Let’s Get Connected: PATA Enderun Colleges Student Chapter Leaders Network with Global Peers
Last March 11, the newly revived Enderun Colleges Student Chapter was invited to the Virtual Networking for Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Chapter Leaders webinar. Hosted by Aletheia Tan, a PATA Youth Ambassador, this event was a gathering of students from different PATA Student Chapters for a chance to meet one another, establish connections, and discuss future projects. From fellow Asian countries like Lombok, Indonesia to farther places like Queensland, Australia, or even Gironda, Spain, there was a wide range of people all gathered together in one Zoom Meeting for this two-session event. The event was attended by some students from Enderun namely, Erica Beato, Nicole Chua, Eunkyu Chun, Michella Dib, Ica Dy, Jose Garcia, Samuel Gloria, Mikhail Nierras, Louise Rivera, and Archellaine Panganiban.
The event started with a quick icebreaker game where the students were given trivia questions about the PATA organization to answer. After, the group was split off into breakout rooms for 30 minutes to network with each other. Each room contained four to five participants and the organizers also made sure that no members from the same Chapter were together to get everyone to mingle.
Everyone had their own unique experience in the breakout room and shared the following regarding their experience, how they felt, or what they learned.
“It was a very interesting and insightful event because when I joined the breakout room I got the chance to meet with different students who have various personalities. Rupesh Magar from India, Annie Vergara from Mindanao, and Jewel Rilloraza from Baguio were my teammates and each one of them comes from different backgrounds and cultures. This [event] was great for networking and gaining collaborations from Student Chapters as well as having a platform to come together as hoteliers and share insights and knowledge. My conversation with Rupesh Magar was very detailed as we talked about our economic situation due to the pandemic, opportunities in our respective colleges, and exchanged advice as well.” – Michella Dib
“The event had students from various countries: Philippines, Singapore, India, Japan, Australia, Korea, and others. I was able to meet students from the Philippines, Singapore, India, and Spain. Due to the time difference, two of our members had to leave for work, so we were left with 4 people including myself. We introduced ourselves and the activities that we do in each Student Chapter. Some of them were already able to hold international webinars. While in the room, we added each other on Instagram and Linkedin. We also talked about inviting each other to events that we will hold in the future.” –Eunkyu Chun
“Attending this event with so many different students was really interesting and exciting. I also had the chance to meet a student whose Student Chapter was just starting much like ours so it was great to relate to them. I also met some students with more established Chapters so I gained some valuable advice from them about how to get started with your Chapter. Aside from that, learning to network to expand your connections is a necessary skill to build nowadays and events like these are great opportunities to practice.” –Erica Beato
“This is a networking event where we get to meet different people. One has to get over the initial awkward silence to be able to connect to people more. First impressions matter. You can go crazy and be yourself after you have established some sense of trust. It’s very interesting to meet new people from different parts of the world who are active in their Student Chapters. It’s also inspiring to hear their stories.” –Nicole Chua
“Establishing connections with like-minded individuals all around the world and having the opportunity to listen to their current School Chapter activities made me realize the importance of having a good network for collaboration and learning. Aside from the plans for collaborations, we had the chance to share things that have been keeping us busy and the current COVID-19 situation in our respective countries, and how it affects our studies. Overall, it was an insightful event that brought new perspectives and connections.” –Jose Garcia
“I was in a room with [students from a] diverse Student Chapters from Australia, India, Korea, and Indonesia and the majority are majors in Tourism Management. Moreover, each of us had different positions within our Chapters, which was a good way for us to communicate and share what each role does and accomplishes. We also discussed our previous and upcoming projects from a local and international setting. Some of their projects include “collecting rubbish on campus” and recycling them (Australia), projects for incoming students (Indonesia), and webinar sessions such as professors discussing the troubles in the travel industry this pandemic (India and Korea). India is one of the most active Student Chapters.” – Archellaine Panganiban
“My PATA experience was great. I learned so much about the Student Chapters of the other students from different countries. They have shared about what their student chapter is all about such as sustainability projects, tourism conferences, and collaborations with other schools too. This has pushed me to become active in our Student Chapter. Enderun can start partnering up with other schools to start different projects and further improve sustainability practices of the school.” –Ica Dy
“The breakout room [I was in] was culturally diverse as there were people from Macau, Vietnam, United Kingdom, India, and the Philippines. At first, I did not know what to do inside the breakout room, but I decided to treat the session like a casual chat. So instead of getting to know their plans for their PATA [Student Chapters], I got to know them instead and led the session. Once we got to know each other, everyone started asking for advice regarding ideas of sustainable tourism from one another. The experience was wholesome and laid-back which made me comfortable with the people in the room.” –Samuel Gloria
“There’s always that unknown factor when meeting folks from all walks of life. With the peers I’ve met, we had common goals in mind. It was quite the insightful experience to hear their takes and perspective of these situations we both experience.” –Mikhail Nierras
“I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity to attend PATA’s Virtual Networking for Student Chapter Leaders. It was such an amazing experience to meet a diverse set of students from all over the world – their heart for tourism, sustainability, and giving back to the community is something that I truly admire.” –Louise Rivera
Looking at all the different experiences coming from the students, it is clear that a lot of connections have been made between Enderun and the rest of the PATA Student Chapters. As future hospitality professionals, it is also beneficial to learn how other countries have been doing to keep their tourism industry afloat and how we can apply it here. Aside from that, with the pandemic preventing face-to-face events from happening, it has become tougher to really build connections with people outside of your country. It can also make us miss those big events where you can mingle and meet new people. However, virtual networking events like this can keep us connected while waiting for the days where we can meet in person. It can be the beginning of relationships and friendships that can progress until the world is back to normal and we can meet one another for real.