By Steffanie Martinez |Staff Writer|
The Disney College Program is a paid internship that offers participants the opportunity to advance their strengths and interests, meet guests and cast members from around the world and take part in educational opportunities as part of the Disney company.
Students get to choose if they would like to take part in the Disneyland or Walt Disney World Resort.
Once that decision is made, students go through a rigorous interview process that includes both telephone and online interviews.
Although the process is time consuming, both fellow and former cast members have described it as a resume boosting and unforgettable experience.
Once accepted into the program, the internships get distributed all through out the parks.
Students come from all around the world, each for different reasons from wanting to grow with the company, travel, and because they had heard from previous attendees what a great experience it was.
“I heard of this internship through my aunt she did the program 15 years ago. She told me it was one of the best experiences in her life that if she could she’d do it again.” stated Tina Derusso.
Derusso is a marketing psychology major from Pennsylvania and hopes this will be her foot in the door to later on take on a professional role in the company.
“I’ve always wanted to work for Disney,” said Derusso.
As a current parade control she gets to interact with kids of all ages.
“The opportunity I’m getting here related to my future career plans because it’s a company I love that has values I support.
Not only that a lot of the higher ups we have been introduced to had their career started being part of the college program,” said Derusso
The coordinators of the program emphasize to the students once their accepted how important it is for them to start thinking of where they want to be with the company.
Some of the program’s objectives, as stated on their website, are “for the student’s to demonstrate understanding of the specific line of business and how it is aligned with the overall objectives for The Walt Disney Company, increase understanding of specific lines of business by acquiring new knowledge or skills and to investigate career and professional development opportunities within The Walt Disney Company.”
The students are encouraged to take part in the activities and seminars offered throughout the course of their internship to reach these goals.
Part of the experience is their housing set up.
If a student participates at the Orlando program, they have the chance to live in Disney provided housing.
The selection can be made by students requesting to live with a friend who is also part of the program.
Although it is not guaranteed, they can also choose “random” and be partnered up with strangers only criteria being they are of the same sex and either 18 to 20 or 21 and over.
That changed the dynamic of the situation for many who were not too sure about how they would adjust to the living situation but chose to embrace it as part of the experience.
“It really is what you make of it, I wouldn’t want to discourage anyone from giving the internship an opportunity. I would just tell them to keep in mind it is them who make the experience worth while,” said Bianca.
Bianca is a recent graduate from El Paso Texas, as a character performer she has admitted there are ups and downs to the internship but like any job the good interaction and people she has met outweighed anything else.
Student Jesy Amaro a current who is taking part in the program agrees with what she had to say, “It’s an incredible experience getting to be part of the magic they create, you get a behind the scenes look. I would recommend students to take part in it if they get the opportunity but also take into consideration how much energy and time it takes,” said Amaro.
Students from all over the world choose to participate in the program each year all for different reasons.
Disney gives you the opportunity to work with a fortune 100 company while taking educational courses, working throughout their resorts, meeting people from around the world and earning college credit.
It is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and like any other internships the students will gain from it depending on what they choose to work towards.