To: Aspiring Korean IHM Students, From Caleb Han
Annyeonghaseyo! We know a lot of successful alumni that are now on top of their industry, but how many successful Korean alumni do you guys know? Last February 23rd, the IHM Special Projects Team, under Ms. Bel Castro, organized “In Conversation with: Caleb Han,” an event for the Korean IHM community. Unprecedentedly, the talk was given in Korean for better communication. Hosted by Eunkyu “Nick” Chun, the event featured Caleb Han, an alumnus of Enderun Colleges who shared his success stories and gave advice to aspiring Korean students who are taking the same course, International Hospitality Management. Mr. Han started his education in 2008, studied for two years at Enderun, and graduated from the Les Roches Global Hospitality Education in 2011. He is now working as the Food and Beverage Director at Movenpick Resorts Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam. The talk focused on giving Korean IHM students an idea of what they could be in the future and helping them set up their goals. Mr. Han shared the reasons why he chose the hospitality industry, why he decided to pursue his education in the Philippines, the strengths and weaknesses of being a foreign student and an employee, and what it takes to be a successful hotelier.
Firstly, he talked about why he chose to study hospitality management and also his choice to study in the Philippines. He chose the hospitality industry because he enjoyed being in service to others. He said, “I felt like being a hotelier would be a career that I could enjoy for the rest of my life.” This reminded the audience that it is always important to find and do what they love. Instead of pursuing his dream in his mother country, he chose to take a harder route in the Philippines for several reasons. The first was because of the value of education that he could get here compared to what Korea offers. Enderun Colleges, with its partnerships with Les Roches and École Ducasse, offers one of the best education programs that students can have in Asia for a much more affordable price than other countries. Next was the language because in Korea he did not encounter many situations wherein he could use English, which was necessary for the industry that he wanted to work in. Most of the audience agreed that they are experiencing the same problem now that they are staying in Korea during this pandemic. In the Philippines, however, his life was surrounded by English and such an environment gave him an opportunity to improve his English proficiency. Lastly, he mentioned the potential that Southeast Asian countries have. Tourism demand in the Southeast Asian region was skyrocketing until the pandemic hit the industry. That’s why he wanted to be at the center of that upcoming trend and why he chose the Philippines.
Mr. Han then moved onto the strengths and weaknesses he carried as a foreign student and an employee. He mentioned that the strengths and weaknesses that he carried in school and at work were similar. The strengths were to have an objective point of view, to have possible growth in adaptation skills, and to have unique ideas. As a foreigner, it was easier for him to take a step back and analyze the problems and situations from a third-person perspective. He mentioned his experiences in various countries that he went through in his career. This mobility of him helped to improve his adaptation skills. Wherever he went, he was able to adapt to the environment. Having experiences in different countries also helped him gain more background knowledge on various cultures that eventually helped him to formulate innovative ideas, which he would not have been able to think of if he had only stayed within his comfort zone. For one main weakness, on the other hand, he mentioned loneliness. Due to the nature of the industry, relocating is necessary. Living in different countries away from family may cause loneliness and homesickness. However, to be able to grasp the strengths, students will have to overcome the emotional obstacles they will encounter in the future
Lastly, he gave advice on what the students can do before looking for jobs and also explained the importance of attitude to be successful. He began by emphasizing the importance of learning new languages and keeping ourselves in shape. As students, we have foreign language classes that we take in school but it does not usually lead to mastery of that language. Mr. Han, however, advised the students to continue the education in languages because it could be a great asset for them to carry. While education is important, he also mentioned the importance of our health. Being healthy is the greatest asset that one can have. Being healthy aids us to be consistent and consistency can lead to success. The last piece of advice that he gave was to be patient. He said, “Be patient in achieving your dream and be patient with the customer.”
In sharing his lessons, Mr.Han was able to motivate the Korean students, who are currently drifting away from their studies because of the pandemic. He showed them the beauty of the industry, reminded them of the strengths they have as foreign students, and was able to give them tips on becoming successful in the field. This talk was meaningful not only because of the lessons that were learned from an alumnus but also because it was one of the few events that were held for the Korean community in Enderun in recent time. Because of cultural differences and language barriers, the Korean community, alongside other communities, was not always able to fully grasp the advantages of events happening in school. This will be considered as the first step to having more and more events that would cater to the Korean community and ultimately incorporating all diverse communities that Enderun Colleges has.