Public Communication

Until a couple of months ago, the thing that frightened me more than anything else — even more than my childhood fear of crows attacking me — was standing up before a group of people and speaking.

In February of 2017, I took the biggest ever leap out of my comfort zone and faced my biggest fear: public speaking in front of parents and teachers 🙂 I participated in the Nourish Conference which is a school workshop intended for parents and educators who want to discuss and learn more about well-being.

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I was first introduced to this conference by my school counsellor who I worked with for about 6 months – in a lot of our meetings, we discussed about mental health & well-being, confidence, overcoming challenges (etc.) and we thought it would be a perfect idea to share what we’ve discussed in our meetings with parents and teachers. While I was excited to be able to talk about something that I was so passionate about, I was also really nervous – to me, the idea of speaking in front of parents and teachers seemed impossible when I often already had difficulties delivering presentations to my classmates. However, I understood this opportunity as a perfect way for me to demonstrate some of the things I was able to learn through my discussions with my counsellor regarding confidence and overcoming challenges so I happily accepted the offer.

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Ironically, our presentation was on “doing hard things” 🙂 We discussed some tools to help “identify and dissolve limiting beliefs”. In the last few minutes of the presentation, I also talked specifically about introverts and what it means to experience school as an introvert as well as how this affects me personally on a daily basis. I also gave advice to parents on how to support their children who are struggling to open up to friends and teacher at school, and how they can be actively involved in their children’s lives to support their well-being.

1) Preparation

In preparation for the conference, I did A LOT of practicing 🙂 I practiced at home, at school, in the train, and as I began feeling more and more prepared for the day, I also began to see my confidence improving. I also made sure to practice some of the strategies for public speaking that I learnt in class as well as from my counsellor – this included things like enunciating every word clearly, gestures, breathing techniques, etc.

2) Delivering

While I was very nervous and anxious on the day of the presentation, I definitely think it helped a lot that I was talking about something that I was truly passionate about and on a topic that I was clearly knowledgeable about. It also really helped me that I had my counsellor by my side during the entire presentation and the confidence she demonstrated in her parts of the presentation also gave me the encouragement to stand up in front of everyone with confidence. I also appreciated that my counsellor decided to make the workshop “introvert-friendly” – in between the presentation, we gave the teachers and parents some time to reflect quietly and we also gave them activities to do individually. During this time, I was able to practice the next few sections of the presentation in my head as well as give myself a few minutes to relax and breathe.

At the very end of the conference, some parents and teachers came up to congratulate me on the presentation and I really enjoyed hearing what they had to say about our presentation as well as about the topic.

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While I was very happy with how the presentation went, especially given how much and for how long I’ve always avoided speaking publicly, what made me even more happier was hearing what the audience had to say about the topic. One of the parents in the audience came up to me after the presentation to thank me for some of the strategies I shared about finding the confidence to say “no.” It was especially interesting and refreshing to know that some adults also struggled with the fear of saying “no” 🙂

3) Reflection

After conquering my biggest fear, I truly learnt the importance of stepping out of my comfort zone, in the context of public speaking. I have learnt that public speaking can really help to influence important decisions and to motivate change – these were things I’ve consistently tried to achieve in my life but it was only after the conference that I truly felt like I was able to demonstrate my passion for promoting well-being and that I was able to motivate positive change for parents and teachers.

Since the presentation, I promised myself to do something scary on a regular basis. One of the most important things I’ve learnt this year is that facing my biggest fears allows me to develop wisdom as well as confidence – since presenting at the conference, I’ve learnt that I’m so much more capable than I think I am 🙂

 

Academic Skills: Research, Organisation, Collaboration

Throughout the past years and taking different classes, I was able to develop some interdisciplinary academic skills, such as I learned based on research, organisation and collaboration.

 

An improvement in researching

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I developed an ability to research efficiently and more effectively, for example by researching for more information out of curiosity or for posters, presentations and assessments asked for in class. In my HL psychology class, independent research is an essential part of our learning, as we search on the internet for past research studies to strengthen arguments and to apply our learned content. An example of this is the research a classmate and I did on Ledoux’s Theory of Emotion, which can be seen on the left, which demonstrates how we researched the study conducted in 1999 as well as information about the theory itself in order to promote an understanding of what it is and how emotion may affect cognitive processes in humans. Things that I learned about researching in this class are closely connected to the relevance of the information and the sources. When searching for research studies one can use to strengthen arguments, one has to make sure that the studies are approved by officials, and that there is enough detailed information on the study to really consolidate what I’m trying to prove with this study. In that way, digging deeper into the internet to really find what I need, as well as validating information in terms of its relevance and credibility are key to researching successfully in this class, and over the past year I feel like I have strongly improved that.

