A group of 28 Macao students in tertiary education, including 11 IFT students, took part in the 2019 Tianjin Exchange Programme for Macao University Students, the fifth edition in the series of annual programmes.
The programme lasted 16 days, ending on 23 June. Its purpose was to teach Macao students more about the culture and history of Mainland China and particularly the northern city of Tianjin, and to prompt cultural exchanges. The students were also briefed on the development of tourism in Tianjin.
The leading proponent of the programme is Mr. Edmund Ho Hau Wah, Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. The programme is jointly organised by the Committee for Liaison with Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and Overseas Chinese of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Macao SAR, the Tianjin Municipal Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, as well as the Macao Foundation, and co-organised by IFT and the College of Tourism and Service Management of Nankai University in Tianjin.
The students that took part in the 2019 programme came from the University of Macau, the Macao Polytechnic Institute, IFT, the Macau University of Science and Technology, and the City University of Macau.
The students visited many famous landmarks in Tianjin. Among the visitors was IFT fresh graduate Ursula Fang, the holder of a bachelor’s degree in Tourism Retail and Marketing Management. She says she took part in the programme to learn about culture in Tianjin.
“I was impressed by the scale of the Tianjin Museum,” Ursula says. “It is a 5-storey building, each floor displaying themed collections or holding special exhibitions.”
Thomas Hong, who studies Tourism Event Management at IFT, says that the visitors had a wide variety of things to do, including sporting and musical activities, and museum visits. Thomas highlights the visits to places of historical interest: “We had lessons right on the spot,” he says. “We could see at first hand the places we were being taught about.”
He was surprised that so many Tianjin people visit the museums in their city. He believes such behaviour can help the development of tourism in a city.
Thomas and Ursula both say their time in Tianjin improved their appreciation of how to introduce the culture of a place to visitors, and that it taught them more about protecting the heritage of a place.
“Students in Macao have a lot of resources, and we have opportunities to go outside, to have exchanges with other people,” says Thomas. He states such experiences help participants understand the differences between Macao and other places, and help them broaden their social networks.
Ursula says: “It was really a precious opportunity.” She adds the programme expanded the horizons of the students, putting them in a better position to plan their careers. Such exchange programmes should be advertised more, Ursula suggests, so more Macao students can benefit from them.