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.
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.
Hospitality is not just about serving in the front of the house, but also a lot of preparation work behind the curtain. In the #DailySpecial series, we are going to peek around every corner of the hotel to feature the day of our colleagues. So you can experience a day of being a hotelier!
To kick off, we have Summer, the Chief Concierge at Shangri-La Hotel, Tianjin. Summer has been working in the hotel industry for 17 years. By chance, he joined Shangri-La with passion in crafting a delightful experience for our guests.
In this video, he will share with us his daily work, as well as an unforgettable experience of assisting a guest in finding a lost document. Putting his foot into others’ shoe and trying his very best to offer help are the most significant qualities that made Summer an outstanding Concierge.
Jeanette Robson, our Global Director of Learning, has been with Shangri-La for a year. Let’s see the keys to career growth and the excitement of role.
How can we create an environment where colleagues may achieve their personal and career goals?
This is all about everyone having a true desire to help others grow. A great way to do this is by coaching, which is quite different to managing or supervising. Coaching helps people discover their own answers and solutions and they learn a lot more this way. Most people believe that the perfect combination for career growth is having an encouraging boss, great training and hard work.
How do you think training will evolve in the future?
Technology opens up so many exciting opportunities. Mobile technology will let us offer learning opportunities that are easily accessible and time effective. Millennials who are entering the workforce now are likely to have experienced an interactive, discovery based education, and they will expect their professional training to continue in the same way, with fun and stimulation built into every course. Training should work hand-in-hand with an organisation’s business goals so when these change, training’s areas of focus will also swift accordingly.
Is that an Aussie accent you have?
Yes, although I was born in Northern Ireland, I was brought up in Australia. My English husband (who dislikes every Aussie sports team there is) and I came to Hong Kong 16 years ago.
What excites you most about joining Shangri-La?
Shangri-La’s legendary reputation for providing our customers with hospitality from the heart can be traced back to the passionate hoteliers who have operated our hotels since 1971. As we continue to grow, a new generation will take over responsibility for this reputation. Our learning curriculum will play a big role in replicating the Shangri-La DNA over the coming years.
Sonia & Jun Azada
Sonia Reyes-Azada, Service Manager- In Room Dining
Jun Azada, Service Leader- Banquet Service
Jun and Sonia’s love story started with the exchange of jokes among their colleagues in 1993. It was their friends Cecille and Malony who saw their budding love for each other. When Bartender Jun was assigned at Senju while Sonia was also assigned as a waitress, the pairing up of the two was developed. Cecille and Malony would even set up dates of Jun and Sonia without their knowledge.
Eventually, the two realized their love for one another and was married in 1994. They were blessed with a boy Carlos Antonio and a girl Cristina Antoinette. Both are still very much in love and are happily working at ESL.
Rose & Edgar Tuazon
Rose Correa-Tuazon, Service Leader- Housekeeping
Edgar Tuazon, Service Associate- Engineering
For Rose and Edgar, it was love at second sight. Rose and Edgar are both pioneer employees in ESL when it opened in 1992. But, little cupid struck their hearts in 1994. While Edgar, from Engineering, was changing busted lights at Health Club, it was like spark he saw Rose, a Health Club Attendant. Since then, they started dating, had lunch together and went home after work together.
They tied the knot in 1995 and after 6 years they renewed their vows through a church wedding, followed by a reception at Garden Ballroom in ESL.
Today, with their kids Nicole, Joshua and Colleen, they are in a happy family which enjoys travelling together.
Me-ann & Don Bautista
Me-ann Nuñez-Bautista, Service Leader- Lobby Lounge
Don Bautista, Service Leader- Housekeeping
This is a love at first sight story. Don first laid his eyes on Me-ann in 1999 in a party of their common friend. The same night, Don invited Me-ann for a date with him. They constantly go out together until they entered a serious relationship.
Don said the he fell in love with Me-ann because she is kind, responsible, thoughtful and patient. It did not took very long before Don asked Me-ann to level up their relationship. Don went to Me-ann’s house to formally ask her parent’s approval for their marriage. They tied the knot in May 2000 and renewed their vows through a church wedding on December 2000.
But it seems the odds are not in their favor. Me-ann is not getting pregnant. But the young couple is very persistent to have a child. They consulted top of the line doctors. They even danced to the famous fertility saint. Lo and behold, after 4 years of trying, Me-ann got pregnant with their baby Girl Juliane. After seven months of giving birth, Me-ann is pregnant again with their Baby Boy Vince.
These seven love stories written in the history of ESL simply proves that love always wins. They fell in love and are committed to stay in love. It’s such a happiness to work in a company that you love with the person that you love the most. For these couple, ESL is not just a work place but a part of their lives is engraved in the walls of this hotel. We will never know who will be the next in this list of happy endings.
Author: Elizabelle Grace Dimapilis, Service Manager – Human Resources at Edsa Shangri-La, Manila