Another class in which researching plays an important role is my biology class, as we often are asked to research how biological processes function exactly and why they’re necessary to our survival. An example of this would be our unit of DNA replication, where we learned about histones and the structure of DNA independently. Key to researching successfully in this field is presenting the information in a concise and comprehensive way. Often times the information you find on the internet about biological processes is either incredibly simplified, or so detailed that it is hard to understand. In that way, looking at different sources to get an in depth understanding and then combining information from different sources to create concise posters or diagrams for others to understand, is incredibly useful. Furthermore, I learned of the importance of citing the information, so that other classmates are able to go back and look for themselves, and that I myself am able to ensure the credibility and accurateness of the information.

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A deeper awareness of the importance of collaboration

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I developed a more in depth awareness of the importance of collaboration, as I recognised limitations of my own perspective in different classes. Asking others for their opinions and discussing ideas, concepts and questions with other people, so essentially collaboration, extends the variety of ideas and perspectives and allows for a more diverse and perhaps accurate answer and interpretation. I became aware of the importance of collaboration especially in the two classes English Literature and Theory of Knowledge (TOK), as the answers and ideas about specific stimuli often stays quite one sided and not very rewarding without collaborating and discussing with others. In English we recently investigated the poet Pablo Neruda, and looked at some of his poems such as the “Ode to Socks”. The more I talked to other people about this poem, the richer became my understanding of what Neruda might have tried to express with this poem, as I learned about different ways one can interpret the imagery and diction he used. Other people had different impressions of the mood and tone created, and were able to justify that directly on the poem, which enabled me to understand where they were coming from and reconsider how I had interpreted the mood and tone before. Having learned to collaborate effectively with my classmates, for instance asking specific questions, asking them why they they have specific impressions or interpretations, incredibly enriched my experience in this English class and my understanding of Neruda’s poetry. In that way, I really enjoy discussions about poetry and literary questions, and enjoy hearing about different ideas and perspectives.

Another class in which my understanding of the importance of collaboration strongly improved over the past year is TOK. For instance we recently talked about ethics and investigated ethical dilemmas and how to handle situations from different ethical standpoints and perspectives. This can be seen on the picture I attached above, which displays what my group discussed when thinking about euthanasia in Australia. The more I talked to my classmates, the more I understood how different people can think completely different about situations, as they base their knowledge and reasoning on different foundations and ethical principles. Some of my classmates experienced a quite different religious education and stem from different cultures and countries, which shape their reasoning and ethical decision-making. Without collaboration and discussions, I think it is impossible to understand and comprehend each other, as well as learn and grow as individuals. I can learn from others by talking to them and understanding where they’re coming from, as this gives me the chance to critically think about my perspective and my decisions. Throughout the last year I strongly learned to appreciate collaboration in TOK, as well as learn how to collaborate more effectively and in ways that are enjoyable, without leading to conflict or stubbornness.

Becoming more and more organised

I developed this academic skill throughout the last year in particular, for instance leading up to big tests and the exams at the end of the year. I started writing to-do lists in order to stay on top of my work and to keep track of what I have to do when. Hence prioritising and organising my time well, was something I strongly improved with last year as I wanted to perform as well as possible in these tests and in the exams. One subject in which I learned to appreciate good organisation skills the most is the subject economics, as I realised that organising thoughts and arguments in the most effective ways is crucial to say everything in a comprehensive way.

This was especially challenging when writing up the Internal Assessments, as the short word limit required me to be concise and comprehensive at the same time, while trying to include everything I wanted to say. In that way, I learned to organise my ideas and reasons and prioritise them according to relevance, urgency and importance, as well as in economics the probability of this situation occurring. In another class I strongly learned about organisation in a way that I learned to appreciate organised and complete notes. In my biology class, the content we learn is very detailed and having access to different learning materials is only sometimes an advantage. The other times, it is very time consuming to check whether I have this information in my notes or not, and this is exactly why I learned to appreciate organisation so much. Leading up to tests and the exam I got used to a specific study routine, in which I would have several different study material open at the same time and then I would take notes in a very organised and detailed way, so that I could remember all necessary details in a coherent way. I think being aware of when to do that, hence organising the time it will take to make these notes, and then being aware of how to organise ideas and information on paper, were the two skills that really solidified my good grade in Biology. In that way, I learned to appreciate as well as to improve my organisation skills over the past year, and am very thankful as I’m sure this will help me in the future.

