Midway through the internship program in Thailand, Hospitality Management students of La Consolacion College Bacolod have so much to say about how international internships have changed their lives. Malory Gubagaras, 19, said that her experience has taught her to be more independent and responsible. She said that the responsibilities are real and the company puts the same level of expectations from them as they would with regular employees.
“During the training I started as a runner. I would get empty plates from the guests’ tables, bus out plates and cutleries. But now, I take orders and use the POS. I am made to handle guest requests and sometimes become a chief station. My job is not as easy as I expected it to be, but I learned so much from the experience” added Gubagaras who has been assigned in various dining restaurants and bars of Centara Grand at Central World in Bangkok.
Gubagaras is one of the 30 pioneer students participating in the program based in Thailand, which was made possible through a partnership with ABROS Management Consultancy (AMC). Students are assigned in luxury hotels in the country’s key tourist destinations like Siam Design Hotel and Ayarra Hilltops Boutique Resort and Spa.
Michael Ascano, AMC director said that the partners are pleased to have LCC students as they are quick to adjust to the work environment and are equipped with the necessary skills to deliver to the expectations of the international clientele. He added that students tend to progress rather quickly and that they could work well with highly-skilled professionals and more importantly are able to communicate effectively with them.
Students are treated like professionals says Sr. Maria A. Garcia, OSA, Academic Administrative Officer, who made a personal visit last June 2016. She said that some interns are assigned to do more technical work which is different from their hiring assignment. Students were originally hired to do frontline work as front desk operations and food service. Sr. Garcia added that the management saw that some students are capable of doing more technical work so some of them have been reassigned to work closely with the chefs.
Sr. Garcia also said that apart from the salary they are earning, they are provided with decent accommodations that allow them to use facilities as swimming pool and gym. At Siam Design Hotels, students are housed in the hotel itself so they could enjoy amenities free of charge, she added.
Rodjhun Navarro, head of LCC’s Office for Institutional Advancement and Linkages said that the college is consistent in providing job opportunities for students even before graduation through rigid on-the-job training that are not only limited to local partners but also internationally. “If college education is to be seen as an investment, students are getting quick returns from the allowances given to them while on training. That may not be the case in other programs where students spend so much for OJT and are not getting some form of remuneration for their service” he added.
LCC Bacolod also sends students to the US under the J1 VISA program where almost a hundred students have undergone either a 6-month or a 12-month internship in the country’s largest hotel and resort chains like Gaylord and Omni.
Gubagaras said that the whole experience being away from her family has taught her to trust her own self more and that she has become a more confident person. “I would recommend that other students aspiring to work in the hospitality industry, to experience practicum outside the Philippines. You get to put yourself in a different culture, you can learn a new language and meet new friends who are not from other countries. The experience is really different” Gubagaras added.