Kathleen Poe Ross, 404-413-1374
This fall, Georgia State University launched a new study abroad program in Macao, China. School of Hospitality senior Melissa Kauffman is the first GSU student to take part in the exchange with the Institute for Tourism Studies, one of the largest hospitality and tourism schools in the world.
|School of Hospitality senior Melissa Kauffman with the Macau Tower Convention and Entertainment Centre in the background.|
“I want to experience different cultures, different lifestyles, and learn from each person I meet,” Kauffman says of her semester in Macao. “This school is the means for my learning more than can be found in books.”
Macao, a former Portuguese colony on China’s southern coast, is widely known as Asia’s Las Vegas. As such, it offers an ideal environment for hospitality studies, due to the sustained growth and prosperity of its tourism and gaming industries. Most of Macao’s tourism revenue comes from visitors from mainland China.
The Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality’s partnership with the Institute for Tourism Studies in Macao is part of a new initiative to increase Georgia State’s presence in other nations. Building on a foundation established by GSU President Mark Becker; Debby Cannon, director of the School of Hospitality; and Joe Perdue, executive director of Global Hospitality Initiatives, this international exchange agreement is designed to expand the cultural horizons of its students. GSU’s agreement with the Institute for Tourism Studies encompasses both student and faculty exchanges, as well as research collaboration.
While in Macao, Kauffman is taking classes in tourism product management, marketing management, special interest tourism and event management. She is also studying Cantonese, one of the main languages spoken there. When not in class or doing homework, Kauffman enjoys visiting the shops at casinos such as the MGM, the Wynn and the Venetian with her classmates.
Kauffman will graduate with a B.B.A. in hospitality administration in spring 2012. She also plans to complete a master’s in international business at GSU, a degree that would make her a stronger leader within the hospitality industry. Her career goal is to work in private clubs, specifically in catering and event management.
“I like working with people on a personal level, getting to know people and helping them when they need something,” she says.
After graduation, Kauffman and her husband hope to eventually relocate abroad to work and travel around the world. Kauffman’s time in Macao will give her an idea of what it takes to live abroad and how to manage being outside of her comfort zone.
At the midpoint of her semester overseas, Kauffman has some advice for students considering studying abroad. “Be open to new experiences; embrace the different cultures, the food, and the people. Find some extracurricular activities, which are great places to meet new people,” she says, adding, “Keep yourself busy so you don't get homesick.”
Oct. 24, 2011