IFT’s teaching hotel, the Pousada de Mong-Há, recently welcomed 2 special interns: Portuguese students Henrique Horta and Gonçalo Silva. The undergraduates at Portugal’s Polytechnic Institute of Leiria did internships at the Pousada in June, having studied at IFT as exchange students in the second semester of academic year 2015/2016.
“According to our bachelor degree programme in tourism and hotel management in Portugal, we have to do a curricular internship of 160 hours in order to graduate,” says Henrique. “We had the option to do the internship in Portugal, but we chose to stay in Macao and do it at IFT.”
The Pousada de Mong-Há is one of the Institute’s 2 teaching establishments, the other being the IFT Educational Restaurant. The hotel, on the Mong-Há campus, serves as a place where students can be trained and can interact with paying guests. The 20-room hotel is ranked among Macao’s best accommodation. Several international guides recommend it, including the famous Michelin Guide and the travel website TripAdvisor.
“We decided to do our internships at Pousada de Mong-Há because we knew it would be a different experience for us,” Gonçalo says. “It is a hotel in a different country from Portugal. We thought it would be a good experience, allowing us to see different working methods.”
A big plus
Both students highlight the support the Pousada’s management gave them during their internships. “We are very thankful,” says Henrique. They had done other internships, in Europe, but they say their experience at IFT was quite different.
“I had done a hotel internship in Barcelona, Spain, for 3 months,” says Henrique. “Because the Pousada has a smaller team, each person has to perform more tasks than when I was in Barcelona. However, the main difference compared to my previous experience is that guest flow is much lower at the Pousada because of the number of rooms. Tasks are performed with more time available, and greater attention is given to the customer,” he says.
Henrique adds: “In terms of training, I think the Pousada offers a safer environment compared with going direct to a hotel for an internship. Students working here have a lot of support. You can feel it is a place for you to learn. But that does not mean the service is worse, quite the opposite.”
Gonçalo says his internship at the hotel will help his career in hospitality. “It is a plus in our curriculum to have an internship done in Macao, as the city is known worldwide for its tourism sector,” he says.