The IFT Tourism College is committed to providing unique educational experiences to its students. In order to achieve that, the Institute’s curriculum emphasises the potential to learn by doing practical projects. Via such work, the students find themselves facing challenges of the sort they are likely to encounter later in their professional careers, particularly if they eventually become managers. Importantly, project work also sees students learning to collaborate and to acquire skills they can apply later as industry professionals.

Students help start-up test app

A group of IFT Year 4 bachelor degree students helped a Macao start-up test a smartphone application it developed, called eTour. The project took place in academic year 2018/19, as part of the students’ Entrepreneurship course.

The new app was meant to give tour guides in Macao a digital way to advertise and sell their services and products direct to tourists. The software used artificial intelligence to match the particular needs of each tourist with those tour guides best suited to meet them. The project allowed the students to learn how start-up enterprises work, and about the use of technology to support business development in the tourism sector.

In academic year 2018/19, IFT additionally invited several Government officials and businesspeople to tell students about their experience of entrepreneurship-related topics and offer insights into such matters. The guest speakers included Mr. Tai Kin Ip, the Director of Macao Economic Services; Mr. Gregory Kuong of the Macao New Chinese Youth Association; Mr. Timothy Leong of the General Association of Chinese Students of Macau; Mr. Gary Chao Weng Hou of Bank of China Macau Branch; architect Mr. André Ritchie; businessman Mr. James Lo Kit; and representatives of the Forum for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries (Macao).

Consultancy work provided for 5-star hotel

A group of IFT students from the Tourism Retail and Marketing Management Bachelor Degree Programme completed in academic year 2018/19 a consultancy project for the 5-star Altira Macau hotel, a Taipa property managed by integrated resort operator Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd.

The students were asked to develop a marketing strategy to help boost among Taipa consumers the appeal of Altira Macau’s amenities.

The project was developed for one of the student courses, and offered project participants the opportunity to apply their knowledge to a real-world situation and to gain hands-on experience.

Developing practical knowledge of event hosting

A group of Year 3 IFT Tourism Event Management students organised in April 2019 a games afternoon, featuring group games, charades and other fun-filled challenges. The undergraduates arranged the initiative as part of their Event Management: Hosting an Event course. The games afternoon took place at IFT’s Mong-Há Campus.

Event Management: Hosting an Event aims to allow students to gain the practical knowledge and skills necessary for the successful planning, organisation and implementation of an event. The course has a strong emphasis on project management, including providing participants with the skills to plan, budget and schedule in an effective manner an event.

The games afternoon attracted the participation of approximately 60 people. Participants were asked to use their physical, sensory and intellectual skills, and to work in groups, in order to complete a series of challenges.

Guided tours of the Historic Centre of Macao

In March 2019, students from IFT organised a series of free, guided tours of the Historic Centre of Macao. The activity series – “Tour around Macao with IFT Students” – attracted tourists from a number of places, and gave those undergraduates involved valuable practical experience of working in the tourism sector.

The tours were organised by 3 groups of students in Year 2 of the Tourism Business Management Bachelor Degree Programme. The activity was the result of more than a month of planning and coordination.

Tours were offered in several languages. Each excursion lasted around 90 minutes. To help students assess and hone their project management skills, tourists participating in each tour were asked to provide feedback about the activity.

The “Tour around Macao with IFT Students” series is a well-established activity of the IFT Tourism Business Management Bachelor Degree Programme, having been conducted annually for a number of years.

Skills gained via hosting charity dinner

Year 2 students in the IFT Hotel Management Evening Bachelor Degree Programme held in February 2019 a charity gala dinner to welcome the Year of the Pig. The event served as a platform to celebrate the festive season with other members of the Macao community. The proceeds were donated to the Fuhong Society in support of its work ensuring integration in the community of people with intellectual challenges.

The student-organised, hands-on project took place at the IFT Educational Restaurant and attracted more than 60 participants. Students putting on the gala dinner said it gave them valuable hands-on experience of event planning and organisation.

STUDENT RESEARCH

It has been mandatory since academic year 2015/16 for each candidate for the degree of Bachelor of Science enrolled in a daytime programme at IFT to complete a thesis before he or she can graduate. The aim is to give undergraduates the chance to think independently, and to develop critical and analytical skills.

Each student is responsible for conceiving and designing their thesis. Each effort must lead to an original piece of research, undertaken personally by that student. Throughout the process, each student benefits from direct guidance by a supervisor and from ongoing support via IFT’s Thesis Writing Centre and Thesis Research Support Centre.

The IFT thesis requirement has drawn international attention since its introduction. Many IFT students have been invited to international conferences and similar events to present research papers based on their respective thesis. Such an opportunity allows students to further their knowledge and to engage in networking with academics, researchers and tourism professionals from all over the world.

In academic year 2018/19, a total of 5 IFT students attended international conferences to present the content of their respective thesis, and had their papers published in conference proceedings. Events attended by IFT students included: the 2018 Annual Conference of the Association for Tourism and Leisure Education and Research, held in Copenhagen, Denmark; the 2019 Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA) Europe Chapter Conference, in Bournemouth, in the United Kingdom; the 2019 International Student Conference in Tourism Research (ISCONTOUR 2019), at IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems, Austria; and the 2019 International Conference on Indigenous Languages, Traditional Music and Dance within an Intercultural Performance, in Gannat, France.

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Celebrating quality

The IFT Tourism Education Student Summit or TEd Summit, is held at the end of each academic year. The event celebrates outstanding undergraduate researchers. The TEd Summit – 2019 event was hosted by Galaxy Entertainment Group at the JW Marriott Hotel, Macau. The e-proceedings of each TEd Summit are published online and publicly available on the IFT website.

