More than an Ordinary Office Internship
Summary: I came to the ranch for my university internship, but along the way, I became involved in so much more than I had expected. Whilst working on our new website, I began my transformational journey of personal growth. I was able to contribute responsibility and leadership to our community.
My journey at Chilcotin Holidays started with a required university internship for my “International Marketing” studies. When I looked for a place, I was sure I wanted to gather more experience abroad, and do things that I might not be able to do after I start my working life. Therefore, I was really happy when I found the job offer advertised through my university. It sounded like a real adventure and more than an ordinary internship I can obtain anywhere else. When I applied, I received questionnaires that I had to fill out in order to reflect on myself and my goals. This was unusual for me as I don’t really spend a lot of time on reflecting about myself. However, I felt like this was a place that cared about me and my personal growth.
After receiving the confirmation, I felt enlightened. My friends were all telling me I was crazy going into the Canadian wilderness with no cities nearby, sleeping in tents until November and having no cell phone reception. But I felt ready for the challenge, wanting to reconnect with nature and gaining new work-related skills.
When I arrived at the ranch, I was amazed by how much effort everyone puts into the work and community environment. Everyone welcomed me heartily, showed me around and included me straight away into the team. The next few days I spent on doing paperwork by filling out an office test to get to know my work environment and empowering me through all the procedures. Working here, it becomes obvious that you are responsible for your own development. Through the procedures I got to know what was going on in the office without somebody else having to explain everything to me. After the paperwork I started my actual work in the office, by answering the phone and emails, taking care of the employment and sales of our trips. Next to that, general ranch management tasks had to be done as the office person has to have the general overview of what is happening at the ranch, like for example which guests and new staff are coming, who’s going to stay in which room, which horses can we use, and what the staff schedule for the following week looks like. This means that you can’t only focus on your own tasks but you need to be involved with everything that is happening.
Apart from that, I took on the responsibility to coordinate the international team that works on the development of our new website. It was quite challenging at the beginning as everything was quite unorganized and everyone was working on it from around the world. However, because of my strength to be organized I was told that I am the perfect fit to take on this challenge. Even though, I was struggling at the beginning to catch up on everything that was going on, I am glad to be offered this opportunity. Every day I am experiencing personal growth by developing my leadership and management skills, and gaining marketing relevant new skills.
However, working in the office doesn’t mean that you are only stuck inside. There are a lot of opportunities to get involved outside, by for example feeding the animals, moving the horses around or taking the guests for a hike. Additionally, if you put enough effort into your work and proactively learn what it means to be a guide, you get rewarded by joining one of the pack trips. Therefore, I was able to participate in a 4-day wildlife viewing pack trip, which was an amazing experience for me. It was exhausting riding the whole day and not getting a lot of sleep, but the breathtaking views and great experiences were definitely worth it. It made me understand why everyone seemed so happy when coming back from one of the camps.
Now as my time here is moving towards an end, I’m trying to make the most out of my remaining time by finishing off the new website launch and passing on my tasks to the next motivated community partner. I am going to miss the community here at the ranch as it is a real family feeling. However, I am sure that being here at the ranch has helped me focus more on myself, my transformational journey and my development. I became more self-reflective and learnt about the importance of leadership and taking on responsibility.
Kathrin, 24, Germany