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!
Being brought up in the States, Grace was not very familiarized with the Chinese culture. Guess how did she resolve the difficulties in the Horizon Club.
What is the most valuable thing that you learned through this internship?
The Horizon Club Lounge was the first place that I stationed at. Here, I learned to multi-task efficiently and to be patient when facing difficult situations.
One time, my colleagues and I were really busy with taking drink orders and checking in guests, so we decided to split our work. The one who was more familiar with the OPERA system focused on guest check-ins, while the others focus solely on seating and serving guests refreshments. After this experience, I realized how important team spirit is.
Another valuable experience is that I learned not to reject the guests at once if I could not satisfy their request. Instead, I could be flexible to offer another option that is similar to their request so I would not disappoint them.
How has this internship impacted your future career path?
The three months here at Shangri-La Hotel, Nanjing have further confirmed my determination to stay in the hotel and hospitality industry. Even though the hotel business could be tough and extremely tiresome, I have experienced so much positive feedback from the guests that I have served, and I think it definitely worth the hard work and time that I put in. Seeing smiles on the faces of guests is a very great feeling, I would always use those positive feedback as my motivation to work harder and be a better worker. And the better I do; the more good feedback will I receive, which becomes a positive cycle.
Have you encountered difficulties working with people from different cultural backgrounds?
One main difficulty that I experience is that I am often expected to act like a local due to my Chinese blood. I do speak Mandarin, which is very helpful in communicating with the guests, but it is because of so, I was often expected to hold knowledge of Chinese culture that I have actually never even been exposed to.
Also, sometimes I could not understand the guests’ request because they only speak their dialect, not Mandarin. In this case, I would seek help from my colleagues.
What is your most memorable moment at Shangri-La so far?
My most memorable moment at Shangri-La so far is that I used my multi-lingual skills to resolve confusion between guests and my colleagues, or to simply chat with the guests. I speak conversational Spanish and Japanese, so when I was able to lead a group of Hispanic guests as the Guest Relations Officer, I felt very proud of myself and I was really glad that I continued my studies in foreign languages. I hope such great experience would happen again soon during my internship here in Nanjing.