UTM Around the World

A network for the future

Lexi Wang (second from left) visits the ancient town of Tongli in the province of Jiangsu during her internship, in the company of UNESCO expert Art Pedersen (centre)
中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

UNESCO’s World Heritage Institute of Training and Research for the Asia and Pacific Region (WHITR-AP) recently took on IFT Heritage Management undergraduate Lexi Wang as an intern in its base in Shanghai. Lexi says the internship gave her the chance to meet people working in heritage management and to develop new skills.

“It was an opportunity to establish relations and a network in the field of heritage management,” she says. “I could also see how different people approach issues from different viewpoints; for instance, how foreign experts think versus how Chinese experts think.”

IFT students studying for a bachelor degree are required to undergo a 6-month internship in Year 3. The requirement is unique in tertiary education in Macao. They can opt for placements in Macao or abroad, such as in the United States, France or the Maldives.

Lexi did her internship at WHITR-AP in the second semester of the 2015/16 academic year. She was involved in preparing a training course on sustainable tourism. The course was for staff of heritage sites in the People’s Republic of China. It included lectures, case studies, field trips, group discussions and presentations.

“My colleagues and I invited foreign academics to help design the course and to design the teaching materials. We also invited various managers of tourism destinations or heritage destinations and brought them together to hold the week-long course,” she says. The course was taken by 33 people, including people working at UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Much to learn

WHITR-AP is a non-profit organisation. Its mission is to strengthen implementation of UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention, its website says, by building the capacity of all those professionals and bodies involved with World Heritage Site inscription, protection, conservation and management in the Asia and Pacific region. The organisation says it does this through training, research, the dissemination of information and network-building.

Lexi is pleased she could complete her internship with WHITR-AP. “As a student, the purpose of doing an internship is to learn new things, whether professional knowledge or interpersonal skills, and to get work experience,” she says.

She thinks the People’s Republic of China is the place to pursue her career. She is from Beijing but aims to complete a master degree abroad before considering her next move.

The IFT undergraduate recommends that her fellow students at the Institute take the opportunities IFT offers to do exchanges or internships beyond Macao’s borders. “In Macao, you live within your comfort zone. If you want to experience something different, you should venture out on an exchange or internship,” she says.