I am doing a Bachelor in International Hospitality Administration (or simply BA-IHA) at P.E.S. in Bangalore. I am currently in my second year of the Bachelor program.
For my course, internship is a basic requirement and a key part of the curriculum. All the students of Hotel management are sent for training in the hospitality industry for a period of 22 weeks.
I did my internship in Nepal from June to December 2012. This has been a very instructive experience for me which I would like to share with you.
I still vividly remember the moment when our principal came to us with the topic “Internship”, the awkward reactions of the students, the hustles and bustles…. It was the day right after we submitted our final paper.
All of sudden, I was abruptly reminded of all those old horrible experiences when my college used to take us for (outdoor catering) ODC’s in the hotels in Bangalore. Oh! Internships and ODC’s are indeed similar! I started to be flooded with nervousness and stress. But after a while I slowly calmed down.
Within a few days, many agencies, in search of their “customers”, came to our college offering their best training services. Most of the agencies placed the emphasis on International Internships (outside India). Very few of them were proposing Interships in India, for which I didn’t have any interest anyway.
They had such attractive schemes that anyone would be desperate to get them; for me, it was obvious that I was going to select the options offered in Europe, most notably France, Germany, Spain and UK. However there were also possibilities in Asian countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, China, and Japan – which I had put as an alternative choice. I got great training offers in both France and Germany, which were my first priorities. But when I went deep into the contract details I realised how damn costly the offers were. This was mainly due to accommodation, which was so expensive. Yes I would have got a salary but the total charges amounted to two and a half lakhs Indian Rupees!
In fact, the cost of living in Europe is so high that this would have risked becoming financially unbearable for me and SEA.Then, I considered my third best option which was the US, as one of my closest Nepali friends was trying to do his Internship in the US. But that was even costlier than European nations!
So I found myself the only student left out for Singapore and I had no company! At the time, students in my group who were not going abroad had decided to stay back and do their internship in India itself. And they were insisting that I should do my internship in India too. But that was out of the question given my past experiences in the hotels in India! I really disliked the night schedules and the way the staffs would bully the trainees. I thought that this was not likely to happen in Singapore.
In the end, fortunately, my Nepali friend changed his mind and decided to do his internship in Nepal rather than in the USA, so I purposely selected Nepal, which would not involve huge expenses and costs.
But again things didn’t go as expected. You think you know about Nepal, right? Who would have thought that for a Nepalese getting training in a Nepalese hotel would be more difficult than getting training in India?
In Nepal getting a training contract is really hard partly because the procedures are lengthy and cumbersome. Thankfully, by the grace of God, my friend’s uncle was a senior staff at the Yak & Yeti, one of the most reputed and oldest 5-star hotels in Nepal established during the 1980s.
Thanks to his uncle, we finally got an Internship into a renowned hotel which is viewed as a role-model throughout South Asia—and which is also one of the 1st Casinos in Asia!
But for me the best thing about this hotel was its location at the heart of Kathmandu, just a few minutes away from Thamel—a tourist hub in Kathmandu. I was really desperate to work there!
Formal interview were taken by the Human Resource Manager. My first day of duty was a bit uncomfortable but this is normal when you deal with new places.
The 1st department where I worked was Housekeeping, which was all about cleaning: cleaning the rooms, wiping window panes, mobbing the floor, dusting and much more….
Oh! The awe-full smell of washrooms is still in my nose yuck! These things look boring and tiring, but only before they become a habit! After a few days of work I was only tolerance towards this!! The time schedule for me was from 7 am to 3 pm. I did only the morning shift. This is striking to see how, when you are used to do awe-full things, you really enjoy when it becomes a habit! But this one and a half month will remain memories for my entire life…. The 2nd department where I worked was Food and Beverage services. I was allotted a separate hall in the banquet area. Two hotel staffs were supervising me. There, my duty was to make and serve snacks and drinks to the quest attending parties. I also enjoyed the table setups in the restaurants.
The 3rd department was Front Office, the most professional of all. I had to stay awake during night in the reservation office but it was quite fun.
The last department, Kitchen and Production, was all about cooking food and making menus. I gained knowledge about the food and its quality.
Hotel Yak & Yeti has been a role model for me and a great source of inspiration. I particularly appreciated the staffs’ full dedication to their work and the way they motivate their junior employees. The hotel’s pleasant environment enhances devotion to the work and led me to be regular and punctual. I also learnt to be independent and self-reliant. Although there were 436 staffs in the hotel, most of them knew each other and were getting along well. I got along well with all, as they were so courteous. They taught me the very basic things of Hospitality. Discipline was perhaps the most visible thing in this hotel.
So despite all the problems that I have faced while applying for an Internship, trying to forecast the future situation, etc., this has proved to be an instructive and beneficial experience. And I have become more ambitious, as I now visualize my future professional goals.
Although I am not that eager to work in hotels in the future, I am very optimistic about my prospects knowing the huge scope that my course provides.