BY Peter Mitchell
When thinking about the Richmond Holiday internship, it is difficult to know where to begin. It makes sense to start at the beginning, when I had no idea what I wanted to do after university, so began to look around at various internships, graduate schemes and jobs. The internship with Richmond immediately stood out as the way forward. Here was something that gave me the opportunity to spend the year abroad, in Samos and Turkey in the summer season, and in the French Alps in the winter. This was not the only appealing thing about the internship. In addition Richmond would give me the opportunity to achieve qualifications I would have never have thought about getting. Every intern has the opportunity to become either a qualified sailing instructor or windsurf instructor as well as learning important skills such as driving powerboats, first aid, Food Hygiene and ski guiding. The most fantastic part being that whilst doing all of this I would be able to grow in my faith as part of a Christ-centered holiday company.
It sounded perfect and with high expectations I arrived in Kingston-Upon-Thames for a two-day induction with the eight other people I would be spending the next year with. Instantly it was clear that it was going to be an amazing year, with a nice balance of people. Half the interns had just finished 6th form and the other half had just finished university. At the end of the two days the adventure began as we flew out to the Greek Island of Samos, which was to become our home for the next six weeks. The reality of my new life set in on the first day, when walking down to work meant walking to the beach and opening up the beach shack. Quickly training began in how to drive the powerboats, sailing and windsurfing as well as learning how to run the waterfront. Instantly the spiritual growth that I desired on the internship began to show itself. With a bible study and time of prayer every morning, something that takes place in every resort and in the head office, and then a ministry session most evenings, it was a great place to be. Getting the best out of God’s creation whilst also getting to know him better, all whilst doing your job. The six-week spell in Samos was an amazing time and fully exceeded my expectations of the internship.
After Samos there is naturally a bit of a lull in the holiday industry. So we had six weeks off, which seemed to last for ever. Just longing for the winter season to begin and to fly out to the French Alps. However Richmond had planned for this time of nothingness and in the middle of the six weeks was the chance for all the interns to be reunited in Kingston for a week of ministry and bible teaching. This was one of the times where it was clear how much Richmond put into the Interns, with a whole week devoted to looking at the bible and growing spiritually. Finally we headed out to France and began life as seasionaries in the Alps. The work was completely different from the summer, instead of running the waterfront we were now cleaning, helping to cook and serving food to guests. All of this made enjoyable through working with like- minded and servant hearted people. It wasn’t long before we were being trained up to be ski guides, taking the guests out on the slopes and showing them the best parts of the mountain. The main perk of the job being that there is plenty of time to get out on the slopes and enjoy skiing or snowboarding. When your not working or on the slopes there are hot tubs currently in every Richmond ski chalet which offer a great chance to relax.
So this is where I am now, halfway through the winter season, absolutely loving life and growing closer and closer to God daily. There is still much more to come, with a return to Samos at the start of May for a few months, before travelling the short distance to Turkey. By then we should all have qualified as windsurf or sailing instructors. It is safe to say that the Richmond Internship has far exceeded my expectations, which were very high to begin with. It has been an absolutely amazing year and the other interns who I did not know at all at the start are going to be friends for life. It continues to help me in my walk with God and coming on the internship was one of the best decisions I have ever made.