"Chateau Elan Hospitality"

February 5, 2019

Spirit loves to hear about all the cool things our participants have been up to! Mischaelle, an intern who is finishing training at Chateau Elan Winery & Resort in Georgia, reflects on her program below.

What can I say? Hmmm overall this internship training at Chateau Elan showed me that I can do so many things that I never see myself doing before. I have never been this confident in my entire 4 years of industry experience than I am now. Chateau Elan as most of my guests would describe is VERY DIVERSE, and I couldn't disagree with them at all having been here for a year. This company truly gave meaning to "Hard work always pays off" saying. It wasn’t easy at first, I had to prove myself and gain trusts of my manager and coworkers. In addition, being called “just an intern” was such a big challenge for I don’t think people around me would expect so much from someone who is called one. Of course, with positive mindset and willingness to improve myself, I slowly felt that I’m one of them.
Who would have thought that an island girl who’s never seen real grapes in her entire childhood life will end up working in a winery? Prior to this, I don’t know what Cabernet was, nor Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Barolo and the like. Never crossed my mind the purpose of decanter too. It may be so common for other nations but for someone like me everything back then was new and it was very overwhelming. That’s why I’m grateful to all of my "Marky Marc" family for teaching me everything that I should know, helping me out when I get confused on a busy Saturday night, answering my queries, comforting me when I broke down after an exhausting shift yet still seeing that I will go far in my field. Clement always say in our pre-shift meeting the importance of getting our stuff ready and have everything placed and organized in accomplishing a smooth and easy operation, it’s about putting extra 2 seconds doing things right and saving up 30 minutes later. Also, someone once told me that “those small details can make a big difference," as simple as it sounds but often we overlook those small details. Marc (outlet where I’m assigned) taught me that in order to achieve larger goals I must have to do series of small things.
No words can describe how honored I am for this experience and I wouldn’t experience any of these without the help of all you at Spirit. Thanks a lot and I pray that the U.S. State Department will keep J-1 Internship Program for as long as it could so that other young professionals like me will be given the same opportunity that I had.
To future J-1 participants, my advice is this, always work hard but never forget to have fun. This is once in a lifetime experience and only lasts for a year so go out and make friends with other nationalities. Learn their culture and share yours. Lastly take lots of pictures and videos as your phone could hold and share it with your family and friends in your home country. One day you will look back at those photos and self-fulfilment follows.
- Mischaelle F., Chateau Elan Winery and Resort Intern, 2018-2019
Special thanks to Mischaelle for sharing her awesome photos and experience as a J-1 Intern! If you have photos and a story to share, contact Spirit. We'd love to hear from you!
Check out more of Mischaelle's photos below: