Amanda Van Houte
University of Pittsburgh | BradfordBio:
Amanda Van Houten traveled to the green isle of Ireland as a Vira I. Heinz scholarship recipient. There she spent eight weeks working at Ireland's premier private members' club in the heart of Dublin's city centre. Through the Panther International Internship Program, Amanda was placed at the Stephen's Green Club, where she collaborated with a diverse team of coworkers to offer outstanding dining services, accommodations for guests, and event spaces to the members of the club. Throughout her time in the program, she worked in every department to gain well-rounded exposure to the club operation. At the end of the program, Amanda found she enjoyed the experience of working in reception the most. In reception, Amanda was able to interact more with the wide range of local and international members that the club welcomes. Here she was able to learn the importance of intercultural communication competency so that she can communicate clearly, listen well, resist inappropriate social pressure, negotiate conflict constructively, and ask for or offer help when needed. During her international internship experience, Amanda was also able to further develop social/emotional growth skills by often starting discussions about cultural and global topics with coworkers and peers in the program. As a result, she can effectively manage stress, control impulses, and motivate herself in a working environment.
Outside of her internship experience, Amanda enjoyed exploring the great city of Dublin on her own. Whether that consisted of strolling through the vibrant city parks, attending exhibits at renowned museums, or attending album launches of local artists. She thoroughly enjoyed noticing and celebrating the cultural differences she witnessed. Not only did this traveling opportunity help Amanda gain professional confidence during her internship placement, but also put her into situations where she learned to adapt and achieve self-reliance outside of the office. Growing up in a small village, Amanda had to adjust to living in the highly populated Dublin city area. One of her earliest personal achievements in the program was mastering the public transportation system to travel throughout the area on her own.
CEE Title: “A Bench is Not a Bed”
A Bench is Not a Bed was a collaborative presentation between Kameo Chambers, Natali Heater, and Amanda Van Houten at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. This Community Engagement Experience was created to inform the community of local resources and offer a global perspective on a very important social issue, housing insecurity. Each member of the team conducted research and presented their findings regarding homelessness in one of the following locations Sweden, Ireland, and Pennsylvania. Following the detailed presentation, the group invited a diverse handful of university faculty to help guide open discussions on the underlining and complex factors of housing insecurity. No one should be without a safe environment to call home and unfortunately, every city still has a homeless population. Since we are also on a college campus, it is also very important to inform our peers of the resources available to them and how they can help others in this life-altering experience. A Bed is Not a Bench ended up empowering the audience to work locally with the community to improve access to resources and the underlying factors that contribute to housing insecurities, especially in rural areas.