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!
Jamiel already had 5 years to F&B experience in the United States and we are eager to tell how could this internship help him further achieve his goal.
What is the most valuable skills that you learned through this internship?
In this internship in China, it is my duty to apply myself and do all I can in any situation, but I do not speak the language, and cannot read Chinese. To better equip myself, I have picked up a decent amount of Mandarin vocabulary while chatting with colleagues from different departments. For the service part, managers always reminded me that guests must be taken extra care of from the second they arrive in Nanjing to the minute they leave our hotel.
This internship is massive for my personal growth and my professional development. First, I became braver to live in another country for 6 months, and to work full time while taking classes – such a busy life. Second, I am very glad I was stationed in China because I could explore more about the country . China it is becoming more integrated with the world economy and getting closer to America in the business aspect. Third, I am pleased to be connected with such a respected international hotel chain, Shangri-La, that I could understand more about work ethic. My family and I will be very proud of these accomplishments.
Have you encountered difficulties working with people from different cultural backgrounds?
Working in the Jin Bar, there are many times when we were very busy, especially when waves of guests coming to order drinks on Tuesday Salsa nights. When the majority of the Chinese crowd realized I could not speak Chinese, they ignored me and went straight to the other bartenders. I felt like I was not serving the guests and made the job much harder for the other colleagues. However, I used this opportunity to take care of other inventory issues, and to clean up. I also assisted the foreign guests and made them feel like home. There were a few foreign guests in the bar who added my WeChat. They then came back to enjoy again at the Jin Bar and thanked me for the service I provided.
Another difficulty was that the POS (Point of Sale) software is predominantly Chinese. When working in our Lobby Lounge, guests might want to make an order or pay their bill, then I had to get a colleague to assist me. When we were busy, this is very inconvenient. I tried my best to help out more in other aspects, for example, preparing utensils, or grabbing drinks from the kitchens once the colleagues told me what the guests had ordered. I also quickly to cleaned the table once the guests had left.
The ultimate difficulty is answering the phone, which is a tough one and I am still finding a way to solve it.
What is your most memorable moment at Shangri-La so far?
The trip to XuYi during the LongXia festival was amazing. Being part of the Delegation between the state of Indiana and XuYi was such a great experience.
Last but not least, the people I have met, and connections I have made here impacted my life, and I am sure I have made some life-long friends here! I have to thank Dr. Cai from the Purdue University, and Shangri-La Hotel for giving me this brilliant experience.