My International Tourism Management placement year in North Carolina



Blue Ridge Mountains: my placement year in North Carolina, USA

Seeking the Global Experience

As an International Tourism Management student, the decision to pursue an international placement overseas was driven by my desire to broaden my horizons and truly develop myself as a global citizen.

I secured my 12-month salaried placement at the iconic Biltmore Estate in the heart of the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, USA.

The prospect of working in a renowned hotel and resort establishment like Biltmore, presented a great opportunity to enhance my professional skills while experiencing a new culture and hospitality landscape.

Anticipation and Departure

As the departure date drew closer, a blend of excitement and nervous anticipation started to take over. I couldn't quite believe that this incredible prospect was becoming a reality. The unknown, coupled with the chance to gain professional international experience, made me even more eager. Setting off for the United States was the start of my journey that promised to reshape my perspective on the industry and so I boarded my flight... 

My arrival 

On my first day, I was met by the dedicated HR sub-section for international employees. I completed day one of B.E.S.T (Biltmore Employee Staff Training) at the Biltmore Career Centre, before being given a tour of the Biltmore House.

As we pulled up to the estate, I could not believe the sheer majestic nature of the Biltmore House, against the backdrop of the breath-taking Blue Ridge Mountains.

The View from my new Apartment in Asheville

Following the tour of the house and other attraction areas on-property, I had lunch with the Assistant Front Office Manager and Resort Manager of Biltmore’s resort, to discuss what I was looking to achieve from my twelve-month placement.

I quickly learnt that the estate, with the on-property resort and hotel, was known for its opulence and commitment to exceptional hospitality, providing an amazing and unique opportunity towards meaningful and practical experience in my field of study.

Meeting the CEO at the Annual Employee Dinner

My day-to-day role on placement

In my initial weeks at Biltmore, I received intensive training as a hotel telecoms operator, mastering the PBX system pivotal for guest communication and department coordination. I was then familiarised with the front desk duties and was eased into the different roles of each department in Front of House, before taking the step up to supervisory and managerial roles. 

My day-to-day role as a Front Office Supervisor and later as Duty Manager, provided valuable insights into the dynamic world of hospitality.

I managed front office operations in the Inn on Biltmore Estate, a Forbes four-star resort, overseeing and supporting front desk agents in various tasks, while ensuring the deliverance of world-class hospitality.

This experience became a pivotal part of my journey, contributing to my understanding of the industry's multifaceted nature and gaining a new-found confidence to solve spontaneous on-site problems. 

At the Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate, my role took on more responsibilities of the front office.

I not only gained experience in the administrative aspects of hospitality management, such as employee payroll, accounting/billing, scheduling, and new hire onboarding/training but also actively contributed to operational efficiency. I developed new training plans for future employees, I took on housekeeping inspector responsibilities, and hosted front office team meetings to enhance collaboration and continuous improvement.

My experiences at the Biltmore Estate provided a comprehensive view of the hospitality industry. Each position offered unique challenges and learning opportunities, contributing to my growth in this dynamic field.

Throughout my placement, my tutor Claudia at LJMU kept in contact regularly via email and completed my competency assessment as a part of my Placement Portfolio via Teams. Even when abroad, LJMU were available to assist me as needed.

Off duty: getting to experience the USA

Exploring the United States became a series of adventures, from biking and hiking the local mountains, to traveling from LA to NYC. These experiences were not only a great way to explore the USA but also contributed to a broader understanding of the world we live in and the variety of culture it possesses.

One aspect of the cultural exchange part of the placement was the ability to build friendships with residents, while simultaneously making connections with the other international employees from across the globe. At one point, I was living with people from Chile, Hungary, Russia and Vietnam.

My advice on securing a placement

Securing the placement at the Biltmore Estate was a through a rigorous application processes and a genuine passion for hospitality. The application involved showcasing my academic achievements, relevant skills, and a strong motivation to build my professional skillset. My advice to those seeking placements is to truly explore what your field has to offer, whether it be a domestic or international opportunity - you never know what you may find and where it can take you.

 

 

 

Looking to the Future - what's next?

My international placement has enhanced my career aspirations. The impact on my final year studies has been evident, as my experience has allowed me to  provide practical applications to theoretical concepts when completing my assignments.

Looking ahead, the skills I've gained during the international placement will position me for further international opportunities in the hospitality industry. The placement has been a holistic journey and has definitely shaped my future career while fuelling my passion for excellence in the International Tourism Management sector.

Find out more about studying at LJMU

Campbell studies International Tourism Management at Liverpool Business School.

Find out more about studying at LJMU and our courses here.

 

 

Are you a current LJMU student interested in studying abroad?

Find out more about studying abroad here.

 



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