IFTM Around the World

An appetite for culinary adventure

Vicky Vong at the Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

Culinary Arts Management undergraduate Vicky Vong has experienced the real flavour of Chinese Taiwan: she spent the first semester of academic year 2015/16 at the Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism as an exchange student.

“I already had visited Chinese Taiwan, but just as a tourist,” she says. “During this exchange programme, I learned how to take care of myself, instead of just relying on my parents. I had to solve a lot of things by myself; I became more independent.”

Vicky was the first student from the Culinary Arts Management Bachelor Degree Programme to venture out of Macao on a student exchange scheme. The Culinary Arts Management course was launched by IFT in academic year 2011/12.

She admits her first days in Kaohsiung – the second largest city in Chinese Taiwan – were challenging. “At the beginning, it was quite hard for me to adapt to the lifestyle there. While I can speak Mandarin fluently, there are cultural differences,” Vicky says.

She adds: “Luckily, I met some students from Macao who were full-time students at that university; so they helped me understand the differences between Macao’s culture and Chinese Taiwan’s.”

Baking a future

The IFT student says she opted to go to the Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism as an exchange student in order to experience a different way of learning about culinary arts. “That school already has a long experience – over 20 years – in teaching culinary courses,” Vicky explains, additionally praising the institution’s equipment and facilities.

Another reason for going to Kaohsiung was the opportunity to attend a programme focused on baking.

“I specially love desserts, so I went to the Baking Technology and Management Bachelor Degree Programme, as it specialises in baking and dessert decoration techniques. I attended a lot of practicum sessions while I was there,” Vicky says.

She adds: “That school is very focused on detail. You have to perform each step in a very detail-orientated way. It was quite good to have this opportunity.”

The Macao-born IFT student says the semester in Chinese Taiwan was a “positive” experience. She advises fellow students in the Culinary Arts Management programme to do the same: go out on exchange programmes and taste more of the world.

Vicky says she also built new friendships in Kaohsiung. “I met an interesting group of people, with a huge passion for pastry, like me. Working with them was a very nice experience.”

Her time as an exchange student led to one change that family and friends will easily notice: her tiramisu is now tastier, she says with a laugh. The new, improved recipe was learned at Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism: perfect technique, high quality ingredients and… “lots of mascarpone cheese,” she says, laughing.