Hello again! I feel as though every time I write a post I apologise for how long it has taken me to upload one since the last time, and so here I am again! I have been very busy this Summer with holidays, job applications, my CEP application etc. but I really wanted to write this post as soon as I got the opportunity to do so.
If you follow me on Instagram (also @mainstreetmagiic) you may know that I have recently been invited to a pre-screen interview at Yummy Jobs for the Disney Cultural Exchange program for Summer 2018! I honestly cannot put into words how excited I am and how grateful I am to even be offered a first interview for this experience, I just hope that each stage of the process goes just as well and that I will get to work in the most magical place on earth next Summer.
Anyway, enough about my application! In this post I want to talk about the Cultural Exchange Program itself and offer you any tips and tricks if you are also hoping to apply this year or in years to come and so I hope that you will find it helpful!
So what is the Cultural Exchange Program?
The Cultural Exchange Program is the opportunity for International students to work in Walt Disney World – in Orlando, Florida – during their Summer break at University. If you are lucky enough to be accepted onto this program then you would be working in roles including:
- Attractions and Operations
- Quick Service/Full Service Food and Beverage
- Custodial and Entertainment
I do not know much about these roles myself just yet but I am hoping to do a post on what each entails at some point in the future when I have gathered a bit more information. Unfortunately, if you are applying for the sole intention of becoming a face character then I am sorry to inform you that people on this program are not eligible for that role. However, there are plenty of other exciting roles that would allow you to interact with guests on a similar level, such as character attendants and being a character in costume (e.g. goofy, chip and dale…).
This all sounds great fun up to now, and I’m sure it will be if you do get accepted onto the program. However, you have to acknowledge that Disney is one of the biggest entertainment companies in the world and will have very high expectations when it comes to their employees so make sure that you do your research and that your willing to commit to it, as it will be hard work and not one big holiday!
How do you apply?
The first step of beginning your application is to go straight to the Yummy Jobs website and click on ‘Disney Cultural Exchange Program – Summer (whatever year it is that you will be applying for)’. Here you will find all the basic information that you need to know before you apply, however I will go through some of these requirements for you now.
In order to apply for this program you must be:
- Able to speak fluent English
- At least 18 years of age at the time of applying
- Have a valid passport
- A student in an accredited and degree-issuing college or university studying a full-time undergraduate course
- Entering second year of study or above
- From either the United Kingdom, Ireland or Europe
- Available to travel for your interviews (first in Epping, Essex and second in Hammersmith, London) as well as for the starting dates of the program (these are usually between early June and late August however are subject to change and won’t be confirmed until later on)
If you have read these requirements and you are eligible, then that’s great! Now your next step is to simply click the apply button and get ready to complete your application.
When you begin your application you will be required to take a headshot but you can upload this at any point before you submit your application. This has to be a true representation of yourself, with nothing covering your face and on a plain background. Don’t stress too much over this! Just make sure you’re smiling and you are showing them that you have the Disney ‘look’ that will make them want to hire you. I will insert mine as an example later on just to give you an idea of what it they’re generally looking for but the majority of people just used selfies.
The first part of your application will require to fill in your personal and contact information, this is probably the easiest bit because you can’t really go wrong! You will then be asked to fill in details about your education and work experience. After that there will be questions about whether you have any piercings or tattoos. My advice here would be to completely honest with them as it will not go against your application as long as they can be removed/covered up during your time working at Disneyworld.
I found that the next few stages of the application were the trickiest and ones that I would recommend that you spend the most time on. Firstly there were the two questions:
- Why do you value cultural interaction?
This program is called the Cultural Exchange Program because the purpose is to promote cultural interaction between students from all over the world and so they want to ensure that this is a reason for applying and not just because you love Disney! These are a few points that I included:
- I talked about how I loved to travel and learn about cultures and linked this to my interest in languages
- I discussed how cultural interaction would benefit my course at University – This is a good thing to do if you can just find a touch of relevance to your studies, even if its something really small! I study psychology and so it is not only creative courses that will benefit from this experience, you can be studying anything!
