Intern at Willka T’ika!
Have you ever imagined what it would be like to intern at a Wellness Center like Willka T’ika?
Imagine waking up to the sounds of birds chirping in lush gardens;
Yoga and meditation practice whenever you feel inspired;
Organic farm-to-table vegetarian food prepared just for you;
Hikes to local Incan ruins and craft markets;
Meeting fascinating, blissed-out travelers!
Every week we receive messages from people interested in work, work-exchange, internships, or volunteer opportunities at Willka T’ika. We generally respond by explaining that we have a wonderful staff of 19 Quechua neighbors who have been working with us since 1995. In the tradition of the Andean principle of “ayni” or reciprocity everyone pitches in and helps with guest services, food preparation, housekeeping, gardening, and maintenance. As such, we have rarely needed outside help.
However, as we expand to attract more diverse individuals and groups from different countries, we are considering an internship program where people interested in Wellness and Hospitality can join our team for a short term project and contribute to the growth of our center.
Are you interested in spending 1-2 months working at Willka T’ika?
The potential and opportunity is unlimited as there is so much that can be accomplished with the right person. It really depends on your experience and interest.
Although we are open to other ways that you may be able to creatively contribute to Willka T’ika, we have four types of internships that we look to fill. See their outlines below.
This will be our 4th summer hosting undergraduate and MBA interns from top international Business Schools. Through hands-on work, Willka T’ika interns will help shape the functionality and culture of Willka T’ika while building fundamental business skills. Interns will be expected to help with a variety of off-hand tasks, but will focus on 4 key learning modules, described below. (Note: the following bullet points are actual projects undertaken by previous interns.)
○ Promote Willka T’ika social media outlets like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
○ Write and code blog posts to boost Willka T’ika’s search engine optimization.
○ Create and promote new types of audiovisual content such as videos, podcasts, short films, and more to increase Willka T’ika’s visibility.
○ Work to increase the number of guest reviews on Facebook, Google and Trip Advisor. Collect and post guest testimonials.
○ Communicate the value of spa services and healing treatments and ceremonies to guests.
○ Work to increase sales in the Willka T’ika artisan store.
• Customer Service
○ Work in real-time to solve unique guest problems and requests.
○ Check guests in and out of the retreat center.
○ Serve guests at the Willka T’ika bar and restaurant.
• Personal Interest Module
○ The personal interest module enables interns to choose a functional business area to focus on. Here are some examples:
– Work to standardize the inventory keeping process of the Willka T’ika store.
– Create a tracking system and portal to view client readiness status of rooms.
– Analyze costs of meals and food suppliers.
– Review vendor costs and evaluate supplier contracts.
○ Product Development
– Research, plan, and test a new product or service to be offered at Willka T’ika, such as a class, experience, excursion or meal.
Laina is from Georgetown University and she worked as our “Business Intern” handling sales and marketing for both our Peruvian and International guests.
This internship would focus on making Willka T’ika more sustainable and socially conscious. To us, sustainability means improving our community, our environment, and our own education, and we are open to lots of project ideas. See some potential internship projects below.
• Waste Management
○ Create a cradle-to-grave plan to maximize the amount of Willka T’ika waste materials that are properly recycled or sustainably disposed.
• Energy Management
○ Assess Willka T’ika’s energy use, and make a plan to maximize renewable energy sources (such as solar panels).
• Carbon neutrality
○ Help Willka T’ika complete a carbon accounting assessment of our current carbon usage.
• Social Impact
○ Source impactful, short-term volunteering projects in the Sacred Valley for future guests.
○ Work to increase the impact of the Willka T’ika Children’s Fund’s.
Lindsay is from the University of Michigan and she was a “Sustainability Intern” for Willka T’ika
Practice your hospitality management skills in a real work environment. Willka T’ika is uniquely positioned as a Wellness Center rather than a hotel. However we are open to considering of hospitality-specific projects based such as the following.
○ Discover and standardize the economics of our kitchen.
• Reception / Bar
○ Handle checking guests in and out of the hotel, as well as booking.
○ Book and manage guest spa services.
○ Manage inventory, product catalog, and sales at Willka T’ika’s artisan store.
One of Willka T’ika’s primary goals is to help give back to our community. Currently, Willka T’ika’s main means of doing so is through the WIllka T’ika Children’s Fund (WTCF), which supports educational opportunities for local children. Here are some examples of potential organizations to work with in partnership with the WTCF.
○ Contrive and execute multi-platform fundraising campaigns for the Willka T’ika Children’s Fund, and/or other local charities
• Program Management
○ Engage with community members to discover how Willka T’ika Children’s Fund dollars could best be used to improve their lives. Then, design and execute programs to serve that need.
• Youth Empowerment
○ The Niños del Sol is a long-standing community organization in Urubamba which houses, cares for, and educates 20 children (now teenagers). Willka T’ika interns could collaborate to and formulate a volunteering program with this incredible organization.
