Published in eTurboNews

Honolulu—Three students attending the Macau University of Science and Technology have started a blog in Chinese about Hawaii as part of a six week internship at PacRim Marketing Group, Inc. and PRTech, LLC.

Carrying cameras, cell phones, and with easy access to computers, Lou Jie (Jackie) and He Ping (Freda), originally from Shanghai, and Jiang Ji (Maggie) from the nearby province of Jiangsu, have already blogged in Chinese about their trip to the Polynesian Cultural Center, shrimp on a stick from Kahuku, the beauty of the islands, and other first impressions, being that this is their first visit to Hawaii.  “After watching American Idol, we can see that Hawaii is different from the rest America,” said Jackie.  All three agree that they can understand why people want to come to Hawaii and what some of the roadblocks are for the Chinese.

The students are part of the AIPT (Association of International Practical Training) program, which has sent a total of 58 students from their University to the United States to get practical training.  Twelve are in Hawaii. “Each trainee has been assigned to a different area of the company,” said Dave Erdman, president and CEO of PacRim Marketing Group, Inc. and PRTech, LLC.  

“We’ve tried to match their interests and background to each of our business units, making them a good addition to our existing Chinese staff of specialists in advertising, marketing communications, and online travel reservations.

“They are providing our company and clients with a fresh, youthful, cultural perspective on Hawaii tourism and how to reach the Chinese.”  

Freda says China’s new and friendlier visa policies, enabling group tours to the U.S. and advertising and promoting in China, will help with tourism to Hawaii from China.  The students noted the friendliness of the people, good food, beautiful scenery and flowers as things that stand out about Hawaii.  

While the students provide a multicultural perspective for PacRim’s and PRTech’s marketing clientele and gain U.S. business experience to assist with their schooling and careers, Erdman sees even greater value in the trainee program.  “The students are helping PacRim and PRTech connect with other individuals at Macau University of Science and Technology and associates in the region; they also provide insight into how the destination of Macau is attracting visitors.”

PacRim Marketing Group has offered internship programs since it started in 1990, helping students with interest or background in Asian markets from U.S. colleges and from overseas.  Last summer, PacRim Marketing Group had five interns from U.S. colleges.  Erdman says it can be challenging for staff to devote attention to training them, especially during a slow economy.  Despite this, Erdman, who studied abroad as a student, says cross cultural learning experiences are priceless and these types of internships and training programs are a win-win situation for both parties.

AIPT approached PacRim Marketing Group last December after reading about its summer internship programs, and asked to have PacRim host the trainees from Macao.  Timing worked perfectly, according to Erdman, who already had a business trip planned for Macao, during which time he could interview the students.  “I was unable to choose just one of the three students, as they were all skilled and I felt they could work and learn in different areas of the company.

“My hope is that, if we give them a positive environment in which to work and learn, the students will go back as ambassadors for Hawaii and our companies.”