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Rising to the Challenge on Internship with Sofya

Internship student Sofya has just completed her 9-Month Fully Paid Internship with Ultimate Hikes in Queenstown. Sofya faced challenges during her time guiding but rose to the occasion.

What’s a day in the life of Sofya on internship look like? 

Depending on the trip I’m guiding, whether it’s the Grand Traverse – a 66km six-day trip through the Greenstone Valley in Mount Aspiring through Fiordland. Or the Routeburn Track with 24 people- or a cheerful Routeburn 33km three-day adventure with 40 guests. My day included a 5am wake up, discussing medical conditions and preventives then onto the bus and walking in all kinds of weather. There was also a side of hospitality including serving all meals in the luxury 5-star lodges. My role involved providing briefings, first aid, making importation decisions and interpretation throughout the trips.

What was a highlight from your internship?

Guiding up to 40 guests through challenging weather and track conditions. Being ready to deal with any curve-balls thrown my way developed my leadership and confidence. This has definitely been a highlight for me and my personal development. Another highlight was how many influential and interesting guests I guided and spent time with over the trips.

How did the internship managers help you find your internship position?

Lizzie was incredible, I was stuck on what to do, like most. Australia did sound amazing and luxurious, but staying back in Queenstown had its perks! It was hard to not think of warmer weather when hiking in minus 5 degrees ha-ha, but I LOVED being in the extreme elements. Without Lizzie’s advice to challenge myself and step outside my comfort zone I wouldn’t have had the same experience. I am so grateful for her encouragement and ongoing support throughout my journey.

Any tips or advice for students preparing for internship?

I would advise other students going into their internships to take everything as a learning experience no matter what. Even the hardest days on track made me a stronger person in the end.

What is one thing you have learnt on internship?

I have learnt that no matter your age, whether your 18 or 30, your age shouldn’t represent your work ethic. Hard work and leadership comes from within.

What’s the best thing about living in Queenstown?

You are right in the hub of the outdoors and it’s super fun to go out on missions like hiking, even if you hike for your internship ha-ha. Mountaineering and camping were also fun when we had a couple days off this summer. In Queenstown it’s so easy to make friends and enjoy the outdoors!

 

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