Trip to Switzerland an unforgettable experience

They got to enjoy a nine-day trip to Switzerland, soaking in the sights and checking out their best hotels.

But it was no vacation.

Goh Shi Wei and Yap Chin Yee, both 19 and second year Tourism and Leisure Facilities Management students at Singapore Polytechnic, were part of a group of 40 students who went to Switzerland as part of a study trip last September.

The well-known hospitality of the Swiss was an unforgettable learning experience for the students.

They visited many hotels in the Swiss cities of Zurich, Lucerne, Zermatt, Bern and Geneva to study their operations.

Said Shi Wei: "Most hotels in Switzerland are family-owned and run on a smaller scale, which is the main difference from Singapore's.

"But their hospitality skills are amazing and the hotels were run very efficiently."

The students were also impressed by the professionalism of the staff members.

Said Chin Yee: "The managers and general managers were very friendly and shared their experiences with us.

"Most of them started at the bottom of the ladder and are very hardworking. They would step in to help out with the operations whenever the hotel is short of staff."

The students also visited the IHTTI School of Hotel Management, a short distance away from Bern, the Swiss capital.

It is one of the most successful hotel management schools in the country.

Said Chin Yee: "We sat in for one of their classes. I really enjoyed the interaction with the students and lecturers. The lessons were easy to understand and interesting."

Learning aside, students also managed to squeeze some time for shopping and sightseeing.

"We really wished that we could extend the trip," said Chin Yee.

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