(Revised) News Story

The Most Magical Program On Earth

by: Juan C. Kuang

An expectant silence filled the air as the moderately crowded auditorium at Industrial Engineering darkened. Before long, a straight laced man in a suit took the stage and introduced himself as Ernesto Sosa, the Disney College Program’s representative and recruiter for Puerto Rico. After making small talk and determining his audience’s predominant majors, the presentation began.

At first glance, the program seemed to the students too enticing to the to be real; paid internships alongside students from all over the country all gaining valuable knowledge from the largest media empire in the world.

The DCP’s slogan, “Magic, Experience, Paid Internship” succinctly summarizes the program’s offerings, and the students in the auditorium were only all too eager to learn what they must do to secure passage to the most magical place on Earth. Their eyes were noticeably fixed on the projector screen, as Sosa rattled off a number of requirements for the program. Pencils scratched against pads as the audience made note of what the Disney corporation expected of their interns.

The Disney College Program has been available at the university for a comparatively short time (the last major expansion of the program’s university roster occurred in 2005), but has quickly risen to prominence amongst students for its relative ease of access, attractive benefits, and, of course, the obvious appeal of becoming an instrument in the whimsical wonder machine that dominated their childhood.

Students who wish to enroll in the program must complete a series of applications / questionnaires meant to gauge qualities such as leadership, tolerance, resourcefulness, etc., after which they progress through a second strata of selection judged by criteria set forth by administrators of the program.

Several Puerto Rican members of the DCP in 2010. After a full day of work and study, the dining hall is a welcome sight.

If they are accepted, students will be inducted as employees (or “cast members”) at one of the two major parks in the contiguous United States, in California of Florida. They are offered entry-level positions in a variety of fields, such as food service, character performance, or hospitality, among others.

According to circulated literature, interns can gain real-world job experience, and are allowed to choose from multiple educational opportunities over the span of their stay apart from their cast member duties, such as specialized courses and seminars, after which they will retire to private housing facilities where they can socialize with other fellow members of the program from other universities.

After finalizing his monologue, Sosa asked of the students what they expect to gain from the program. All the answers were similar: a stay at a Disney park unlike any other, from which they will emerge with real-world experience and another accolade on their resumes. The representative assured them that this is indeed, the case, and after answering a few more questions, summoned alumni of the program up to the stage. The two students are eager to offer testimonials as to their experience in the program, and affirmed that it fulfilled their expectations.

As the presentation drew to a close, excited chatter filled the auditorium. A number of the more timid members of the audience stood and posed further questions to the representative and the alumni. One such student was overheard saying that the program “was better than anything else the university had to offer, because it offered opportunities in such varied fields while allowing participants to meet students from other countries”.

The demonstration had no doubt been hugely effective, more so than most associations and internships can boast. What could have contributed to this? Perhaps nostalgic charm, a love of travel, a desire for a more unique approach to education and career building? Or perhaps more likely some combination of the three. Whatever the reason, it was clear that the starstruck “Colegiales” were given much to think about on the drive home that evening.


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