IFTM undergraduate Rae Zhang Ruiyuan has accepted a new challenge this summer: becoming an intern with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). The student from the Tourism Business Management programme is working in PATA’s marketing department, and says it is a chance to help her decide what to do after graduating from the Institute, an event due in mid-2023.
“I wanted to spend my summer holiday learning through working, as a way to find out what I really want to do in the future,” Rae says.
She began her internship with PATA in July and it will run until October. This is her second time as an intern: during the first semester of academic year 2021/2022, she completed her IFTM-provided curricular internship, at the Macao SAR Cultural Affairs Bureau.
IFTM students studying for a bachelor’s degree are required to complete a 6-month internship. The Institute’s strong links with tourism and hospitality enterprises locally and outside Macao ensure the internship opportunities offered to undergraduates are of high calibre.
During her internship with the Cultural Affairs Bureau, Rae worked on projects linked to event planning. The IFTM student says having the opportunity to experience that, and now to do marketing work at PATA, helps provide her with opportunities to explore various career path options and gain a better understanding of what interests her most.
Rae says the internship with PATA can also open doors for her in terms of furthering her studies. “Some universities require at least some internship experience for enrolment on a master’s degree programme. Therefore, I think this can be a plus on my resume.”
Rae is doing her PATA internship working online from Macao, rather than in-person from the association’s headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand. That is because of travel restrictions around the region related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rae’s current tasks include compiling information on the spread of COVID-19 worldwide and rates of vaccination in different countries and regions. She has also been reviewing and updating marketing materials on behalf of PATA.
Rae is expecting to play a role in PATA marketing initiatives for World Tourism Day on 27 September. “Another intern and I have been assigned to think about how to promote the event: we will need to handle the promotional information in a creative way,” she explains.
As part of her internship, Rae has had interactions with other interns and with PATA colleagues from around the world. The IFTM undergraduate says she has come to realise how the Institute’s training prepares students to function well in an internationalised work setting. She mentions in particular the focus on presentation, teamwork, and foreign language skills that is found across IFTM curricula.
Rae says the fact English is the medium of instruction at the Institute for bachelor’s degree daytime programmes – and for postgraduate programmes – helps students feel comfortable communicating in English.
English is also used as the working language at PATA. Rae has been glad therefore of the opportunity for “building my English-language skills through the presentations and projects we need to complete at IFTM, and the times that I need to speak in front of the whole class”.
She came from Qingdao, Shandong Province, to study at IFTM, and admits she initially lacked courage to ask questions during class, fearing interrupting the lecturers could be a nuisance. “But the scholars are really kind and willing to share their knowledge: even if I ask them questions after class, they are very eager to help,” Rae notes.