Studying in the Happiest Place on Earth

Next semester, sophomore Mackenzie Bonk will be learning and working in the Happiest Place on Earth—Disney World—through the Disney College Program. This unique program is an internship for college students that allows them to work on-site, as well as take college classes at the same time. The program lasts for a full semester, with students living company sponsored housing. Students are given the incredible opportunity to network with others from all over the country, and gain valuable work and communication skills. I sat down with Mackenzie to hear all about what she looks forward to as she takes this new adventure next semester.

Mackenzie is an Elementary Education major here at Auburn, and she decided to pursue this path because, “I want to become the type of person my elementary school teachers were to me. I've noticed that teachers who truly care about what they're teaching and the students they are interacting with always seemed to be the teachers I learned the most from. I want to pass the joy of learning new things onto future generations as my teachers did for me. Not to mention that I love working with kids at the elementary age level.”

The Disney College Program is open to all majors, so Mackenzie will be taking a mix of coursework during this time—some classes through the program, and online classes through Auburn. Originally, Mackenzie planned on majoring in Hospitality—Hotel and Restaurant Management. The program offers more for students in these types of majors, but when she switched to Elementary Education, her desire to apply to the program was still strong.

When asked about the application process, Mackenzie said, “The application process started off with a basic application, and then I was sent an email to do a web-based interview and a few days later I got another email to set up a phone interview. After my phone interview I had to wait just a few weeks and then I was offered a position. It sounds pretty simple, but one of the reasons I was so excited to receive an offer is because the acceptance rate to get into the program is about 24 percent or less.”

While going through this internship, each day will bring something new. The jobs these college students take on vary from dressing up as characters to working at individual attractions. Mackenzie says she is not quite sure what exactly she will be doing until she gets to Orlando. She is most looking forward to meeting people from all over the world, and getting to learn some of the behind-the-scenes Disney secrets.

“I hope to gain a good working experience with such a huge company and possibly get another chance to work with them in the future. But more importantly I hope to gain friends and a totally unique experience that I will always remember.”