Student Spotlight: James

James W. is a Tourism, Hospitality, and Event Management major in the IU School of Public Health and will be a junior at IUB in the fall. James is from Indianapolis, IN and is a fellow intern at the French Lick Resort this summer. I had the chance to sit down with him and talk about his internship and experiences at Indiana University!

James is a THEM major in the School of Public Health. He has an internship at the French Lick Resort for the summer.

Q: How did you become interested in THEM?
I came to Indiana University as a business major, but struggled with some business classes despite devoting long hours to study for them. My mom researched something for me to do since business did not workout as planned. She found the Tourism, Hospitality, and Event Management major at IU and encouraged me to look into it. I had nothing to lose, so I decided to check it out. I signed up for three of the core major classes. This opened my eyes to the industry, and I saw opportunities. I liked how I can literally end up anywhere in the world doing anything in the industry. I found other THEM students that had a similar path to the major as I. In hospitality, working weekends doesn’t really scare me. I hope to be general manager someday. In this field, finding time for a family can be tough, but it is doable. You have to do what you need to, though. I’ve found the industry understands that, but this industry is not about the 9-5. I like to change at my job and move around a lot, and this industry definitely allows that.

Q: Did you need the internship for credit?
No, I couldn’t qualify for it to count as credit, as I am missing a prerequisite for the internship course for the THEM major. Despite this obstacle, I still wanted an experience in the field! I’m doing the internship duties as other interns taking it for credit, I just don’t report back to school or a professor. Next summer, I will try to do the 12-hour credit experience internship.

Q: What drew you to the French Lick internship?
My family has been coming to French Lick for decades. I’ve always known about it. IU talks extensively about Cook, the owner of the resort, and the French Lick Resort is often referenced and discussed in my hospitality classes. I was encouraged to go down here and check it out by School of Public Health faculty. IU told me a lot about what they offer. I went to a career fair hosted by School of Public Health Office of Career Services and networked with different hotels. There, I had the chance to speak with French Lick, and I gave them my resume. I received an in-person interview and received a nice tour of the resort while there.

Q: What do you do in your internship at French Lick Resort?
I fill a variety of roles, but my favorite is working at Spring 8, a poolside restaurant at French Lick Springs Hotel, on a busy Saturday. It’s crazy and stressful, but also very rewarding. I like moving around, being outside, serving pool-side, and interacting with guests. I also help out at the front desk, when needed.

Q: Any advice to other students?
Get to know your co-workers and use your network! It has opened up opportunities for me. I would also say that intercultural fluency is very important in this industry. The much more awareness you have, the more you’ll be able to understand and communicate with guests from around the globe. I want to learn at least a second language, maybe more!

Q: Can you describe IU’s hand in your future?
IU has opened my eyes to this industry and taught me so much about tourism and hospitality. It’s given me the blueprint to create my career path. The career fair put on by the School of Public Health Office of Career Services really helped secure my internship.

By Michaela Stemle
Michaela Stemle Activities and Recreation Intern