by Lauren Coffaro,  Business Development Specialist, Career Advancement Program

Recently, I got the chance to go on a trip to the Northeast to visit many beautiful golf and country clubs that host CCI Greenheart’s J-1 Interns during their placement year abroad on the Career Advancement Program.  Most of these interns are studying in the UK, Ireland, Switzerland, and Romania for careers in the hospitality industry.  Last winter, they were basking in the Florida sunshine.  Now that summer has come to the Northern Hemisphere, they’ve migrated to smaller Northeastern golf and country clubs.

Previously, I shared what a fantastic learning opportunity exists in the country clubs for hospitality students.  During this visit, I got the chance to see the interns at the end of their placement year, at a time when they are reflective on their year abroad and preparing to say goodbye to the life they have in the U.S.

What struck me the most about the interns now? Their smiles! After a year traveling, exploring, and growing in a new country, these J-1 Interns have built life-long friendships with their colleagues, the members of the country clubs, and their intern peers.

In New Jersey, Irish and British interns took advantage of every opportunity to take the express bus to Manhattan.  After a summer in of New York nights, they questioned what their lives would be like when they returned home, and chattered about the stories they share.  Intern Stevie exclaimed, “It has been the best experience ever.”

In Connecticut, which has the highest concentration of country clubs of any state in the U.S., one host company took the interns and American staff out on a Hudson river cruise. “It was a great chance to see the sights of New York from the water,” shared intern Amie. “We went past the statue of Liberty at night.”

Something that all the interns shared was support from their American colleagues.  During my visit I heard constant stories of American colleagues hosting dinners at their homes, driving to the mall, and otherwise welcoming this bright group of CCI Greenheart international interns to their hometowns and lives.  Intern Simon from China talked about his experience with his friend from the club.  “We went around to all the hot spots and land marks in the [New York] area and [my colleague] explained to me how America has changed along and mixed together with other countries.”

Now as these interns return from their placement year abroad and enter their final year of university full of memories, lessons, and new friends, we wish them good luck!