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Inside Kendall

From Chicago to Abu Dhabi

It’s an understatement to describe the grounds of the Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa in the United Arab Emirates as expansive. The property includes 172 rooms, six restaurants and bars, and a spa. Guests can choose to become “lost” in their rooms throughout their stay, venture out to explore the 27-hole golf course, or take a tour of the city.

Sarjah Desert between Dubai and Oman's border_CROPPEDImagine, then, what it’s like to contribute to this sophisticated environment, as Jeanne Hadi is. The B.A. Hospitality Management student is a Food and Beverage intern at Westin Abu Dhabi, where she provides warm, friendly, and professional service to guests. Here, she shares what the experience has been like so far:

How did you learn about this internship? 

Three months before my internship quarter started, I spent a lot of time researching companies. Starwood has been my favorite hotel management company since I started at Kendall, so I constantly checked its website for internship opportunities.

Kristen Hodges in Career Services supported me well before I shared I obtained an interview with the Westin Abu Dhabi. She taught really great material in HOS 409, The Hospitality Professional, which was a big help during my interview—but even more in my research. She guided me to learn what I would like to do and find companies that share my values.

How did the program at Kendall help prepare you for this internship?

I truly believed that the courses within my concentration, Restaurant/Food and Beverage Management, prepared me well, including excellent foundational knowledge and what to expect in the workplace. What I really appreciate it that every course I’ve taken at Kendall has allowed me to learn firsthand from professionals who have worked in this field. 

What do you like most about the international experience?

I like the hotel where I’m working as well as the culture. Everything is new and different. The city of Abu is busy. Since it is located on the water, you’ll find a lot of foreigners exploring the area, from Serbians to South Africans. Besides the hustle and bustle downtown, the city itself is surrounded by an exotic, endless desert.

How have you applied what you’ve learned at Kendall in this position?

At the Westin, I’ve found a contagious friendliness from my colleagues. Employees come from all over the world—we have more than 50 nationalities at our hotel. Every day I meet new customers from all over the world, which I first learned about in lectures at Kendall. Those courses prepared me to interact with people from different cultures while providing a stellar sequence of service, which helps me maintain the highest form of hospitality and demonstrate how prepared I am for this role.

I’m really happy that Kendall prepared me so well for this position. I can apply everything I’ve learned professionally.

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