IFTM Around the World Main Headline

Twin exchanges abroad are twice as nice for student Dinelle Wong

IFTM student Dinelle Wong at Bournemouth University, in Britain

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

IFTM has arrangements with scores of institutions of higher education around the world that offer students opportunities to broaden their horizons by going on exchanges. Dinelle Wong, a student taking the IFTM programme leading to a bachelor’s degree in Tourism Event Management, took not 1 but 2 such opportunities.

Dinelle spent the first semester of academic year 2016/17 as an exchange student at Bournemouth University, in Britain. In the second semester of academic year 2018/19 she went on exchange to IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems, in Austria.

The English coastal resort town of Bournemouth, about 170 kilometres southwest of London, felt to Dinelle like it was a world away from the British capital and its reputedly grey skies. “The weather was really nice,” she says of Bournemouth.

Dinelle used her time on exchange there to improve her English and other communication skills. “You have to talk to others every day, so you learn how locals speak and you even pick up some slang, some new words, she says.

Student life at Bournemouth was different from what Dinelle was used to in Macao.In Asiaparents and professors just tell you to study more,” Dinelle says. In Britain, there was more social interaction with lecturers out of class, she found.

Overall, it was great, but I felt like I was not really prepared for an exchange experience,” Dinelle says. “So I missed on a lot of things. In particular she felt she wasted chances to meet people from different places.I thought I should take a second exchange before I graduate, she says.

Second chance

Once she was back in Macao, Dinelle set her sights on Austria. Austria is one of the most popular countries among IFTM undergraduates wishing to go on exchanges abroad because it gives easy access to the rest of continental Europe, allowing exchange students to use it as a base for visiting countries nearby.

Dinelle went on exchange to IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems, in Krems an der Donau, a town of only 24,000 people. “It was quiet,” she says. But Krems an der Donau is just 70 kilometres from Vienna, from where she could travel to places and encounter cultures that were new to her.

Having taken classes at Bournemouth University attended by 100 students at a time, Dinelle was surprised by the personal attention the staff of IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems give their students. “Students really concentrate while in class and try to answer whatever the lecturer asks,” she says. They feel it’s all right to make mistakes in class as long as you learn from them.

Off campus, Dinelle had other new experiences, including buying groceries in supermarkets where the product information labels were only in German. “In the first few days I couldn’t read anything, so I had to Google Translate everything and spend an hour to buy just a few things,” she says.

Studying abroad gave Dinelle more confidence in herself and made her more independent. Her experience abroad influenced her decision to take another new plunge: to compete in the 2019 Miss Macau pageant.

One of her reasons for competing was that part of the winners job is to promote Macao abroad. “It was a bit sad for me to see that 80 percent of the people I met in Europe knew nothing about Macao,” says Dinelle, who was born and brought up in the city. She came third in the Miss Macau contest.

Dinelle’s academic exchanges broadened her outlook. “I now feel like the world is so big and you have so many places to explore,” she says. “Even if I stay in Macao, there are still many international opportunities here.

President’s Corner

A special chapter

IFT once again welcomes the start of a new academic year. Academic year 2019/20 is exceptional in many respects – not only because we are preparing to celebrate our 25th anniversary in 2020. Read More