A Look Inside a Leisure Management Training Program in Virginia

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3 minutes


Gael O., a Leisure Management trainee from France, is currently completing his training program with Treetop Quest in Georgia. Gael acquired his Bachelor’s degree in 2017 from IAE Lyon School Of Management, then gained experience as a Consultant Expert for Leisure Concept at Groupe Altiplano. It has always been Gael’s goal to accomplish a training program in the United States. Gael hopes to apply his knowledge of development of indoor parks to projects he will be working on at Treetop and acquire the latest skills and knowledge to further his career in the Leisure Tourism industry when he returns home.
Gael in front of the Capitol Building in DC Gael O. exploring Washington D.C., the United States' capital! Image courtesy of Gael O.

Gael checked in with InterExchange to talk more about his experience in the U.S. and what he has learned so far!

InterExchange: Tell us about your traineeship search process: How did you find your host? How long did it take? What resources did you use, if any?

Gael: After attending a couple of trade shows and meeting people while I was in university, I found that Treetop Quest was looking for someone from abroad to help with the development of their business throughout their aerial adventure parks. I decided to apply and they offered me a training position!

InterExchange: What is a typical day at your training program like?

Gael: Every morning I grab coffee with my team, then we have a morning briefing about the objectives of the day/week, and discuss the strategies we should work on to reach these objectives. Then, I go back to my office where I work on some files that were given to me and find the best way to create solutions to some of these problems. I also work with other members from different departments of the company to create the best answers we can provide to customers and the different situations that affect the life of the company.

InterExchange: What are some professional goals you have achieved thus far in your program?

Gael: I was able to reach some exciting goals like learning and building budgets in accordance with my mission. My mission was to develop business in terms of Business-to-Business and Business-to-Customers throughout our parks and find new ways to advertise and create content to share for external support. Being involved in the launch of a new park in Greenville,SC, I was in close contact with our park managers and was also a big part of the traditional celebrations like “Summer Vibes”, “Halloween”, and soon “Christmas”.

Gael O. with his colleagues for a Halloween company celebration in Philadelphia, PA.
Gael O. with his colleagues for a Halloween company celebration in Philadelphia, PA.
Image courtesy of Gael O.

InterExchange: In addition to the professional experience, what have you enjoyed most about training with your employer?

Gael: The diversity of tasks and the product itself, our parks, are so interesting as a product, and especially during these challenging times, people are looking to enjoy and have fun outside in safe conditions that our forests can easily provide, while meeting COVID protocols. Also, being involved in decision processes as part of a team helps me understand the company better and to move forward!

InterExchange: Share examples of how you’ve learned more about U.S. culture and how you’ve shared your culture with others.

Gael: I am a really curious person and I’m always happy to meet new people! After a couple of months, I can say that I met many great minds who have shared a bit of American culture. We went to museums (Coca Cola World, Aquarium, Civil Rights Museum). I also traveled a bit around Georgia and to Washington, D.C. I went to Disney World, a huge place to experience American culture as its best! Finally, I share my French culture by hosting some French gastronomy dinners with friends, showing pictures of home, sharing some good movies to watch, etc.

InterExchange: What would you tell a friend from your own country to encourage him/her to do an internship or training program through InterExchange?

Gael: First of all, going abroad helps to open your mind to new cultures, new opportunities, and new languages. It helps create new connections and learn more about a culture that is not our own and it also helps to understand the world better. Finally, going abroad is an opportunity to go out of your comfort zone, and that couldn’t be more beneficial to grow as a person and reach ambitions that we all have!

Fatima Rodriguez

Fatima Rodriguez is the Communications and Recruitment Coordinator for Career Training USA. She graduated with a B.S. in Hotel Administration from Cornell University and also participated in a study abroad program called Semester at Sea, where she lived on a ship for 4 months, took classes, and traveled around the world. Ever since then, she has continued to follow her passion by traveling and helping individuals to experience the world abroad through her position within the Career Training program.

U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
Exclusive partner of the Erasmus Student Network for J-1 Visa sponsorship of internships in the U.S.
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Generation Study Abroad
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation