Mapúa MCL Hospitality and Tourism Students broadens their horizons in the International Cruise Operations Learning and Immersion Program
Mapúa Malayan Colleges Laguna’s (Mapúa MCL) B.S. Tourism Management (BSTM) and B.S. Hospitality Management (BSHM) students had the incredible opportunity to join the International Cruise Operations Learning and Immersion Program last November 5 to 8, 2023 at Hong Kong and Sanya High Seas. This program is in line with Mapúa MCL’s mission to continuously provide a learning environment that will transform the students into globally competitive professionals.
The four-day immersion program and Hong Kong tour provided the twenty-two (22) students with valuable insight into the world of cruise operations and exposed them to the challenges of interacting with different cultures. The course professor of TMLECO3 – Cruise Tourism, Mr. Hernan Ernani Luis, mentioned that “[The Immersion] offers our students a firsthand look at the intricacies of cruise operations, a sector that’s becoming increasingly significant in global tourism. Through experiencing different cultures and operational standards aboard, our students gain a broader, more practical perspective.”
The language barrier and cultural differences proved to be one of the biggest challenges faced by the tourism students, as attested by Ms. Erika Roxas, a BSTM 3rd year student. However, they embraced this obstacle as an opportunity to enhance their communication abilities and develop creative strategies through hand gestures to be able to interact with them.
According to Ms. Mariela Arabelle Tan, a BSTM 3rd year student, one of the things that amazed them through this immersion program was being able to immerse themselves in hands-on experiences in the cruise operations: the galley, theater, and bridge, where they were able to observe how the captain works.
The International Cruise Operations Learning and Immersion Program became a transformative experience for tourism students. Prof. Merle Ruiz, the BSTM Program Chair, cited that the program “Enabled the BSTM students to connect with other people with new cultures while discovering places of interest in some parts of the world. It also broadens their horizons on how cruises operate, which cannot be gained through other means.”
The program provided invaluable insights into the complexity of cruise operations, which led to an appreciation of the richness of different cultures. Also, by opening the students’ perspective, there are more careers to explore in the tourism industry, such as in cruise operations. Ms. Erika and Ms. Mariela, representing the BSTM and BSHM 3rd Year class, affirmed that Mapúa MCL is true to its vision of building professionals by exposing the students to broad opportunities that will serve as a training ground for pursuing their desired future careers, understanding the ins and outs, and knowing that experience is truly the best teacher in the tourism industry.