A magical experience

By: Angélica Ortiz Blanco

The Disney College Program allows participants to build transferable skills such as teamwork, effective communication,guest service and problem-solving. Participants also have the opportunity to meet cast members and guests from around the country and advance their strengths and interests.

A representative of the Disney College Program, Leyda Ponce, together with UPR-Aguadilla professor Wanda Crespo and the only Disney College Program recruiter who offers conferences in Spanish, Ernesto Sosa, cleared questions and concerns to students about this unique extracurricular opportunity.

“Living, learning, earning”, started saying Sosa to the audience who was eager to know more about this program.

The conference took place in the Piñero Agronomy Building, room 213, on Monday September 24. A few students began to gather in front of the room before the event started, then, as the time passed by, the room filled up.

The Disney College Program is a paid internship offered from August to December or January to May. Students that apply and are successfully admitted get the opportunity to choose a course that later will be accredited as a free elective in their regular college curriculum. However, they need to meet with the academic counselor of their department to add the class in the curriculum.

Ernesto Sosa explained that the learning part of the program is diverse; students have a variety of options to choose the course they want to take. These include marketing seminars and professional preparation as well as engineering topics. He encouraged the students to enroll in the marketing course to help the students prepare professionally.

Students can take one or two courses while they are participating in the program.

Regarding the “living part” Sosa joked “I’m pretty sure you all don’t want to hear about this topic”. He made clear that the program has zero tolerance to alcohol and that if during an inspection any kind of it is found in the apartment, everyone living there will be suspended until the owner is identified. That will lead into an automatically ejection from the program and an F on the course in progress.

However students will have the time to socialize with friends and to visit the Disney theme parks for free.

Finally as for the “earning” topic Sosa stated that admittstudents are expected to have full availability to work and that includes working on nights, weekends and holidays, full time and over time. The work schedule will be adjusted so that the student can take the courses in the program. There are a lot of roles on which the students are goin to work. When filling the application the student will have to choose the roles of most interest and on the check-in day they will tell them where they are going to work.

Cast members will be scheduled to work no less than 40 hours per week and the pay will vary depending on the role but the minimum payment will be $7.86 per hour.

“It’s a one of a kind experience and I encourage every student to be part of it. It is truly magical, you have fun while working and that’s the dream work that everyone wants to have”, said Jennifer Del Pozo, Human Resources major and ex-participant of the program. “This program changes your life, you learn how to be a leader, how to manage your time effectively, how to solve problems with guests being politely at the same time and most important you get work experience”, said the student, who is still an employee of the Disney Company.

The requirements to participate are that the participant must be a full-time or part-time student of any United States university, must be at least18 years old, must have legal rights to work in the United States and also meet the school requirements. In the case of UPRM students they must have at least 2.0 GPA and more than 21 credits earned.

At the end of the conference the students were full of questions and eager to be future participants of this magical experience.

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