A Gen Z student is paying $10,000 to commute from NYU to Florida for an internship at the Ritz-Carlton—but says it’s worth it for the connections

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Gen Zers weren't lying when they said they were struggling in the post-pandemic job market—and one intern has proved he'll drop tens of thousands of dollars to make sure he has the best chance possible.

Vincent Campanaro is a New York University student who landed an illustrious internship at the Ritz-Carlton; the only problem is it's more than a three-hour flight away in Naples, Fla.

Campanaro said he's going to fork out around $10,000 to travel to Florida and back on weekends for the six-month internship. But the business development intern, who began his stint with the Ritz-Carlton in November, said it's a necessary expense to gain the experience.

"The internship market in general is incredibly competitive right now," Campanaro told Fox Business in an interview released late last week. "You've got people applying with perfect test scores, perfect GPA, everything, and they send 200 applications and they don't get a single offer."

"So the way that this works is it's basically luck of the draw," the Stern School of Business student told Varney & Co. "I could've applied to every single internship in the entire country and not [have] gotten a single one in New York."

Campanaro's super-commute from his New York dorm to his hotel room in Florida ranges anywhere between five and eight hours, with the student rushing to the airport after finishing classes at 12:15 p.m. at the end of the week and arriving back by 11 a.m. on Monday.

The freshman student added he has a "unique" set of circumstances which led to his five-figure commuting regimen: "Freshmen do not intern at hotels really; the hotel internship programs generally are structured more for juniors, seniors, and recent college graduates."

Campanaro, who is in Stern's Business, Technology and Entrepreneurship program with a focus on finance and a minor in social entrepreneurship, added: "It's about $500 a week. Flying back and forth to Naples, that's really penny-pinching because Naples is pretty expensive. It's not easy actually, there have been times when I had to sleep at the airport or book a completely different flight because my flight increased and stuff."

'Worth it'

The Gen Z intern said the commute was "worth it" both in a financial sense and for the experience, explaining the internship is "fantastic."

"I've learned so much about the Ritz-Carlton philosophy," Campanaro continued. He added he had taken on board the luxury hotel chain's customer-centric focus and how to anticipate the wants and needs of guests.

The freshman student gave further insight into his hectic routine in an essay shared on Business Insider earlier this month, in which he makes it clear the "highly competitive" compensation—paired with the discounted rates at Marriott group hotels—make the internship possible.

"Despite the challenges of traveling thousands of miles monthly, the rewards have been immeasurable," Campanaro writes. "Plus, the connections I have made, both within the company and in the broader community—many of whom come from backgrounds different from mine—have significantly broadened my perspective. I have encountered dozens of fascinating individuals simply by sitting next to them on a flight."

Campanaro's experience is indeed at odds with the reality of many peers in his age group. Last month a survey of more than 2,000 16-to-25-year-olds in the U.K. for the Prince’s Trust annual NatWest Youth Index 2024 found one in 10 unemployed Gen Zers has had to turn down a job because they couldn't afford the costs associated with a new job—be it the commute or an appropriate uniform to wear.

The NYU student's career priorities also seem to chime differently to other people in his generation—the majority of whom say they want more focus on work-life balance and mental health in their roles.

However, younger employees are increasingly finding how difficult a tight job market can be to crack into—a problem summed up in a viral TikTok posted by Lohanny Santos in which she describes her struggle to land a minimum-wage job despite having two degrees.

But whether Gen Zers favor side hustles or want to begin learning in an office, their generation will enter a world of AI-assisted work markedly different from that of their predecessors.

This story was originally featured on Fortune.com