Posted on: August 16, 2017
More than 30 students from Asia and South America spent three weeks this summer getting a taste of Southern hospitality while learning from hospitality industry experts at the University of South Carolina.
The International Hospitality and Tourism Academy is an experiential learning program for international students hosted by USC’s College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management (HRSM). Now in its fourth year, the program attracted students from as far away as China and Colombia, who earned certificates by completing courses in event management and planning, revenue and resort management and hospitality leadership.
“The course is designed to immerse students in the topics they are studying so they can connect lessons in the classroom with real-life examples.”
—USC Hospitality Professor Miyoung Jeong, academy leader
Danielle Zambrano Bueno of Colombia said the academy offered unique opportunities to study different areas of the tourism business. “We learned a variety of aspects of event planning, and the theme and amusement park industry. These are topics we don't normally see back at home in our regular classes,” she said.
The class combined classroom lessons with experiential learning trips to tourism capitals like Charleston and Atlanta, where students visited top attractions, hotels and restaurants.
“The course is designed to immerse students in the topics they are studying so they can connect lessons in the classroom with real-life examples,” said USC Hospitality Professor Miyoung Jeong, who leads the academy. “Students are able to really experience world-class hospitality and tourism in the United States, and that can make a powerful impact on their education.”
The curriculum included courses taught by a variety of hospitality and tourism professors with different areas of specialization to help students get the most out of their classes.
“I gained knowledge about leadership and found some of my shortcomings when I work as a leader of a group, which can be a big improvement for me,” said Jingzhi Zhang of China. “We also had a lot of fun in class, and the academic knowledge and history about resort development left a deep impression in my mind.”
The students lived together on campus during the academy, which allowed them to experience American culture and forge new friendships with people from other countries.
“The Chinese have very different cultures and customs than my country, but I liked learning from their lifestyle and making different contacts,” said Maria Paula Romero Sotelo of Colombia.
“Making new friends and talking to the professors were my favorite parts in this academy,” said Fu Tengxuan of China. “I really had a good time at USC with all the people!”
USC’s International Tourism and Hospitality Academy is part of the college of HRSM's global education vision. The college plans to expand the program in the future by continuing to offer new and diverse topics and customizing the course to a broad variety of countries.