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students completed an undergraduate thesis in academic year 2018/19

IMPORTANCE OF EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

Membership of a student club is an easy way for undergraduates to get more out of their time at IFT, whether they hope to make new friends, to try something new or seek to indulge their personal interests. Specialist clubs allow students to take part in a wide range of activities outside the classroom, ranging from sports to voluntary work in the community.

The IFT management encourages such extracurricular activities by students. The hope is that they expand the horizons of students, introduce them to new people and build up their self-confidence, so enriching their experience of academic life at the Institute.

In August 2019, the IFT Student Union’s Drama Club, in collaboration with IFT Chamber Music Club and the Macao Ensemble Association – the latter a third-party organisation –, staged a musical. The production was held at the Macao Cultural Centre. The narrative of the musical dealt with intergenerational dynamics in families, and sought to encourage self-confidence in young people.

The Drama Club regularly cooperates with drama groups at other institutions of higher education. In academic year 2018/19, the club took part in the annual University Students Drama Festival, involving tertiary institutions in Macao and Hong Kong, and ones from the Mainland China cities of Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Guangzhou and Xiamen. The IFT Student Union’s Drama Club and the Drama Society of the University of Macau Students’ Union jointly arranged the event.

In early April 2019, IFT Chamber Music Club and the IFT Student Union’s Culinary Arts Club combined to organise a weekend outdoor concert coupled with an afternoon tea buffet. The event – open to the public – took place at the open-air theatre at IFT’s Mong-Há Campus.

In December 2018, the Culinary Arts Club held its first-ever outreach activity, involving club members visiting a local home for the elderly. The students brought with them sweet soups and traditional Chinese pastries – but with low sugar content – for the residents. Club members also organised games and gave performances, additionally arranging for gifts to be handed out to the senior citizens.

Another group, IFT Student Union’s Volunteer Circle, visited Congjiang County Second National Senior High School in Guizhou Province in June 2019. The aim of the activity was to provide support for Grade 7 and 8 English classes there.

Congjiang County is in the Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture. The poverty rate among inhabitants of the prefecture is adjudged to be among the most troubling in Mainland China. At the suggestion of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, Macao was asked to focus on assisting Congjiang County, as part of the city’s contribution to the national effort to relieve poverty.

Members of the Volunteer Circle also travelled to Thailand’s Yasothon Province to do voluntary work at a local school, and to experience cultural exchange. The volunteering activities took place at the Santitham Witthayakhom School in December 2018, during the IFT winter break.

• HEALTHY COMPETITION

Extracurricular competitions and challenges are used by IFT to engage the interest of undergraduate students in hospitality- and tourism-related subjects. Such activities also help to build their confidence, teamwork and practical skills. Each academic year, many undergraduates take part in contests in Macao and further afield, often achieving outstanding results. In academic year 2018/19, competitions attended by IFT students included:

– 10th Guangzhou / Hong Kong / Macao / Chengdu Youth Skills Competition 2018
30-31 October 2018, Macao
A pair of IFT Culinary Arts Management students and an IFT Tourism Event Management student respectively achieved Merit Awards in the “Pâtisserie/Confectioner” and “Restaurant Service” categories. The event was held at Macau Fisherman’s Wharf Convention and Exhibition Centre. It was organised jointly by the Guangzhou Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau, the Hong Kong Vocational Training Council, Macao’s Labour Affairs Bureau, and the Chengdu Human Resources and Social Security Bureau. IFT was invited by Macao’s Labour Affairs Bureau to be one of the training units for the competition, responsible for holding selection competitions and offering intensive training for Macao candidates in the “Pâtisserie/Confectioner” and “Restaurant Service” categories.


– 11th Young Chef Competition
16 November 2018, Macao
This was the 2018 edition of an annual event organised by the Macau Culinary Association and co-organised by IFT. The annual event serves as a testing ground for young chefs to demonstrate their skills. Each contestant in the competition is required to produce, in fewer than 3 hours, a starter, main course and dessert. The contestants have to prepare 2 servings of each course, one for the judges to taste and the other for the judges to assess how it was presented. Two Year 1 IFT Culinary Arts Management students took part in the 2018 competition: one came in second.


– Hong Kong International Culinary Classic 2019
7-10 May 2019, Hong Kong
Two IFT Culinary Arts Management students formed a team to compete in the “Western Cuisine: Hot Cooking (Under 25 Apprentices) – Two to Tango” category. They won a bronze medal in the competition, held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The Hong Kong International Culinary Classic aims to promote culinary excellence and provides an opportunity for industry participants to showcase their culinary talent and skills.


– Belt and Road International Skills Competition
26-31 May 2019, Chongqing, Mainland China
Macao sent a 24-strong delegation to the first Belt and Road International Skills Competition. The group included an IFT student as a contestant. Institute academics supported some of the competitors as they trained for the event. The Belt and Road International Skills Competition attracted close to 700 participants from an aggregate of 44 countries and regions, according to the organisers.


– 45th WorldSkills Kazan 2019
22-27 August 2019, Kazan, Russia
An IFT Culinary Arts Management student clinched a Medallion of Excellence in the competition, in the “Patisserie and Confectionery” section. The international event, held every 2 years, is the biggest vocational education and skills tournament in the world. A second IFT student also took part, entering the cooking contest. IFT served as the training centre for the Macao contestants in, respectively, the bakery, restaurant service, patisserie and confectionery, and cooking contests. The Macao-organised coaching – held in collaboration with Macao’s Labour Affairs Bureau – included several months of practice during academic year 2018/19, and a period of intensive training overseas.

© Published by the Institute for Tourism Studies, Macao • Colina de Mong-Há, Macao, China