Engagement in Chennai

Over the course of the two school years 2014/2015 and 2015/2016, I was actively involved in the service group at my school called Jumpstart. Jumpstart is a student lead club dedicated to supporting local communities in Chennai, India. We worked together with Teach For India, a non-profit organisation, and invested our energy and time into planning and executing Saturday sessions with the children from local schools to work with them towards our goals.
 
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Throughout my time in this club, we, the club members constantly collaborated with the teachers and representatives of Teach For India, as to which skills and concepts would be most beneficial for the children to learn. Together, we identified and specified five different things which we wanted to work towards, which became the guiding mission behind all of our actions and planning. We wanted to make an effort to teach the young children English, to teach them about the importance of communication, the importance of teamwork, and the importance of planning, and furthermore, we wanted to work towards a more neutral perception of gender in the young indian children, so to overcome the barrier between the boys and girls, as gender roles and stereotypes were very visible. In the planning sessions which took place at least once a week (typically during lunch), we planned how to undertake this mission and come closer to our goal, hence we considered different possibilities such as organising physical competitions, teaching the children in classrooms or supporting the schools financially. In order to help the children in the most effective, sustainable and meaningful ways, we decided to tackle the mission by a combination of different actions.
 
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We organised fundraising events such as bake sales to raise money to support the schools financially and invest into english school books, as when visiting a local school it became clear that not only did they have very outdated copies, but there were also only a few for far too many children. This way we hoped to support the community in a meaningful way as the schools were able to educate the children with better and more materials in the long run. In that way we were responsible for the improvement of their education, but we managed to enable the schools to keep up the better quality of teaching by providing them with better materials. Furthermore we organised lots of sessions in which we worked directly with the children, every second Saturday we invited the children to our campus to teach them about the importance of teamwork, communication, planning and overcoming gender roles.  
 
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We planned games such as strategic ball games to teach the children about teamwork and planning in a playful way, and we planned competitive relays for instance to bring the idea of communication and teamwork closer to them. Furthermore, throughout these games we constantly mixed up the teams, so that children from different ages, classes, and genders had to work together, and wanting to succeed they had to collaborate and overcome these differences. Additionally, we planned sessions which revolved around music, in which we brought instruments and asked them to sing in English with us. We planned artistic sessions in which we drew and painted with the children, again to strengthen their English skills by asking them to explain their art pieces.
 

After a few of the Saturday sessions, the children knew us and we built personal relationships and connections with them as well as with the Teach For India representatives. The consistency with which we saw them and worked with them helped to build trust and facilitated the learning, as the children became more and more eager to play our games and work with us cooperatively. They were looking forward to coming to our school and learning from us, as well as with us. After having left this community and the school, I can say that we had a significant impact on these children’s lives connected to improving their learning experience academically as well as promoting their individual growth in a way in which they’ll benefit from it in the long term.

 
After reviewing my initial post, I had this reflective conversation with my GCD Coordinator:

Inter-Cultural Communication

Please listen here to my reflective interview about Intercultural Communication:

Throughout my school career I have learned several different foreign languages, I learned English as my first foreign language and then I started learning French, which was a part of my weekly schedule for six years, starting from Grade 6. While I have to acknowledge that I am nowhere near fluent in French, I have learned an immense amount of vocabulary over these years, and learned to speak and express myself in this grammatically challenging language.

