Melissa Friend will be graduating this November with a degree in History and Politics. In this week’s blog, she tells us more about her three month adventure working at Disney World…
“I have recently finished my degree at the University of Chester, gaining a 2:1 in History and Politics. When people say university flies by, they really mean it! I loved university so much and I can’t believe I have officially left.
“The University of Chester gave me so many great opportunities, both academically and socially, such as being President of the Rotaract Society (which I aim to continue working with), and being part of the Disney society. Disney has always been a massive part of my life – I have always loved and respected the company, and knew I wanted to work for them. I remember when I was younger I would always say: “I want a job at the Disney Store!” So in my second year of university, I did just that and got a little weekend job at the Disney Store in Chester!
“However I always knew ultimately I wanted to work in the parks, so I applied for Disney’s Cultural Exchange Program (which is the UK’s International College Program). After months of applications and interviews, I found out last December that I was accepted.
“On June 17, I flew out to Orlando to begin my three month adventure working at Walt Disney World Florida, and now here I am, ready to leave next week. The experience has flown by! When you do something like this, you are constantly busy and don’t really notice how time is flying until you sit back and reflect on it, and I have had the BEST time!
“Working at Walt Disney World has honestly been the best experience of my entire life. I have met some of the best people ever from all over the world, who I am now happy to call friends for life. I lived at Disney housing which is where the rest of the College Program participants live, so it is really great fun.
“My role at Disney was a Custodian at Disney Springs, which meant making sure my area was clean and tidy at all times by sweeping and cleaning etc., which in all honesty was amazing. The cleanliness of the parks is something Disney is very passionate about and rightly so, it means a much nicer atmosphere for everyone there. My role meant I was constantly out and about, getting to talk to guests and assist them, pin trading (I have a lanyard of Disney pins – lots of people collect and trade them with other guests and cast members around the park), and I also got to do water art. Learning to draw Mickey with a brush is something I’ll never forget, especially as I am normally useless at anything to do with art!
“This experience has been something I will never, ever forget and I am so grateful that I have gotten to do it. On my days off I got to visit the parks as a guest and have an amazing time. I have always loved Disney World and jokingly called it ‘home’, but now I have actually had the chance to work and live here, a piece of my heart will always remain!
“As for plans for the future, I graduate this November and I don’t really have any immediate plans for after. In the long term, I would like to do a PGCE in Primary Education (at the University of Chester of course!), but for now I am taking a year out and just winging it for a while, which is scary and exciting at the same time!
“As Walt Disney once said: “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
If you’re interested in taking part in the Disney Cultural Exchange Program, you can find out more here.
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