The happiest place to intern

As Communication Studies majors, the department’s core skills have been cemented into our minds since COM 105. The department’s core skills give its majors direction as they navigate through their classes. When it comes to internships, every core skill is important but praxis allows you to apply knowledge outside the classroom. Knowing theories and knowing how to apply them is essential to being successful in an internship.

Walt Disney World — the largest on-site employee establishment in the world — offers internship opportunities for almost any major. The eight-month internship is not like many others — Disney provides numerous benefits for their interns, including free park admissions, guest passes, discount-coupon books, and insider information which has not yet been released to the general public. Interns may also enroll in college classes while living in Orlando, and receive credit based on their major. Classes offered include engineering courses, leadership courses, marketing courses, and courses in the culinary arts. Students are also able to take a Disney Heritage course and learn about the history of Walt Disney World and the foundation the empire was built upon.

Melanie Bower, a current senior and Communication Studies major at UNCW, completed the eight-month Disney Internship from May 2014 to January 2015. During her time in Orlando, Melanie also took classes on leadership and marketing, and is hoping to pursue a career back in Florida related to IMC or digital marketing. How is this internship suitable for COM majors?


“The Disney College Program teaches the vital skills we study in depth as COM majors – we even utilized the core skills learned in COM 105 in my marketing course at Disney. Every class involved group-work, and we learned how to effectively act, dress, and contribute in a business setting when working for such a big-scale company. Students in any major could gain experience and valuable knowledge from this internship, but having a Communication Studies background gave me an upper hand because I was already aware of how to effectively and efficiently tackle the tasks at hand. Communication also came in handy when working in the actual park. Hollywood Studios during the summertime is hectic, and knowing important tips to communicate effectively to large groups of stressed people gave me a leg up. Public speaking is also paramount in the job I worked.”

 The idea of applying knowledge outside the classroom, or “praxis,” is key in this kind of internship. Interning with such a big company is far different than many local internships students find around Wilmington. COM studies students who decide to head to Walt Disney World must be prepared for a “small fish in a big pond” experience, and use their knowledge of group work, core skills, and conflict management to be noticed and successful within the company. Melanie suggests the longer internship (8 months rather than one semester), if one truly wants to understand the ebb and flow of a monumental enterprise and the way business is carried out throughout the seasons. If you, a COM Studies student, or any other student in a different major is considering the College Program, it is important to understand that the work is daunting and the hours are long; classes are not easy and the weather is sometimes unbearable. But the networking you do, the contacts you make, the lives you touch, and the magical moments you have every day will make this internship well worth it.


What kind of internship opportunities have you been apart of or look forward to?

– Nick, Melanie, Mary & Patrick