Step out of your comfort zone – Katie Youree

4 students from Purdue University joined us as interns at Shangri-La Hotel, Nanjing. It is now half way through their 6-month internship and we did an interview with them. Let’s find out how their foreign experience is in China! First, we have Katie, working in the Front Office.

SLNJ Group photo SLNJ Katie

What is the most valuable thing that you learned through this internship?

In the past three months, I learned a lot of new things. The most important thing is to be extra patient. Since I am in a foreign country with huge language barrier, it is harder to understand what others are talking about, and it takes time to get things done.

Also, I have learned that it is more complicated to run a hotel than what you could imagine. I took initiative to help out even when it was out of my scope of work. Through this, I became more resourceful and paid attention to every detail as well.

How has this internship impacted your future career path?

Being here for just three months has greatly affected my mind more than anything did in the past. My horizon has been opened to a completely new culture, language, and way of doing things. What’s more – I have fallen in love with the Chinese culture!

After this foreign working experience, I will most likely be working out of the States after graduation. I believe that putting myself in a completely new environment can truly make me grow as a person, and learn more than I could learn inside my comfort zone. I can proudly say that I have learned a lot in these past three months about the hospitality industry operations, culture, history and languages, as well as myself, than before.

Have you encountered difficulties working with people from different cultural backgrounds?

Before arriving China, I was told that it would not be easy because I would end up having culture shock. However, it did not stop me at all because I had the confidence to all difficulties. Luckily, I did not have much issue adapting to the culture with the help of my classmates and colleagues. I learned to be more flexible when working with different people. And now, there is nothing I could not manage.

What is your most memorable moment at Shangri-La so far?

I had thousands of memories that will stay in my heart forever so it is very hard to choose just one. Therefore, I picked three different memories to share with you all…

The very first memory is, in the first week that 4 of us (interns) worked with the Human Resources Department and walked around the hotel to show appreciation to different departments. It was awesome to take part in this campaign and I learned how to care about the employees.

The second memory I picked to share is, being able not to only work with the colleagues, but also to become friends with them. We hanged out together after work! Shangri-La is not just a place for work but it is also a family as well!

Lastly, it is when all of us from the Front Office got to bond on the 5th floor bar terrace for employee gathering. The managers were beyond hospitable and invited some long-stay guests to join us. I think it is very amazing how truly genuine, loving, and caring each person in the hotel can be.

Working as an intern here has been an incredible opportunity and I cannot wait to see what I will encounter in the next three months.

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