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Author(s)

Evangelia Marinakou, Charalampos Giousmpasoglou

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ABSTRACT

The purpose of this paper was to investigate internships in the hospitality sector and identify factors that contribute to student satisfaction from this working and learning experience. One hundred and sixteen students who had completed their internships from both public and private higher education institutions in Greece participated in this study with a survey questionnaire that required participants to rate their internship experience and identify challenges and benefits. The findings suggest that overall students demonstrated a favorable perception towards their internship experience. This research also suggests that working in a professional environment, the learning experience, social interaction with supervisors/staff, and the working conditions are factors that contribute to motivation and student satisfaction from internships. Finally, students’ expectations towards the internship experience were focused in learning and working in a professional environment. Long working hours, low or poor pay, and lack of coordination are issues that were raised as challenges and may contribute to low satisfaction. This paper proposes that institutions should provide students with clear information on internships and the challenges of working in the hospitality sector. They should offer programmes that include experiential learning and the practical aspect of the profession. In addition, it is proposed that the internships should be carefully planned and organized, as well as monitored by trained instructors to ensure the appropriateness of the learning experience to the students.

KEYWORDS

hospitality, internships, expectation and perception, Greece

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