SARASOTA, Fla. (Aug. 17, 2015) – Nineteen Taiwanese students who arrived last month to attend USF Sarasota-Manatee were officially welcomed by faculty and staff during a reception Thursday.
The students, who come from Shih Chien University and the National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism, both in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, are pursuing certificates in international hospitality management.
In addition to their classes at USFSM’s College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership, the students will participate in five-month internships this spring for hands-on experience in the hospitality industry. After receiving their certificates, they will return to their home institutions to finish their senior year and graduate.
“This certificate program is a great opportunity for students from very different places to learn about life in another part of the world,” said Dr. James Curran, interim dean of the College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership. “The students from Taiwan will take the same classes as our students and the dynamic in those class meetings is enhanced by having different perspectives.”
USFSM Regional Chancellor Sandra Stone agreed, saying, “It is important that we expand the horizons of our university and its individual programs so that we can prepare our students to compete in the global marketplace. It’s also good for our students to interact with people of different cultures.”
The International Certificate Program began in 2013 as a way to broaden the university’s ties internationally. Since then, 21 Taiwanese students have participated in the program.
In collaboration with the College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership, the Global Engagement Office coordinates the certificate program and works closely with all university partners to ensure a positive experience for the students.
“The International Certificate Program offers Taiwanese students a truly unique experience in the United States,” said Amela Malkic, director of Global Engagement at USFSM. “Not only do students learn in the classroom, they also have an opportunity to learn outside the classroom and gain valuable work experience. Students participate in a month-long cultural immersion, which gives them a chance to learn about U.S. culture, our university, student life and resources and explore the area. This extended immersion also prepares the students for the academic experience during the fall semester and internship placements during the spring semester.”
For most of the students, this is their first time in United States. In addition to studying hospitality and tourism, the students will have an opportunity delve into U.S. customs and culture.
“It’s a really great experience to study abroad in the United States,” Swat Xiang, of the National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism, said. “I can’t wait to explore the new environment and culture and make new friends in this amazing land. I believe this will be a fantastic journey for my future career in hospitality. USF Sarasota-Manatee provides us many resources in the hospitality field, and this program will help me prepare for a global career. I believe I can learn more than what I expected, and am very excited to be part of this certificate program.”
Another student said that in addition to learning more about hospitality, he hopes the experience helps to sharpen his language skills.
“So far, my experience at USF Sarasota-Manatee has been perfect,” said Pei-Hsuan “Gary” Wang, also a student at the National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism. “I’m learning a lot and making new friends every day. Everyone at the university has been very welcoming and friendly to us. I am very excited to be here and know that this experience will help me develop new professional skills, improve my English and be successful in my future career and life.”