I am sitting on my terrace, laptop in hand, eating fresh tropical fruits and enjoying the warmth of Kuala Lumpur after a fulfilling day at work.
When I signed for my contract with the Shangri-La in Kuala Lumpur, I knew nothing about Malaysia. Flying half way across the world to a country that nobody talks about, can be scary; but for me, it was a challenge. I had the thrill, the excitement and the willingness to work as hard as my body allowed me to do so. The combination of the former three is what is making my internship such a success.
My training consist of a cross training in the many F&B outlets SLKL (abbreviation from for Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur) owns. I spend the first two months working as a hostess in the Lobby Lounge. During this period, I learned how to approach clients coming from many different nationalities, how to network in the best way and how to provide a tailored service even with a high seat turnover. It was exhausting, it was challenging and yet it was what made me confirm my passion for hospitality.
The following – and current – two months consist of a jumping from one outlet to the next in order to gain more flexibility and knowledge. I have worked in a Chinese Restaurant, a Japanese Restaurant, In Room Dining. I will continue by working at the buffet, at the French fine dining and Banqueting. I will conclude the two months working in F&B Administration, which will allow me to understand and learn what allows such a big hotel the unchallenged #1 on TripAdvisor.
You may think, as I did myself, that changing so many restaurants will not permit me to learn anything in depth. Fair point, but learning something in depth is not the reason behind an internship. An internship should provide one with the greatest amount of experience it can, so that a student can experience firsthand all the excitements and dares this industry has to offer. Moreover, let’s not forget how important it is to be flexible and being able to give the best in different working environments. By changing manager, colleagues and location weekly these skills increase exponentially.
Anyways, an internship is not only about work. “Malaysia Truly Asia” is this country’s slogan; and it is true. The wilderness, the history and culture this nation has to offer are charming and addictive. I travelled to fabulous places I could have only dreamed of visiting six months ago. I found myself surrounded by monkeys in Langkawi’s rainforest, I explored the ancient historical city of Malacca, I cycled in the charming city of Georgetown – now UNESCO heritage sight – and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the uncontaminated Malaysian beaches.
My advice to anyone seeking an internship is to never be afraid of picking a distant location. As Richard Bach said “There is no such place as far away”. The wonderful people you will meet, the friends you will make, the supporting colleagues you will have during the period of the training will guide and shape who you are. If you pick the right place, half way through the placement, yourself and your future will not be a big question mark anymore.
Claudia Dalla Torre – Glion London Student – BBA in Hospitality Management – 1st 6-month internship
Photo credits: Claudia and Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur
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