My Learning Journey – Charlene Chong

Name: Charlene Chong
Name of institution: Republic Polytechnic
Course of study: Diploma in Hotel and Hospitality Management

Why did you choose to pursue this course?
I decided to study at Republic Polytechnic (RP) as I found that their problem-based learning approach in education is more holistic than conventional lectures that are offered as the next step for O-level graduates. This actually makes it a better match for my personality and preference for learning compared to the route to JCs and other polytechnics. This learning method ensures that I am able to understand and apply concepts and skills, rather than just reading and knowing about it.

I’ve also had the freedom of choosing any course that I wanted (as I did pretty well for my O-levels, with 7 points), and I was torn between my interest in Psychology, and my passion in Hospitality. However, after visiting all open houses with my parents, stepping into RP shot my interest and passion to a whole new level! That’s when I decided to choose my course (Diploma in Hotel and Hospitality Management). My course covered modules that involved psychology too, which was perfect for me in combining my interest and passion.

How did you hear about Republic Polytechnic and its courses?
I heard it through word of mouth, and realised that my friends and family members from RP grew into better, more outspoken, confident and matured adults, and it piqued my interest as to why is that so. Eventually after my O-levels, I researched more about Hospitality (the course I’m interested in) and went for the Open House, which blew me away with their amazing hospitality and warm welcome.

What is the best thing about studying at Republic Polytechnic?
I feel that RP always has the student’s development and growth in mind when it comes to learning, and is willing to explore various platforms to really connect knowledge and skills to students. This holistic environment does well for students who think that conventional ways of studying does not appeal to them. Even if one may not be interested in the hospitality industry, there are various other courses that cater to different schools and have that special RP touch that makes learning unique. Support and guidance are easily found, be it from peers or lecturers.

What has been the most interesting aspect of your learning journey?
There were many diverse opportunities during my learning journey where I found myself in places that I would never expect to be in. I helped out two years in a row for the Formula 1 Grand Prix, got myself caught up in various camps, met people I never thought I could connect with, and most importantly, lived on an island paradise in Bali for six months for my internship with Hard Rock Hotel.

What advice do you have for students who wish to pursue a similar course?
Find the course/programme that suits you best, and do not be afraid to work hard. This industry is fast-paced, dynamic and competitive, but if you’re passionate about what you do, you’ll be able to achieve what you set your heart to do. Take up any opportunity to expand your knowledge and network, and that experience might lead you to somewhere exciting.

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