September 19, 2016
"You could feel the energy and emotion in the tightly packed stadium."
That was how Ryan Nathan described the opening ceremony of the recently concluded 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Nathan, a sophomore from Glastonbury, Conn., was in Rio for the historic event, working as a hospitality intern for NBC at the Belmond Copacabana Palace, a luxury hotel located on Rio's Copacabana Beach.
"The bulk of my assignment was focused on assisting guests affiliated with NBC and Comcast to and from various events, as well as leisure tours," Nathan said. "We offered tours to Sugarloaf Mountain, home to some of the best views in Rio; Samba City, home of the famous Rio Carnival; and Christ the Redeemer statue."
Nathan first heard of the Olympic opportunity a year ago and quickly pursued it. A lengthy application process and several video interviews later, he "sure enough got the position," he remembered.
"For my first time going abroad, I couldn't have imagined a better place to go than this lively, breathtaking city," he said.
When not on the job, Nathan spent his time attending Olympic sporting events. He watched Michael Phelps earn gold in the men's 200-meter individual medley; had front-row seats to see Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross compete against Italy in beach volleyball; and saw Laurie Hernandez and Simone Biles in the balance beam final.
Nathan said his freshman public speaking course taught him how to speak confidently in front of people. And his Susquehanna experience gave him the confidence to pursue such a unique opportunity so far from home among people he didn't know, but now considers friends.
"I didn't know a single person going into Susquehanna, and through meeting people from all different walks of life, similar to the individuals I didn't know going into this internship, I ultimately became better at getting along quickly with people," he said. "I will be forever grateful for this tremendous experience, and I know that it sharpened my communication skills, an asset that will help me in any area of work."