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Cahill Gift Enables International Internship Experiences in Hospitality and Tourism Management

Managing a hostel in Ghana for NGO workers, operating the food and beverage departments at the DoubleTree by Hilton Amsterdam Centraal Station, creating sales and marketing strategies for the Brisbane Bandits of the Australia Baseball League. In today’s global marketplace, these types of internship experiences on a student’s resume are likely to get him or her noticed in the $2 trillion global tourism industry. Unfortunately, not every student is able to afford these opportunities.

Michael and Tania Cahill, parents of Isabel ’14, were inspired by their daughter’s experiential learning through the hospitality and tourism management (HTMT) program.  During the summer before Isabel’s sophomore year, she worked at a hotel in Montreal.  The following summer, she interned at a hotel in Amsterdam.   

“We realize the value of those experiences and wanted to make similar opportunities available for other hospitality and tourism students who might not otherwise be able to afford it,” says Michael Cahill.

In June 2014, the couple created the Cahill HTMT International Internship Award to enable one undergraduate student annually to participate in an extraordinary internship abroad.  The Cahill gift also advances the School of Business’ mission to incorporate global learning into students’ experiences.

The first award recipient will be selected this fall by departmental faculty. Students can use the award to meet a variety of needs, such as travel, fees related to the visa process, tuition, and living expenses. 

“The Cahill HTMT International Internship Award aligns with our emphasis on industry partnerships, the desire of our students to work and study internationally, and the mission of the College to foster distinctive opportunities and relationships around the world,” says Brumby McLeod, assistant professor of hospitality and tourism management.

Both Tania and Michael have “outside” perspectives on the impact of their gift.  Tania, a native of Holland and Michael, originally from Canada, see how it will influence a student’s outlook and career success in a life-changing way. 

“International internships will better equip students at the College of Charleston to participate in the global economy alongside students from Europe, Asia and elsewhere,” says Cahill. “Dean Shao, Dr. Frash and Dr. McLeod have clearly focused on these initiatives as an important part of a good education and we’re glad to be a part of their vision.”

In addition to working abroad, the recipient will be encouraged to live with a local family.  A home-stay arrangement allows the student to be deeply exposed to the area’s people and lifestyles.

“Our hope is that wherever a student lands an international internship, that he or she soaks up the unique culture by meeting, socializing and living with the local population,” says Cahill.  

In today’s borderless business world, international work experience is more than an added bonus on a student’s resume. It’s the differentiating factor that will be made possible for several HTMT students, thanks to the generosity and global vision of Michael and Tania Cahill.

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