Thursday, October 7, 2010

Guest Blog: Through the Eyes of the Intern

Mid-August, WMTA welcomed its new intern, Elisa Jaeckel, to the staff. Elisa, a Hotel and Tourism Management Major in her last year of schooling, hails all the way from Potsdam, Germany, outside of Berlin. Her spirited personality and hard work has made her an invaluable addition to the WMTA team over the past couple of months, and we couldn't be more thankful for everything she's done. Life-long Michiganders can't help but wonder and try to recall what it's like to take in West Michigan for the first time, from its expansive lake and quaint towns to the oversize bridge and hustle and bustle of Grand Rapids. We asked Elisa to reflect over her time abroad and share her thoughts with our West Michigan Weekly readers. Take it away, Elisa!

My name is Elisa! I’m a German college student, and I’ve been an intern at WMTA since mid-August. I’m going to return to Germany in one week, and tomorrow is my last day. Reflecting on my time in West Michigan, I got a lot to say.

Working for WMTA was a unique experience. I learned a lot about the daily routine and the way business is done here. I helped update our homepage and research for a little (I mean, huge) database that will help WMTA’s visitors find their favorite beaches, parks, and trails in the future. It was a lot of fun. Last weekend, I also attended a trade show with WMTA in Indianapolis. My co-workers are great, and they made me feel very welcome. I loved to be with and a part of the team.

Not only working but also travelling in West Michigan gave me a taste of its real beauty and diversity. Right now I call Holland, Michigan my home. I love Holland’s parks and Mt. Pisgah which gives a wonderful vista over Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa. Sometimes I like to be in Saugatuck as well, a town that is small but nice, and I like to stroll down the streets and drink a coffee to go. Being in West Michigan, I, of course, need to mention Grand Rapids. I’ve only been there a few times, but every time I enjoy it a little bit more. I found it intriguing to look at ArtPrize 2010 and see the city blossom around it.

I experienced more of West Michigan by means of a road trip with my boyfriend - from Holland to Mackinac Island, mostly along Lake Michigan. I think Lake Michigan is totally stunning, and it always reminds me of an endless ocean. We stayed in Benzonia for the night when it was late and in Petoskey which reminded me a little bit of Holland.

We had a lot of stopovers along the way, like Muskegon, White Lake, Silver Lake, Pentwater, Ludington, Manistee and Arcadia on our first day. On the second day we stopped in Honor, Empire, Glen Haven, Leland, Northport, Traverse City and Charlevoix. Day three stops included Mackinaw City, the “Mighty Mac,” St. Ignace and Castel Rock and finally Mackinac Island. Seeing all those places and how different they are was exciting, not to mention impressions you can take in just driving and looking around you.

You don’t have to search hard for the great Michigan; it is always right before your eyes. I especially liked the sun settings in Lake Michigan, the awesome view from a high viewing platform nearby Arcadia, Leelanau for its pure nature, the gigantic Mackinac Bridge connecting Lower and Upper Peninsulas and of course, Mackinac Island itself with the laid-back atmosphere and ease. Not only do those big things count in the end, but also all the small things along the way.

To conclude, WMTA gave me a good insight of what is going on in West Michigan and how you can even make it better. The Association puts all its energy into promoting West Michigan in every detail, and I was happy to be a part of it. I hope I was able to bring something valuable into WMTA as well.

At the very end there is only one more thing to say:
West Michigan is marvelous - be a part of it!

- Elisa, WMTA Intern

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