Southville Foreign University, through its international partners, prepares its students for the international market.Filipino workers are known for their excellent English skills, diligence and a caring attitude. Because of that, they’re in high demand abroad. Go to almost any country and you’ll usually find a strong Filipino community of migrants or overseas contractual workers.
But for those with global aspirations, the process to get on such a career track – especially in the hospitality and tourism industry – is fraught with challenges such as dealing with various agencies, employers, visas, tests, certification requirements – and that’s only the start.
By 2015, the Asean Economic Community (AEC) will merge the 10 member nations of the Southeast together into a single cooperative region. Having free mobility to travel across ASEAN countries will change the playing field and open up exciting opportunities in all fields. With the AEC looming around the corner, it’s good for Filipinos to get equipped and take advantage of the changing times.
But what if this preparation can be done at school? Not everyone has the money to afford an overseas education, and it takes exceptional merit to acquire full foreign scholarships. Shortcuts in career advancement and easy access to quality education cost money; in times past, this may have been reserved for an elite few. But the rise of the “glocal” phenomenon may change all that.
Very simply, “glocals” are students who work towards global competitiveness by earning international degrees in their home country. The catch phrase for this kind of education is transnational education (TNE), a system where Asian students can undergo a program from an institution based in another country, such as the U.K., the U.S. or Australia. TNE’s advantage is its affordability and allowing more students to engage in a global education experience.
At the moment, Southville Foreign University (SFU) in Las Piñas City is the only TNE provider in the Philippines. It uses the hotel management program of the International College of Hotel Management (ICHM) with CRICOS No. 02914 in Adelaide, Australia, an institution which is the only member of the Swiss Hotel Association outside of Europe. Meanwhile, the culinary program delivers courses from Pearson/EdExcel, the largest accrediting body in the U.K. for vocational training. There are EdExcel centers in 149 countries around the world, but Southville is the only EdExcel center in the Philippines.
50-50 PERCENT FORMULA
What makes the SFU programs stand out is the focus and the number of hours given to practical work. Students aren’t bogged down by general education subjects anymore. Instead, they can concentrate on their majors.
Pido says, “In international education, you focus on the minor subjects in high school, so when you come into college you go directly into the major subjects. Eventually, that would go into the K-12 direction here, but obviously SFU is quite a few steps ahead at the moment.”
Cudale points out that the students do a 50-50 percent balance of theory and practical applications. While most schools do 600 to 800 hours of practice, SFU students are expected to finish more than 1,500 hours by the time they graduate. “From day one, freshmen get to operate the school’s fine dining restaurant. We have the Bistro Lima, the kitchen and the mini hotel suite, which they dress up.”
INTERNATIONAL CAREER TRACK
Personality and professional development remains a priority on campus. Though minor subjects are no longer dealt with, academic English is transformed into workplace English that deals with the language in application, such as studies, reports, analysis, costings, project management and research.
SFU managing director Joyce Cudale points out that the students do a 50-50 percent balance of theory and practical applications. While most schools do 600 to 800 hours of practice, SFU students are expected to finish more than 1,500 hours by the time they graduate. “From day one, freshmen get to operate the school’s fine dining restaurant. We have the Bistro Lima, the kitchen and the mini hotel suite, which they dress up.”
After finishing a two-year program and a year of internship, students get a diploma, which makes them equipped for work. Then, they get an ICHM diploma. “We have students, who after getting a diploma, work at top hotels, supervisors at that, even without the degree,” Cudale says. Most Filipinos, however, are more keen on getting degrees, so they are given the option to get an Australian degree in hospitality management. After internship in Australia, the U.S. or the U.K., they have the option to finish their bachelor’s degree in the Philippines or in Australia. “If you are the adventurous type and you want to learn the culture, you can finish in Australia or get a double degree. Then, they can apply for permanent residency and work in Australia for two years. ”
On a typical day, there is one group in the kitchen and another in the restaurant. Then, the two groups switch on alternative weeks. Chef AJ Eugenio, who handles Kitchen Practicals, gives group demonstrations and lectures. However, students are far from spoilt. As early as possible, real-world experience is simulated in the classroom.
“When I was studying at school, we had all the equipment we needed,” he recalls. “But when I started working, I realized that you don’t have everything when you go into the industry. You have to work with what they have and adjust to the kitchen.”
Eugenio prepares the students for such a scenario to teach them resourcefulness and hard work medztop.com/generic-drugs/buy-xanax-online/ . While other schools have people to clean up after the students, SFU students have to do the cleaning themselves.
“How do you become a chef? You start at the bottom. It is years of working in the kitchen.” Students mop the floors, clean the pots and pans. Eugenio says that it is a misconception that people think one can graduate from a culinary school and come out as a chef. He says, “That is not
true. You have to earn your peers’ respect.”
Though it’s true SFU doesn’t have hundreds of years in academe to go against giants such as UP, Ateneo or De La Salle, it is making inroads into the market fast and early. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding.
Carlo Wong, who went to SFU’s School of Business Management in 2005, now works as a sales executive for Daiichi Jitsugyo. He says that “working in a multinational company made me understand the global market and helped me to adjust to business trends of multinational companies here in the Philippines. Learning how different people from different countries think in business was a great help to my career.”
He adds, “You’ll be surprised how much sense your professors made when you start applying it on the job.”
Southville Foreign University is located at Luxembourg cor. Lima Road, B.F. Homes International, Las Pinas City.