Published on May 4, 2015
The best way to prepare for a career in hospitality and tourism is with hands-on experience. At an international internship in Hong Kong, hospitality and tourism interns will learn the ins and outs of the industry while gaining multicultural experience abroad. Moreover, while working along established professionals, interns will be given unique access to Hong Kong’s treasures.
Travel and tourism account for 8% of the world’s jobs, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. The growing industry is dynamic and diverse, as it encompasses many types of positions all around the world. Learning on the job is one of the best ways to prepare for a career in hospitality and tourism, making an international internship an ideal option for someone launching their career.
Careers in hospitality and tourism require a set of “soft” skills including the ability to communicate effectively, teamwork, flexibility, commercial awareness and enthusiasm. The ability to work with people from various cultural backgrounds and some knowledge of a foreign language are other important skills that will boost a tourism and hospitality professional's resume. Many hospitality and tourism jobs require interaction with people from all over the world, so strong interpersonal skills with people from a variety of cultures will take a young professional a long way. A great way to pick up these skills is on the job through hospitality and tourism positions abroad.
In Hong Kong, interns have taken on a variety of important internship roles. Most roles have been focused on events management and planning. Previous interns have been able to work with many boutique firms and the French firm GL Events. Some have even worked with the TEDxHK event in Hong Kong.
Living in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a fast-paced, charismatic city with over 1,000 skyscrapers glittering across the city’s skyline. Hospitality and tourism interns will stay in the safest parts of the city. In shared apartment accommodations, interns are placed on either Hong Kong Island or Kowloon in areas like Wan Chai, Sheung Wan, Sai Ying Pun and Jorden.
The local languages
As tourism and hospitality careers often require frequent interaction with foreigners, knowledge of foreign languages can boost a young person’s career, depending on their interests. Though knowledge of Mandarin or Cantonese isn’t required for a hospitality and tourism internship in Hong Kong, classes are available for those who wish to learn. Some 955 million people worldwide speak Mandarin, making it the most popular language in the world.
Modern marvels and Buddhist traditions
Sanctuaries to the financial world, Hong Kong’s skyscrapers define the city’s skyline, constantly catching the attention of tourists. The Center is one of the city’s most famous buildings and is Hong Kong’s fifth-highest skyscraper. It’s one of the 40 buildings used for the nightly light show called “Symphony of lights” which occurs beside the Victoria Harbour. The spectacular lights and music presentation has been dubbed “World’s Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show” by the Guinness World Records.
In contrast to the city’s concrete jungle, Hong Kong also contains beautiful Buddhist temples and places of worship. The Chi Lin Nunnery is one of the most famous Buddhist complexes in the city, which includes statues, temples, gardens and ponds. The Ten Thousand Buddha Monastery and Big Buddha on Lantau Island are other notable Buddhist structures that offer a sense of serenity apart from Hong Kong’s chaos.
A hospitality and tourism intern cannot leave Hong Kong without exploring its diverse food culture, which has been influenced by both Cantonese and non-Cantonese Chinese cuisine along with Western, Japanese and Southeast Asian culinary traditions. One Cantonese tradition quite common in Hong Kong is called dim sum, which is similar to Spanish tapas or small plates. Dim sum is Cantonese or Hokkien food prepared in small, snack-sized portions. Some typical dim sum plates include har gow shrimp dumplings, pot stickers and barbeque pork.
Street food is another interesting element of Hong Kong’s food culture. Called “hawker” Hong Kong street food often includes dishes like fish balls, a pudding cake called put chai ko or roasted chestnuts. Open-air food stalls called dai pai dongs are another way to dine casual in Hong Kong. These stalls usually cook up inexpensive dishes like a rice porridge called congee, rice and noodles, sweetened condensed milk toast and wonton noodles.
Beyond the metropolis
Some 40% of Hong Kong territory is made up of national parks, great for escaping from the stress of the city. Especially during hot summer months, the Tai Mo Shan Country Park is a popular spot to cool down, registering the coldest temperatures in the territory. The park also is home to Hong Kong’s highest waterfall, the 35-meter Long Falls. Meanwhile, at the territory’s Kam Shan Country Park visitors are able to interact with macaques and other primates.
A hospitality and tourism internship with The Intern Group includes a tour of Hong Kong’s largest island, Lantau, based at the mouth of the Pearl River. The mountainous island is home to another one of Hong Kong territory’s famous parks, Lantau South Country Park. The park is the largest in the territory. Lantau Island also is home to the impressive Tian Tan Buddha, an 85-foot bronze Buddha statue.
The Intern Group program also includes a day trip to Macau, or “the vegas of Asia”. The city is famous for its extravagant casinos. However, the colorful city also is known for its blend of Chinese and Portuguese culture. Formerly a Portuguese colony, Macau is now in Chinese control and maintains both Portuguese and Chinese traditions. The city also serves up spicy Macanese food along with many multicultural events, including the Macau Grand Prix, the Macau Arts festival and Chinese New Year.
Learn what it takes to work in hospitality and tourism with an international internship in Hong Kong. Not only will it give an intern abroad unique professional experience, but it will also expose a young person to a completely new culture and traditions. Living and working abroad will socialize a young professional in a unique way, making them more able to adapt to new cultures, cities and work places for years to come.
Apply now and boost your career!