Studying French in an international school enabled me to speak French with native speakers outside the classroom as well as in the classroom, as my teacher was a native French speaker. One of the things which stood out to me the most, was how quickly French people speak and how interconnected and intertwined the words and sentences become. Additionally, the French language is really melodic, which seemed to intertwine the words and sentences even more. For instance, when writing ‘we are’ in French you write “nous sommes”, however when saying this in a sentence, it is treated as one word and becomes something like “nousommes”. When speaking with native French speakers, either outside of the classroom or with my French teacher, this became quite challenging as learning the language slowly is very different from understanding and speaking it yourself in such a fast pace. I think that language and the linguistics of language reveal a lot about the people who speak the language, not only what they say but also how they say it. Perhaps my observations reflect some aspects of their culture and way of living, as the French people I have encountered displayed very lively and active personalities, being engaged with their surroundings and enjoying the company of each other. I learned to appreciate this, to me how they make use of their language, the friendliness and humour I have encountered when being in France or around French people, fits the melodic and fast pace of their language in my opinion.

Throughout the years my French became better and better, and it was incredibly motivating to be able to understand what French conversations around me were about, for example when French mothers were waiting for their children in school. One time for instance, I volunteered to help out at a parent teacher conference and hence helped to show the families around. One French family tried to find a room, and approached me for help in broken English. The woman was unsure what teacher they were looking for, but the man accompanying her knew and told the woman in French about the teacher and where he thought the room was. Because of having learned French for so many years, I understood what he said and was able to direct the parents to the correct room, even in French. I tried to be as correct as possible when conjugating verbs and using vocabulary correctly, and it felt really rewarding being able to understand and communicate with this family in a different language. This really showed me how much progress I made, and how I am now able to understand human beings from somewhere else of the world, even though they have a different culture, a different background, and a different language. I had the chance to encounter very funny and expressive French people, and I am very glad my knowledge of the French language enables me to engage with this culture and the French people in this way.

Global Understanding

 

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In November 2016 some of my classmates and I were involved in a school trip, which for me, being from Germany but living in Chennai, India, was incredibly interesting and eye-opening. It was a trip to Bikaner, which is located in Rajasthan, India, and central to this trip was being a part of a Camel Caravan. This trip involved a variety of activities, some service related, some creativity and action related, and some focused on getting familiar with the culture of this location.

 

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Throughout this trip, being able to actively interact with the local community was great, it gave me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone, to grow and to develop. For instance it really allowed me to change my perspective of what is normal to my life as an expat in Chennai, a big city, while it truly isn’t in Bikaner. Air conditioning, big rooms, closed and lockable bathrooms and closed, air conditioned kitchens were clearly not common in this location. Seeing how and where the villagers of Bikaner lived made me think about how life can be very different around the world, as I noticed the big difference between living in India and living in Germany. 

 

Furthermore, this trip also made me think about the significant difference between living as a local and living as an expat in India, and the caused power and standard of living differences. As an expat in Chennai, India, you live a very privileged life, most companies pay for a private school for the children, for very comfortable housing, as well as for people helping you with work in the garden, the kitchen, with cleaning and driving. In Bikaner, which is around 2.544,3 km away from Chennai, the local villagers live in very small houses as a big family, sometimes the grandparents, the parents, and 3-5 children. The houses are built by the villagers themselves using earth and clay, and a family is considered lucky if they have some land where they can grow food or a goat or cow. A car, air conditioning, school beyond Grade 8, did not exist in the village we visited. This really made me realise how my life is so different from the life of these people, how different my future perspectives are, how different my diet is, how different my relationship to the people around me is. It made me think of how small and insignificant my problems and worries are occasionally compared to their problems, for example worrying over a math test versus not enough food to feed the whole family. Power and wealth differences are so big and visible in India, they determine the future, the health and appearance of people in my age. In Germany, through personal experience and studying the political system, I know that the German political and economic situation allows everyone of my age to become successful, as everyone has access to education beyond Grade 8, and everyone’s health is in theory ensured as the government pays parents money for raising their children. Of course, not everything is perfect in Germany and I’m very aware of this, but the theoretical conditions of living in Germany are good enough to ensure a good health, access to education, and a satisfactory standard of living.

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Besides this realisation and these thoughts on the differences of living in both countries and the privilege and status difference (local villager versus expat), I learned quite a few things about the differences in religions around the world as well. Being christian myself, I grew up with very specific values and traditions. During our visit in Bikaner we visited the Karni Mata Temple, which was a Rat Temple. Without a doubt, the simple presence of rats at a temple and then the amount of rats at the temple (there were so many.) really struck me, and forced me to think again about how religion can mean different things around the globe. Worshipping animals
might indicate that these people value the animals just as much as they value themselves. Hence, this could mean that the people are less egoistic, instead they recognize and acknowledge their surroundings and their environment as equally important as themselves. When looking at this kind of worshipping from this perspective, I quite like it, and personally support this view, as I myself promote living more consciously of our surroundings. In Germany, this is not always the case, as not only is Christianity and the belief of one god most prevalent, but there is also many people who see themselves as superior of animals and happily kill mice and rats if they should appear in basements or garages. This can already be seen by the quantity and demand of rat traps one finds in building supply stores.

Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, the religions which predominate a country, shape the mentality of the people living there. Understanding what people believe in and worship, strongly adds to one’s understanding of the culture, politics, economics, and way of living of people in different parts of the world, and in my case, I’m very grateful of what I was able to experience throughout this trip and learn about global differences. It made me realise how life and mentality can differ across the globe, and it made me appreciate these differences and eager to learn more about and understand them better.

Please listen here for further reflection:

Wellness – Yoga, Sleep and the Work

Yoga

I have been a part of the YIS yoga club for about 3 years now 🙂 It was an on-off relationship during my first year because I was always skeptic of its benefits but during the last 2 years, yoga has been a very important part of my life in terms of my physical and emotional well-being (i.e; managing my stress levels, increasing productivity, and improving flexibility). I go to class every Thursday after school and each session lasts between 45 minutes to an hour.

Physical Well-Being

I joined yoga in 9th grade in hopes to improve my flexibility. Being a dancer, flexibility for me is something that I need to constantly work on and maintain. I do ballet and contemporary dance, both which require lots of flexibility especially in the hips and in the arch of my feet. With the help of yoga, I am able to work on both these areas. A lot of the poses we practice in yoga requires to open our hips such as the “happy baby” and the “pigeon“. These poses in particular allow us to loosen the tightest areas in our hips and I find these the most effective out of all. I now incorporate these poses into my regular warm up routines before ballet to warm up my hips for kicks and straddles.

Some of the poses we practice in yoga also require some flexibility in the first place and these allow myself to use and maintain my flexibility just as much as I do in dance. The “Cow Face Pose” in my opinion requires a lot of flexibility in the hips and is one pose I face the most challenge with in yoga. It wasn’t until recently that I really started to realise that yoga and dance complement each other perfectly 🙂

Emotional and Mental Well-Being

I feel and notice most of the benefits of practicing yoga once the session is over and I am at home ready to start my homework for the night. I think the majority thinks that yoga switches off our brain and body entirely but I think this is only true during the activity. Yoga actually provides me with the energy I need for the rest of the night – I feel more awake, more productive and more perseverant. It puts me in the mood to prioritize homework and chores whilst days without yoga is completely the opposite. Something about yoga turns on my productivity-switch 🙂
I like to think it has something to do with the mindset we practice during our yoga sessions – the calm, quiet, worry-free mindset that our instructor encourages us. We learn to rid and avoid distractions and when we do get distracted, we are told to acknowledge the thought and gently let it drift away like a leaf on a river. I think I subconsciously take this mindset with me back home and subconsciously maintain it for the rest of the night and that’s what helps me to complete my homework and ignore the things that often distract me.

Yoga also allows me to practice mindfulness in the midst of a hectic day. My days usually consist of worry and fear and MORE worry and some days it’s manageable, some days it drains all my energy out. I would be lying if I say that yoga has made these days a lot less hectic. But I genuinely think that it has allowed me to acknowledge these types of days and tell myself that “it’s all going to be okay” 🙂 During our yoga sessions, the most important thing we are taught to practice is our breathing and to focus on our breathing. During every pose, our instructor reminds us to whisper to ourselves “now I breathe in, now I breathe out” for every inhale and exhale we take. During days where I need a break from my fears and worries, I think to myself; “now I breathe in, now I breathe out” and I’m able to instantly change my mindset, switch everything off entirely, let my worries drift away and focus entirely on my breathing 🙂

Other Stuff:

There are a few other things besides yoga that also help maintain / improve my emotional and physical well-being 🙂

Sleep Tracker

Last summer, I downloaded an app on my phone called “Sleep as Android” which tracks the amount of sleep I get as well as sensing my lightest and deepest sleep. I am still trying to figure out whether this app actually works and whether it does what it claims to do but so far, I’ve been really liking the way it wakes me up. The app features a built-in alarm clock that wakes me up during my lightest sleep (I only use this app during the weekend when I don’t have to worry about being late to school!). I find this super beneficial because I hate being waken up during my deepest sleep. I find it super unpleasant and I find that it negatively affects my productivity during the whole day.