○ The Parque de la Papa (Potato Park) is an organization that cultivates and preserves 2,300 varieties of potatoes through sustainable agriculture. The group also hosts 3 micro-enterprises as well as an ecotourism function. Willka T’ika interns could reach out to The Potato Park and volunteer in an agricultural, environmental, or tourism-focused capacity.
○ Valle Sagrado Verde is a local NGO committed to restoring the Sacred Valley’s forests with indigenous trees
• Any many other wonderful NGOs that exist in the Sacred Valley!
Zach — a Teenage Intern’s Experience
Zach is from New Jersey and interned as both a “Hospitality Intern” and a “Non-Profit Intern”
If I could describe the Internship experience at Willka T’ika in one word it would be balanced. In the weeks that I’ve spent in Peru my schedule has been well organized so that I have never had the anxiety of not knowing what needed to be done at any given time while also having the flexibility to mold my schedule around the things I’ve wanted to do in Peru. This allowed me to remain productive, comfortable, and excited to make progress in my work as well as to spend my time in Peru in a creative way. What I really appreciate about Willka Tika is that it provides its guests with several categories of service which allows an intern to make an impact in multiple areas. The services that Willka T’ika provides include acting as a travel agency to organize sightseeing activities, a wellness center which specializes in making guests comfortable and relaxed whether it is with the garden grown and vegetarian meals or the solar baths accompanied by yoga and massages, a hotel which provides beautiful rooms, and also a charitable organization that supports local Quechua children. As an intern, I was able to make an impact in all of these areas in both big and small ways. This experience will help me in the workforce because it taught me both what it means to be a hands-on member of a team as well as how to think about about running a business successfully.
In a typical day, I walked the grounds of Willka T’ika and asked the staff if they needed any assistance. I folded laundry, helped manage the bar when no one else was available, and waited tables with the kitchen staff. Over time, I learned the value of these kinds of service jobs and have come to understand that doing laundry has a purpose beyond cleaning towels and helping the kitchen staff has a purpose beyond moving plates out of the kitchen a little faster. When asking to help the staff with jobs that I wasn’t required to do, they always responded with a smile. Reflected in this smile was a contagious sense that we were a team with a goal above being people with specific jobs. In Quechua culture this is called “Ayni” or reciprocity. Helping each other demonstrated that no job was unimportant and that working together efficiently was about the greater good of Willka T’ika’s guests rather than reaching the end of a work day. These small tasks also taught me about responsibility and communication; when something needs to be done you don’t wait for someone else to do it. And a workplace is more productive when you show the staff that you understand what their job entails. In this way, I learned about the importance of people and relationships in business, while also learning hospitality skills.
As an extra perk, I had the opportunity to be a part of meetings with the 3 Stanford Business School interns whose time overlapped with mine. I asked them questions and gained an understanding of important concepts like marketing, sales, operations, and learned to analyze metrics like the ratio between individual guest and guests coming in group retreats or the ratio between guests who booked directly vs. those who booked through booking agencies. In these meetings I also learned about the role of accounting and how technical solutions can help a business be more efficient. Watching as these older MBA interns did their work beside me throughout the weeks, I was able to build on the things that I had learned in those meetings.
One example of a way in which I learned a new skill and used it to positively impact Willka T’ika’s mission was when I edited several video interviews of young women who were awarded scholarships from the Willka T’ika Children’s Fund. Through translating and editing the videos, I became more comfortable with technology and marketing, skills that will be helpful with whatever career I choose. Additionally, I improved my Spanish. I also undertook a recycling project where I organized a recycling area near the front of the property and created signs which explained the importance of recycling to a staff not from a culture familiar with the positive environmental impact of the practice.
The internship was valuable not only for the skills I practiced and what I learned, but rather because I was able to experience a much more mature environment than high school, integrate into a new culture, and travel completely independently. I appreciate how I was given these multiple challenges yet I was still left with room in my schedule for fun! The fun portion of my time was divided between mountain biking, visiting Incan ruins, hiking, visiting town, watching the stars, participating in ritual ceremonies, and doing yoga. The knowledge that what I worked on would make a real difference in a real business was exciting and I realized that running a business takes discipline. Between these values, skills, and fun that filled my time in Peru I can say with confidence that it was worth giving up a few weeks of my summer! I am now a more educated and worldly person. Thank you Willka T’ika for allowing me to have this experience.
Interested in an Internship?
In terms of compensation, for the initial internships, there are a few possibilities of Ayni (or Reciprocity):
~Room and board for the intern
~The opportunity to participate in many of our excursions, classes, and wellness activities
~The possibility for commissions for services rendered
Interested parties should please send the following to firstname.lastname@example.org:
~Resume (include e-mail, current address, and Spanish language skills)
~Cover letter (please explain why you want to do an internship at Willka T’ika)
~Duration of internship desired and dates of availability