Life as a Guest Services Intern – Celia (Australia)

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Hi I’m Celia from Canberra, Australia and I am the Autumn 2016 Guest Services Intern.

When I was first applying for the Autumn Guest Services ocautumn2016_20160902_02-resizedIntern position here at Our Chalet, I was told by many people that you can’t really describe an average day at Our Chalet. Within the first two weeks of being here, I really understood what they meant.

Each of the volunteers and interns has specific jobs that they do on a regular basis. For example, as the Guest Services Intern, I am responsible for running reception at rostered times. I also help to supervise the volunteers on their Guest Services days, help with completing spreadsheets for reports and help to run the shop. On top of these duties, I also regularly get the opportunity to work on personal projects and plan social events for the staff.

One of my most eventful days so far was during my training: The morning began with breakfast with my fellow Autumn volunteers in the staff house, Stockli, followed by a sad farewell to my Summer predecessor who we ‘sang down the hill’ (a Chalet tradition). This was followed by the daily staff meeting where we find out about the jobs for the day and any arrivals or departures.

Photo 21-9-16, 12 54 51 pm.jpgAfter that, I had one of my final training sessions with the Marketing and Communications Intern, Beth and the Head of Guest Operations, Nikki, on Health and
Safety at Our Chalet. As we chatted about lifting techniques and risk management, we started to hear the clanging of bells which was growing louder and louder. This could only mean one thing…Cows! I was so excited to find out that there was a herd of cows coming our way, on their way down the mountain for winter. We all ran outside and watched them passing in front of the Chalet in traditional floral headdresses and with huge ceremonial bells around their necks.

After that excitement we headed back inside to finish the training session, but had another happy interruption with the delivery of delicious fresh pancakes for morning tea. After the pancakes it was back to work, straightening things out in the shop and restocking products that were running low. I also replied to some emails, drew up a schedule for the month and wrote some notes on my staff challenge.

After lunch I had my first driving practice, 2016-10-21 11.44.02.jpgwhich turned out to be quite eventful as I struggled with driving on the right hand side of the road and tried to remember that the gear stick and indicators were on the wrong sides. We drove through the valley and past some beautiful sites including the second
highest waterfall in Switzerland, Engstligenfalle. On the way back up to Our Chalet we managed to pick up some staff members who had been out on an overnight hike, saving them the walk back up the mountainside.

Then, after a couple of hours working in reception and dinner with the guests in the dining hall, the other Autumn Vollies and I relaxed in the staff house and watched a movie together before heading off to bed.

IMG_8653.JPGThat night however, I was on duty which meant that I was responsible for answering the duty phone if any guests need assistance overnight and so had to be prepared for a call at any time. Although it hardly ever rings, I got a call at 3am when a guest arrived earlier than anticipated to check-in. I checked her in and showed her to her room before crashing back into bed.

So, as you can see, while the Guest Services Intern has many standard jobs to do, you can never really predict what you might get up to from day to day!

Celia Vaughan – Guest Services Intern, Autumn 2016