Here is a great story about Mandy’s experience as an intern at Safaripark Beekse Bergen:
It has already been 20 weeks since I started my placement at Safaripark Beekse Bergen and what an amazing time it has been! I do not regret one second that I did not choose for the Disney College Program or any other foreign placement. This is a place where I feel great at and that counts the most. I am grateful towards our teachers for given me this chance.
The Education and Experience department takes care of all the guided tours in park (busses and boats), educational boards with information about the animals, arrangements with guests, a shuttle/train service between the zoo and the holiday park and many more.
As an intern for the Education and Experience department I am taking care of the HRM (planning, park administration and hour registration), create a monthly newsletter, take care of the social media, answer many kinds of emails that come in everyday, take care of (special) arrangements for guests and sometimes I am helping at operational things in the park: like pushing the giraffes aside so the cars can finally pass. This department is also in very close contact with all the other departments in the park. Communication is key! A lot of other small tasks come in-between, but those are too many to write down. An office job? Certainly not. You’re always busy.
My placement started quietly, because of the low season. The park was only open until 4pm. It gave me the chance to slowly learn about the company departments and its employees. Which was good, because when the Eastern weekend started so did the high season, and my workload almost doubled.
When high season was about to start, our department was preparing for more guests! We also waited for Punda (an African elephant in the park) to finally give birth. An African elephant is normally pregnant for 22 months. However, Punda managed to carry the calf for 23 months instead. With the help of blood tests the animal caretakers could see if the calf would be coming soon. On the 4th of May it finally happened: Madiba was born! This beautiful girl attracted a lot of visitors during the following days. Due to Madiba’s birth we reached a new visitor record of almost 13.000 on the 5th of May. Working hours from 08:00 until 22:00 were very normal for that week, but it was worth it. Before the regular guests could see her, we had an “open evening” for the annual pass holders of the 4th of May. The line to see Madiba was 1 hour long, but the annual pass holders didn’t mind and everyone left the park with a big smile.
Right now it is getting busier every day. The job is not easy, but it is amazing. I never knew that I could learn so much in 20 weeks and I am still learning every day. I really got to know my strengths and weaknesses during this placement! The team that I am working with is amazing, friendly, open and cooperating.
Only six more weeks to go, time is flying! I bet all my classmates are experiencing the same feeling. I cannot wait to hear about their placement stories when they are back.
See you soon!
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