College News

The melting pot bubbles

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

IFT Year 1 student Vera Winter stands out from her classmates – literally. The Finn is one of the few blonde-haired undergraduates in the 2016/17 intake of students studying for a bachelor degree in Tourism Retail and Marketing Management.

“Last year I was in Beijing and I fell in love with Asian culture, so I decided to take my bachelor degree in Asia,” Vera says. “I really like IFT. It seems to be a very good school. I hope during these 4 years I can learn more about Asian culture, and also learn Cantonese.”

Vera is neither the first nor the only student from outside Macao pursuing a bachelor degree at IFT. The Institute’s 2016/17 intake includes undergraduates from places such as Mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Chinese Taiwan, Pakistan and Panama.

“We are very glad to see more international students coming here for 4 years,” IFT President Dr. Fanny Vong says. “We have stepped up our efforts in international recruitment, making use of services from partner institutions, doing more promotion sessions abroad and asking consulates to help send out information about us to schools in their respective countries.”

Dr. Vong says having more external students helps build a multicultural environment which benefits the Institute’s Macao students. “We are not taking away resources or places originally intended for local students,” she says. “Instead, we use these vacancies to imbue the campus with an international and multicultural dynamic.”

First-person perspective

Billy Ho is a Year 1 student taking the programme leading to a bachelor degree in Tourism Event Management. He is from Hong Kong. “IFT was my first choice,” Billy says. “I decided to study here because it offers better learning opportunities in tourism and event management than those available in Hong Kong.”

A mainland Chinese student, Philip Liao is in his first year of studying Hotel Management. Liao is impressed with IFT. “The Institute is a good school for hotel and tourism education,” he says. “While it is smaller than most universities in Mainland China, IFT’s facilities and people are very good.” Philip is excited by the prospect of studying hospitality in Macao for the next 4 years and having the chance to see first-hand the fast development of the industry in Macao.

IFT also has an increasing number of exchange students. In the first semester of academic year 2016/17 the Institute welcomed almost 40 students from institutions of higher education elsewhere, some coming from as far afield as North America and Europe.

“I chose to come to Macao and to IFT because this city is really a big place for tourism, with a lot of new hotels,” says Bo Dennis, who is on exchange from Georgia State University in the United States. “People are very hospitable at IFT. It is a good learning environment,” She adds.

Another American at IFT, Madison Brian, is on exchange from the University of South Carolina. “People at IFT are very friendly and very welcoming,” Madison says. “This is my first time abroad, so I was expecting a bit of a cultural shock. But I think I have adjusted well.”

Living space

Dr. Vong says the new campus on Taipa has allowed the Institute to take in more students from outside Macao. Before, a lack of accommodation meant IFT had to limit the number of places open to non-Macao students, especially exchange students. The Institute used to rent apartments to accommodate non-Macao students, but the cost became prohibitive when rents began to shoot up some years ago.

“Now that we have this dorm, we will be able to send out more invitations to our partner institutions to send us their exchange students,” Dr. Vong says. “The quotas are reciprocal: if we invite more of their students, then we can send more of our students abroad.”

Exchange student Bobby Jones, from Bournemouth University in Britain, says he was attracted to IFT by the Institute’s reputation. “I came to IFT for many reasons. One of them was because of the feedback I got from my peers and my lecturers back at Bournemouth University, who had come here previously. They couldn’t stop saying good things about it,” Bobby says.

A student on exchange from NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, Sophie Therese Eckardt, says it is interesting that IFT has 2 campuses. “You can feel IFT does its best to offer good facilities and support,” Sophie says.