Sleep is really important for me in order to maintain a positive attitude during the day and being able to track the length of my sleep and knowing whether I’m getting enough of those deep sleeps are super helpful. At the end of the week, I always go to the “overview” tab which allows me to look at my sleep patterns during the course of the entire week / month and this is really helpful because I play around with my homework and study schedules according to how much sleep I get on certain days.

The Work

A few months ago my school counsellor, who I’ve been working with since October of 2016, introduced me to “The Work” by Katie Byron. It is “a process of inquiry that teaches you to identify and question the thoughts that cause all the suffering in the world.”. It consists of four questions to ask yourself when you are having difficulties ridding a constant negative thought that circles your mind.

The Questions:


Lastly, it asks for a “turnaround”. You are required to try and flip the negative statement around in however way you can and want to, to change it into a positive one 🙂

The work’s helped me a lot to rid those “all up in the head” kind of negative thoughts that always use to eat my confidence away. Spending even just 5 minutes of my day asking myself these questions helps me work towards and maintain a positive outlook on life and they really teach me that most of my negative thoughts are really just ones that I make up myself and are truly things that I don’t have to worry about at all 🙂

I’m really proud of myself for constantly trying to find ways to look after my well-being and am also really thankful for everyone that is part of my life who help me find ways to manage my stress and take care of myself.

 

 

Internship at the Ritz Carlton, Bangalore

Description:

I am interested in pursuing a career in the hospitality industry, and so I thought it would be a good idea for me to get some experience one summer once I was old enough to work in certain countries, so that I’d gain some exposure and experience, but also some firsthand knowledge about the hospitality industry. I applied for an operational internship at the Ritz Carlton Bangalore, which was also the first Ritz Carlton in India. I worked for five weeks (3 days off) and split my time in Front Office and in F&B (Food & Beverage). It was an unforgettable experience, and the knowledge and experience I gained were very valuable, especially because I had the chance to work with Managers who had considerable talent and experience. I was the youngest employee ever that the hotel had ever had, since internships during high school were extremely rare and unheard of. This meant the majority of my colleagues were 7-30 years older than me and were able to provide me with constructive criticism and advice.

Learning Outcomes:

Awareness of Strengths and Areas for Growth

In Front Office and in F&B, I discovered that one considerable strength I had was the ability to be able to talk and converse with guests very easily. Especially other nationality guests (German, English, Japanese) as I would know a few phrases in their language and usually have at least one friend from their country. Furthermore, I wasn’t nervous about talking to guests, and they were quite open with me, possibly because they could tell I was much younger, which meant sometimes my colleagues urged me to get feedback from guests since I learned to anticipate guest needs well.
Another strength I had was I was able to remember a lot of what was being taught to me, especially in Front Office when I was taught the majority of functions in applications such as Opera and Mystique. I was expected to use these applications within a few days of learning them and malfunctions would have been a disaster, and so I strived to practice multiple times everything I was taught to ensure I would remember it. The amount of information and details I had to learn were at first astonishing to me. By the end of my first three weeks, I had been able to give three tours to guests looking to host events when Guest Services was busy with a Dell conference. I had crammed enough that my supervisors felt confident about allowing me to show guests around.
Some areas for me to grow in which stuck out to me especially were in F&B. At times my lack of physical strength was an obstacle to overcome when I was expected to carry 40-50 heavy plates at once. Going back and forth with 10 plates was what I would have to do sometimes, and this made my work not as efficient as it could have been. I managed to overcome a part of this obstacle by using my right hand to hold the edge of the salvar while balancing it on my left hand so I could hold considerably heavier stuff than before while retaining balance and looking professional. Another obstacle I had to overcome in F&B was efficiency. Being brought up in Japan with a slight Japanese mentality, I’ve grown very used to feeling the need for precision. For instance, it would take me at least 5 minutes longer to fold up 10 napkins (book style) than a colleague because I would be obsessed with fitting the creases just right and making sure the edges were folded perfectly. I would need to instead find a balance between precision and speed when working practical jobs.

