Stephen F. Austin State University

News

SFA hospitality administration senior interns in Spain

August 4, 2016 - University Marketing Communications
Stephen F. Austin State University senior hospitality administration major Phillip Richardson of Beaumont points out the best local attractions to an international traveler. Richardson has spent the past three months as an intern with Equity Point, a hostel catering to international youth travelers in Spain.
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Saying he is a people person would be an understatement. Phillip Richardson, a Stephen F. Austin State University senior hospitality administration major from Beaumont, has spent the past three months interning in Spain. Whether he is scheduling reservations, housekeeping, checking in guests, booking tours and events, or preparing breakfast, Richardson has met people from around the world while interning at Equity Point, a hostel catering to international youth travelers.

"I have met people who are from all parts of the world such as Australia, Canada, Italy, South Africa, France and so many more. They all have the most amazing stories and lives," Richardson said. "I've always had a deep interest in talking with people, and that is why I cannot see myself in any other field."

Since the age of 13, Richardson has been working in the hospitality industry in hotels and restaurants. In May, Richardson took the next step in his education by enrolling in a program through Adelante: Internships Abroad and Study Abroad. The program includes two weeks of extensive Spanish courses abroad in a language school, housing and job placement. Richardson was placed with Equity Point, which has three locations in Barcelona, Spain.

Richardson works his morning shifts at Equity Point Centric - the largest location in the city's center - and during his scheduled evening shifts, he works at Equity Point Gothic, which is situated in an area known for its historical monuments, narrow streets and Bohemian atmosphere.

Richardson describes the experience as the biggest enrichment of his life.

"I am gaining so much knowledge every day related to the hospitality industry, culture, history, geography and even finding things out about myself," Richardson said. "I like to explain it as if I was not living before - just existing. I woke up every day to the same routine and was not challenging myself. However, since I have been here, every day there have been moments that pushed me out of my comfort zone, which has helped me build character."

Every semester, SFA human sciences majors have the opportunity to enroll in a field experience course, which is dedicated to internships. Dr. Mary Olle, assistant professor in SFA's School of Human Sciences, teaches the course and said, "The objective of the internship is to give students a reality-based, experiential learning experience to augment the theoretical knowledge required in the classroom."

Hospitality administration majors are required to complete 300 hours of hands-on experience during their internships. This summer, 36 students participated in internships around the world.

Richardson plans to graduate with a bachelor's degree from SFA this month. He attributes his internship experience with giving him a new perspective to take forward into his career.