Who’s Abroad!

News & Events from Keystone College, La Plume, PA

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Laura Kern’s Blog from London

July 10th, 2018 · No Comments

Sodexo International Internship 2018: London

The past two weeks has been filled with excitement. During the first week, my fellow intern Cassandra and I visited the University College of London and City College of London. In terms of scale and location both colleges were so different from our own school, Keystone College. Keystone holds 1,500 students while University of College of London alone holds around 38,000. Both colleges are within easy walking distance to the high streets, while Keystone College is a 15 minute drive away from a small town. This affects the way Sodexo accounts sell to their students. Being so close to the high streets, Sodexo has to compete with many other dining services. They have to promote themselves and respond to the students’ demands while also maintaining Sodexo standards and values. This applies to student accommodation, which we learned about in Newcastle the second week.

Within the borders of the city there are many competitions waging; the eternal debate between Newcastle and Gateshead of whose city is better, the stunning contrast between old and modern architecture, and the competition between Sodexo’s student accommodation and private providers. During our time in Newcastle, we were given tours of the student accommodation dorms for Northumbria University, and learned about the impressive team that runs them. Nicola and the house managers have to stay on their toes when the students sometimes decide that they have their own ideas on how to customize their dorms while also maintaining a sense of good humor. The General Manager, Ian McLackland, who juggles not only the budget for running the dorms on Trinity square, but also the discipline for students who have more than just studying on their minds. From, Tom Martin, always in good spirits even early in the morning, told us about student environment and how Sodexo works to allow the students have the best experience they can while staying in a home away from home. Working with Jill Sargent, manager of Oxford House, we learned what the students demand from student accommodations. Students want privacy, an on suite bathroom, and plenty of space. Should they feel that they are not receiving this, they can easily move to a private independent provider off campus. This is extremely different from Keystone College where in one room, two to three people can share a bedroom and all of the dorms have communal kitchens and bathrooms. I was surprised and, admittedly, a bit envious of the studio apartments that Sodexo offered here. This means that Sodexo has to accommodate the students’ wants while compete with independent providers.

Overall, it has been inspiring and humbling to see the large network that is Sodexo. Being onsite at accounts has allowed me to experience the welcoming environment that customers experience from beginning to end. I know, I will definitely take all that I learn and share it with my community back home.

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