Students offered theme park experience

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 April, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 12 April, 1999, 12:00am

Students at the Polytechnic University are gearing up to work for Disney - either in Hong Kong or in the United States.

The university will soon invite applications for a scheme under which students can spend a year with Walt Disney.

It is expected the response will be particularly keen because of the Government's recent negotiations aimed at acquiring a Disney park for Hong Kong.

Department of hotel and tourism management lecturer Terry Lam Chun-yen, who is responsible for the scheme, said students were happy Hong Kong might have its own Disney park.

'If we really have such a park, our students will surely benefit,' he said. 'We may have to increase our student intake to meet the manpower demand in the market. I'm sure our graduates will be at an advantage.' He said some graduates had worked for Disney through a cultural exchange programme launched a decade ago.

Under the scheme, graduates work for a year at Disney World in Florida.

Evita Yung Lam Chun-yen, 23, returned last summer after spending a year at Epcot park in Orlando. Including overtime payments, she earned about US$1,400 (HK$10,836) a month.

'Of course it's not the money, it's the experience I treasure most,' she said.

'I didn't know about the programme when I first joined the university. For me, Disney was only a place to play, never have I thought of working there.' Ms Yung, now a tourism researcher, said she sold Disney gifts with 'ambassadors' from other countries.

'It's more than selling gifts,' she said. 'We had to greet visitors and answer their inquiries.

'It's great fun. Everyone in the park smiles almost all the time, including both the staff and visitors.

'I learned how to deal with people from different nationalities. It's like a big family. I really hope Hong Kong will have such a park and such a smiling culture will be brought here.

'A Disney park will not only bring economic benefits, but also change our working culture.' Department head Dr Ray Pine said Disney-experienced graduates would give Hong Kong a significant advantage in attracting the company.