Hospitality higher education : an exploratory study of students' learning experience during overseas internship

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

Hospitality higher education : an exploratory study of students' learning experience during overseas internship

 

Author: Lui, Wing Yin
Title: Hospitality higher education : an exploratory study of students' learning experience during overseas internship
Degree: DHTM
Year: 2015
Subject: Tourism -- Study and teaching -- China -- Hong Kong.
Employment in foreign countries.
Internship programs.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: School of Hotel and Tourism Management
Pages: xvi, 223 pages
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2832910
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/8394
Abstract: "All genuine education comes through experience" (Dewey, 1938, p.25). Practicum is a critical element of any student's overall education, particularly in hospitality education. With the growing trends and needs of overseas internship in hospitality management programs,the reform of the education system in Hong Kong, and the research gap in hospitality education literature, there is a need to study the learning experience of student interns in hospitality overseas internships. As experiential learning theory provides a theoretical foundation for studying the process of learning, this study explores, through the perspective of the experiential learning cycle model developed by David Kolb, the interns' learning experience during overseas internship in the hospitality management degree program. The researcher conducted an extensive literature review to construct the theoretical framework of this study and then generate the interview questions. She employed a qualitative method for this study,interviewing 18 interns from two universities in Hong Kong offering government-funded hospitality management related programs regarding their perceptions on overseas internship and their learning experience. The researcher also conducted focus group discussions and kept contacts with the interns via an online social network site before, during, and after their internship. Apart from the interns, the researcher also interviewed internship coordinators to triangulate the data obtained from the interns. The findings showed that more students after the internship perceived intercultural experience as a critical element in their learning. Moreover, interns explained that, after the internship they felt their internship coordinators and mentors at the university were not as important for their education as they thought before the internship. Instead, they found their colleagues and on-the-job supervisors to be the most significant ones to facilitate their learning. Furthermore, prior relevant work experience, regular feedback, and a final meeting for evaluation were critical for effective learning during the overseas internship. These findings regarding the overseas learning process not only fully support Kolb's experiential learning theory, but also facilitate the construction of a new model of overseas internship learning. This study explores the student learning process in overseas hospitality internship program in the context of Kolb's learning cycle, which contributes to the extant literature on hospitality internship. The newly constructed overseas internship learning model also provides information for further research. Results of the study can serve as references for higher education institutions and the industry to improve the overseas internship programs and facilitate student learning experiences. Hospitality educators should continue efforts to imbue overseas internship with a real world and global orientation in close collaboration with host organizations.

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