Over 95% of the students enrolled in the program are Mainland Chinese with the college opening its doors to foreign students just two years ago. In 2008 a total of 5 foreigners enrolled in the program with this number now increased to 27 in 2009. Students are now coming from all over the world to start their hospitality career in China and during my one-day visit I was able to meet with students from each of the following countries: Germany, Spain, Sweden, Panama, Russia, and Kazakhstan.
One of the biggest attractions for the Mainland Chinese is the opportunity to finish the program in Switzerland. This gives them valuable international experience that will set them apart from their peers in the industry. The first step for all students is to pass the IELTS exam (International English Language Testing System). Upon enrollment in the college, students are separated into five different levels depending on their English proficiency. Here is a picture of me visiting a classroom, observing students practicing their oral English. Passing the English test depends on how diligent a student works. Some students who apply themselves can pass the test in only a few months, while others take as long as a year before they are able to pass the exam. The students are given the freedom to work as hard as they want but only after passing the IELTS exam are they allowed to officially start their hospitality classes. After passing the IELTS exam, students need another two years to complete their hospitality training. During my visit to the college, I was given a tour of the entire facility and found it to be an ideal learning environment. Students have access to everything they need to successfully learn about the hospitality industry. The campus features three restaurants, a commercial size restaurant kitchen, and several mock hotel rooms, allowing students to learn all the basics in restaurant and hotel management. Here are some pictures from the campus restaurants:
#1 – A modern casual café with outdoor seating providing coffee and small snacks
#2 – The formal dinning room staffed by students in the program
#3 – The main dining room features a buffet lunch everyday. This is where students and faculty eat their lunch everyday.
I felt the strongest advantage of the program is its ability to give students ample “hands on” experience. Students rotate through all departments of the school gaining valuable experience in the Front-of-House (FOH) operations serving as servers and server assistants as well as the Back-of-House (BOH) operations by prepping, cooking, and plating the food for each campus restaurant The school’s Executive Chef Francois Chevallier of France oversees the kitchen operations and together with an Australian Sous Chef educate the students on the culinary aspects of the industry.
#1 – A team of student chefs work together to prepare the food for the day's lunch buffet
#2 – A poster on one of the walls as seen in the hallways of the college
#3 – Student hanging out in the recreation room, playing ping pong with one of their professors
The purpose of my visit was to give students an insight into another sector of the vast hospitality industry by telling them of my experiences of working in China’s rapidly growing golf industry. Similar to our program at Florida State, one of the college’s main attractions is a 95% job placement after graduation. This is critical for a college in an extremely populated country like China.Overall I had a wonderful experience at the college and really enjoyed spending the day visiting with the faculty and students. All the students were very welcoming and very interested to hear about my experiences coming from a well-known hospitality school in the US. I believe last week’s visit to the school won’t be my last as I’ve been invited back to be a guest lecturer at some time in the future. I’m looking forward to visiting the college again and helping out in any way that I can. I'll finish this post with one final picture. This photo is a picture of a dialogue that was written between two Chinese students in their speech class. After writing this they performed the dialogue in front of the class. I absolutely loved the speech and if you are a native English speaker I think it will bring a smile to your face, enjoy!