internship destinations at the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management.  And one of the hottest requests: the United Arab Emirates. 
               
“We try to match our students with internships in places where they want to be,” said Jason Finehout, internship coordinator for the college.  “This creates a lot of enthusiasm.  Students tell me where they dream of going, and I try to make it happen.”
                
Tamer Elkhayat, a junior at the college, recognized the burgeoning resort area of Dubai and suggested the college consider placing interns at the Beach Rotana Hotel and Resort in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), a growing hospitality hot spot.  One student spent two and a half months there.   More interns will follow. 

“Students can really learn a lot.  The place is a small city that has a lot of potential,” Elkhayat said.   “Everything they do is to the extreme.  The biggest corporations are there, creating more and more job opportunities for people.”
                
The College of Hotel and Restaurant Management placed 114 interns this summer, twenty were in other countries, 33 were in other states.  Over the last year, the college has had a 93-percent placement rate for students wanting an internship, most of them getting their first choice.  Students have been placed in the Sierra Brava Hunting Ranch in Argentina, Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland and Sofitel Zhongshan Golf Resort in Nanjing, China. That’s in addition to places like Disney resorts, Hilton and Marriot Hotels, Las Vegas casinos, The River Oaks Country Club and the Hotel Icon.   
                
“Abu Dhabi is really a test case for us.  It’s the first time we’ve been in that part of the world and with that hotel corporation,” Finehout said.  “We have many requests from students to intern in the UAE due to its recent hospitality expansion, so we’re eager to open doors there.” 
                
The internships outside of Houston provide housing, meals and usually a stipend.  Security issues are discussed with hotel and resort officials as well as with American embassies in the specified countries.  
               
“We have turned down some businesses’ requests for interns simply because we couldn’t ensure safety,” Finehout said.  “We want our students to be safe and have enriching, positive experiences.”   

Hospitality student Britton Douglass wanted to learn about the making of scotch whiskey.  He asked for and received an internship at the Gleneagles Hotels in Scotland to learn about the craft from the master distiller one week a month during his six-month internship.  In addition to learning about various positions at the hotel, he’s learning about the distillation process of whiskey and the art of wine and spirits presentation.  
“Gleneagles employs people from all over the world who all have different knowledge and experiences in hospitality, so it is difficult not to learn something new each and every day or teach someone how things are done where I come from,” Douglass said.  “With the experience my internship at the Gleneagles Hotel has afforded me, I may seek a position as a beverage manager or supervisor with a five-star hotel within the United States.” 

There are challenges about interning abroad, including language barriers that can add to the sense of isolation students may feel in a foreign country.  But Finehout is hopeful that as these internships become more accessible, students will factor in that challenge and focus on the real learning experience that it is. 
 
“Our internship program gives students the advantage when it comes to competing for industry jobs,” Finehout said.  “Our students are well prepared and employers like the fact that our students have real-world training in experiences both here and abroad.”
                                 
For more information on the UH Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management and its internships, visit www.hrm.uh.edu/default.asp 
 
About the University of Houston    
 
The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students. 

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Contact:

M a r i s a   R a m i r e z 
Office of University Communication
University of Houston
office: 713.743.8152
www.uh.edu
 

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Also See: Dusit's Internship in Hospitality Industry Project Offers On-site Training for Students Whom Do Not Have Good Opportuinities to Pursue Higher Education / April 2007
Luxury Hotels on Italy's Lake Como Provide Intensive 3 Month Internships for Niagara University College of Hospitality and Tourism Management Students / January 2007
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