- I also mentioned how I would share my own culture with others and highlighted the importance of forming international friendships
2. What are your motivations for this program?
This question was really fun to answer as you could finally talk about why you really want to apply for this program, the only problem for me was trying to get it all down on paper and within a 1500 character limit. Here are a few tips on answering this question:
- I talked about how travelling independently and meeting new people was important to me, as I am currently living at home for University and would like to experience that
- I mentioned how learning about new cultures interests me and linked it to my love of Disney and the Disney parks
- I included my passion and enthusiasm for Disney and how I wanted to give back as a Cast Member and make guests dreams come true
Once I had completed these questions I moved onto perfecting my CV. I have read countless blogs in preparation for my application and one thing I picked up on was to make yourself stand out. One recommendation I took from a blog post was to use the site Canva to form your CV. Here you will find thousands of beautifully designed templates to choose from that will definitely highlight you as a candidate for this program. Things you need to think about when creating your CV are:
- It should be no longer than 1-2 pages
- Have an introduction section where you briefly talk about yourself, your course, your skills and why this makes you ideal for the program
- Talk about your work experience and the skills you gained from working there, highlight any key words that you think Yummy Jobs might be looking for in a candidate for the program. You don’t have to have loads of work experience to apply, I have only had one real job and one volunteering job so don’t worry too much about it!
- Mention your education. If you want to you can insert your GCSE and A-Level grades and if you haven’t had any results from your University at the time of your application, then briefly state what you have learned and gained from it so far
- Make sure to include your hobbies as it shows what your interests are and gives them an insight into who you are and what your personality may be like. I included things like reading, specifically Harry Potter, and my Disney Instagram account and blog.
- You might also want to insert another section just to bullet point your main skills. This would make it easy for Yummy Jobs to determine whether you are right for the role quite quickly if they were just scanning through CV’s.
- Finally include your references! I had two references and their details, stating that references will be available upon request
You’re final stage of the application is your cover letter. Of course you can fill it in any order, I just chose this way because I saved what I felt I needed to spend the most time on until the end. The cover letter felt quite daunting for me personally as there aren’t any specific questions to answer or guide you through it, so I’ve put together a few hints & tips that might help you get started.
- Like any other cover letter, write your name and address in the top left corner
- I began mine with ‘Dear Walt Disney World Company/Yummy Jobs Team’ as both companies should be reading this eventually and it’s always better to address them personally
- Firstly, I stated what I was applying for. I then went onto say why I wanted to work for Disney and reiterated how I wanted to give back as a Cast Member
- I then went onto mention how I would love the opportunity to engage with people from other cultures, talked about my course again and what I could bring to the program from my own culture
- Next I spoke about my work experience. I talked about the skills I gained and how they were both in the area of hospitality. I then linked this to roles in Disneyworld that were available on the program
- I also spoke about my personality and why that would make me ideal for the program
- To finish the cover letter I made a short paragraph about how much this opportunity would mean to me. I mentioned Walt Disney himself and how I also believed in making dreams come true and then thanked them for considering my application
- Make sure your cover letter is no longer than 1 page!
So once you have completed all these steps you are free to submit your application! You’re application page will show a window like the one below and this is where you will find your updates and communicate with the Yummy Jobs team if you have any questions.
Unfortunately once submitted you are unable to edit your application so please ensure that it is absolutely perfect before you submit! It took me around 1 week to complete my application and then I spent a following week checking over it and getting advice from friends and family. Good luck to any of you applying this year! It’s not too late to apply as applications are open until September 15th and if you’re looking to apply next year then applications will open usually around the beginning of July.
I hope that you found this post useful and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask! You can comment on this post or DM me on my Instagram account and I will get back to you as soon as I can. Hopefully I will be able to offer more CEP advice after my pre-screen if it goes well *fingers crossed*.
Thank you for reading!
Love Shona xx
My Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mainstreetmagiic/