Undertaking New Challenges and Working Collaboratively

I pushed a lot of boundaries by working in an environment with only adults, in a working environment I was unfamiliar with. Though the hotel was very much at the standard of a Ritz Carlton Hotel, aside from the guests, I mainly interacted with only Indian staff and admin, and so there was a slight difference in environment that I had to adapt to. Furthermore, I had to learn how to network considerably. As even though it was my parents’ contact that helped me with applying for an internship, it was my responsibility to make the most of my job and network. I did this by researching a lot (on LinkedIn) about the experience and skills of a lot of the Managers and workers at the hotel. It was easier then, for me to talk with them, get their advice, and ask for assistance if I needed to once I knew them better. This in turn became helpful as when I needed recommendation or a SWAT analysis, they knew me well enough to provide constructive feedback. F&B allowed me especially to work collaboratively. While my entire internship consisted of learning and having many colleagues teaching me alongside doing their jobs, the majority of collaboration happened in F&B. For instance, when I was working in events, Aishwarya (a fellow intern just out of university) and I split the work so that she would cover clearing the plates in the left wing, while I would refill coffee in the right wing and polish champagne flutes in the pantry. This was essential in banquets which became very hectic and chaotic once lunch or dinner began, with clearance being essential.

Showing Perseverance and Commitment

I was working during my summer vacation but the job provided me with absolutely no time to slack off. I was treated like an another employee and was expected to work the same amount of time as well. I worked 9 hours a day, though as is the case in the hospitality industry, hours were sometimes unpredictable and I would have to stay an hour or so longer until closing up. Usually I would do the 9 am – 6 pm shift, but in F&B this changed and varied depending on occupancy rate, number or workers, etc. Sometimes I would do the 11 am – 8:30 pm shift if I was working at the Ritz Carlton Bar that particular day. Similarly I would start earlier if I was working at the Club Lounge. I had very few days off (3 days in total) for a period of 5 weeks and this could sometimes be exhausting, especially in the middle of two IB years, however the experience I was gaining, the fun I was having, and the amazing colleagues I met were worth it.

Developing New Skills

It would be impossible for me to come close to listing all the things I learned during my internship. So I shall just list the biggest parts of Front Office and F&B

Front Office
-Learn how to answer/transfer/page a phone call from a guest/employee/third party inquiry
-Opera and Mystique full understanding
-Learning how to place and deliver a wake up call
-Learning to 7 wonders of the Club Lounge
-Understanding the welcoming of a guest and Guest Service amenities
-Understanding the Ritz Carlton three steps of service
-Learning the types of rooms (features, area, introducing, floor numbers)
-Understanding the structure/design/amenities of all the rooms
-Understanding the Rewards Program
-Learning how to deliver/order newspaper
-How to place an order for in room dining
-Welcoming a guest and dealing with a complaint/feedback/suggestion
-Understanding the architectural features of the Ritz Carlton Hotel
-Understanding how to Check in/ Check out a guest
-Understanding room rates, occupancy rate, arrivals for the day
-How to use Go Concierge
-And much more

Food and Beverage Service
-Telephone handling Procedures
-Restaurant Concept and Layout (of all 6 outlets)
-Restaurant Timings and Inquiries
-Menu/Buffet Understanding
-How to handle a guest complaint.feedback/suggestion
-How to set a table cover
-How to pick up restaurant linen
-How to carry plates, flutes, etc
-Preparation for morning and afternoon tea
-How to seat a guest in a restaurant
-How to operate a Coffee machine
-How to serve water, tea, coffee
-How to take an order
-How to serve a pre-plated dish
-How to preform clearance on a guest table
-How to serve wine by glass
-How to make basic bar beverages
-How to confirm guest satisfaction
-Understanding Banquet spaces
-How to setup the banquet space for an event
-How to read a BEO
-How to take an In Room Dining order
-How to setup in Room Dining tray
-How to enter a guest room
-How to explain an order

Below are some photos and letters from my internship:

Inter-Cultural Communication

Please listen to the audio post of my reflection here:

There is something that I’d like to add. I’m fascinated by the way that language works, and so being around various types of languages is something that I truly appreciate in my daily life, and I hope that in the future I still try keep Japanese and my other languages in my life.

Here is a snapshot of my Duolingo account.

My Duolingo Homepage

I had the chance to reflect further in this reflective conversation with my GCD Coordinator: