For many, the idea of work placement does not conjure up imagery of blue skies, sun-kissed beaches and roller coasters.
Imagine then being given the opportunity to undertake your placement in the sunny climes of Florida surrounded by the magic of Disney World.
For student Peter Fuller that dream, a dream he has harboured since visiting the resort as an eight-year-old, became reality when he was offered the chance to work there for a year as part of his studies.
“It all came about due to my university, UCLan in Preston, where I’m on a business and management degree and have recently finished my second year,” he said. “Disney came to the university so I thought I’d apply on the off chance. I got through the first stage of interviews, so carried on with the process and was told I had been accepted around the start of December. I then made the decision, with the support of my family and girlfriend, to go for it.”
He jetted off for the Sunshine State last month and has enjoyed a whirlwind couple of weeks during which he has been learning his role as a bell hop at the Hollywood Tower Hotel, seen Mariah Carey on the Tower of Terror ride and celebrated his 20th birthday
His time out there is no holiday though and with only six universities in the UK running the programme and only 25 pupils getting the chance to experience it, Peter, who lives with his parents in Clockhouse Grove when home, is determined to make the most of it.
“During the 12 months I’m out here I will be working for three months in operations with my current role at the Tower of Terror. Then I’ll spend three months in merchandise somewhere on Disney property, probably in one of the parks before spending six months in hospitality at one of the Disney resorts.”
Despite enjoying the experience of a lifetime there is plenty the former Marsden Heights pupil is going to be missing. “There are many, many things I’ll miss about home, my girlfriend Jessica Leigh Cook, my mum, dad and gran and the rest of my family, friends of course and Jess’ family.
“I’ll miss things like football i.e. both going on games with my dad and also Turf Moor with my girlfriend and her dad as well refereeing matches.
“I’ll definitely miss home cooked meals such as my mum’s lasagna and the rugby league – me and my dad always travel down to Wembley to watch the Challenge Cup Final. I’m going to miss my own bed and having my own personal space as I’m sharing with five other lads and alcohol as well because I’m not able to drink for a year.”
On completing his placement, Peter plans to travel America taking in the sights and sounds of New York, California and Las Vegas but admits he is uncertain as to whether he will remain out there.
“I don’t know quite yet if I will want to stay out here, it all depends on other people. I’m sensible enough to know that at the moment it’s short term I’m here for so it’s easier to cope. I don’t think living here without my girlfriend or family would be for me for the long term unless I was offered a job that would keep me happy and motivated as well as give me the finances to be in a position to travel back to England whenever I want.
“Also I am a very proud Englishman, Northerner and Lancastrian and I’m proud of my town, which has a big pull on the future as I don’t at the moment see myself being completely happy anywhere else.”
For now though he will certainly be making the most of his time while Stateside and anybody wanting to keep up with his adventures can do you so by following his blog at www.peterf267.blogspot.com.