Interview with DITI graduate Chen Qing

Hundreds of thousands of Chinese people now visit Dubai each year and among them is DITI graduate Chen Qing, who is not just a tourist but is now promoting the Emirate in the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing of Dubai.

Chen talks below about her experiences of the DITI course and what she has been doing since her graduation.

Where did you study before applying to DITI?
I graduated with a Bachelor degree from Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU) in 2013. Before that, I was an exchange student at Taiwan Soochow University in 2011, and a summer student at the University of Hong Kong in 2012.

When you graduated from university, you already had an offer from a graduate school, so what made you apply for DITI?
DITI wasn’t part of my original plan, and in fact I had seen the press release inviting applications for the programme back in 2012 (when they were recruiting their first intake) but didn’t apply as I was still in my third year and felt it was a long way from my life at the time, plus I was still in year three and had never actually touched a horse!

However, six months later, I saw a new advert inviting a second group of applicants when I was preparing my application for my Masters study. I felt more open to new opportunities by then and thought this could be a fantastic life experience. So I had a go and sent in my application form.

Were your family and friends supportive of you applying to the programme?
I wasn’t very sure myself about this unknown overseas internship programme and had little knowledge of the industry. Then I spoke to Jack Zhuang, one of my SYSU alumni, who was with DITI in the US at the time. Even though we had never met, he spent an hour and half on the phone to explain the whole programme and tell me about his own experience. From the conversation, I could tell that DITI was a trustworthy, interesting but challenging internship, which was exactly what I was looking for.

My family were less than keen for me to join the DITI programme. My father believed it wouldn’t contribute to my professional career, while my mother worried about a 21-year old girl going abroad to work on a stud farm. But my friends were very supportive. I was lucky to study in a free and open environment in SYSU, where half of my classmates exchanged abroad to countries including US, UK, Germany, and Denmark, or even taking a gap year to Korea or South East Asia. The dean from my college encouraged us to explore and experience. So I knew I wouldn’t be considered unusual if I chose DITI rather than a world-famous university for my masters study.

What have you learnt during DITI?
Of course we learned how to take good care of thoroughbred horses. Without DITI, I wouldn’t have been able to stay at a stud farm, spend time with horses every day, and even though the work was tough, I fell in love with them.

Another important point was that I had broadened my vision. During the internship, I had the chance to learn the breeding and horse racing industry and have first-hand contact with the horsemen. Even though it was a 24/7 job, they still enjoyed it. I was always touched by their optimism.

I also learned a great deal about Dubai through DITI. Before joining the programme, my only impression of Dubai was the luxury Burj Al Arab and the wild desert. During my trip to Dubai with DITI, I learned that it is a vibrant city with vast opportunities, somewhere I decided I would like to work.

What was your most memorable experience of the DITI programme?
It was a year full of surprises. I still remembered the excitement when we witnessed Farhh winning his final G1 race before he retired to stud. What I missed the most when I finished was the time I spent with the foals. The first new born foal I took care was a Frankel filly. I was lucky to see a foaling when I first ‘sat up’. After many hours of waiting in cold winter night, it was incredible to welcome a new life into the world, watching it learn how to stand up. Even more beautiful was that this gorgeous foal could run freely in the stud the next day. I also miss my unique fellow interns. My DITI experience was fun and happy with them.

Why did you apply for Dubai Business Internships (DBI) after DITI?
Through DITI’s link with Dubai I had already thought about looking for a job in Dubai before I finished the course.

Dubai won the bid for hosting EXPO 2020 when I visited it for the first time. The whole city was festive and celebrating the big news. I could feel it was a friendly and open city. I was particularly interested in Emirates Airline’s sports sponsorship. Unfortunately there weren’t any positions available, so when DBI opened for application, it was natural for me to apply.

Tell us about your experience with DBI?
DBI was very different from DITI. Business academic modules, placements with Dubai’s global leading companies and cultural experience are the three key components of the course. I was very lucky to join both DITI and DBI programme.

Tell us about your current job.
I am now working for Dubai Calendar, a division of the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) that promotes leisure events in Dubai. I am involved with all the big events that happen in the city, for example organising the football match between Real Madrid C.F. and AC Milan, attending traditional camel racing, or creating a monthly Event Guide.

Promotion of the Dubai World Cup is also an important part of my job, because 60% of the race day attendees are international visitors.

How does your DITI experience help you with your current job?
I am sure I wouldn’t have been interested in Dubai without my DITI experience, never mind live and work in here.

Do you still follow the horse racing industry?
Yes. I still follow the racing industry through the Racing Post and social media. I pay close attention to Godolphin, and hope to see one of the foals that I took care of run in the famous royal blue silks in the future. Godolphin and #TeamGodolphin are used as an important brand to promote Dubai internationally.

Why would you recommend DITI to others?
DITI was a fantastic journey for me from day one. It is one of the most challenging things I have done and I will never regret it.

What are your suggestions to current and future DITI interns?
Enjoy every moment and make the most of it!

The application for DITI is now open from 21st September to 30th October, if you or your friends is interested in DITI, you could apply on http://www.darleychina.com/zh/dubai-internships/how-to-apply

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