Shelly Silva, University of Hawai’i Maui College Hospitality & Tourism graduate and 2013 Valedictorian recently returned from a six month international internship in China. When Shelly learned of the internship at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Shanghai, she knew immediately that it was an incredible opportunity to gain professional experience and use the skills she acquired at UHMC. The 5-star boutique hotel, Urbn Hotels Shanghai, is the first “carbon neutral hotel” in China.

China1“China is a fascinating place to work and live both culturally, socially and linguistically. I returned with a wealth of knowledge gained from my overseas work experience and built professional friendships that will last a lifetime,” says Shelly upon returning to Maui. Pudong is Shanghai’s newest district on the eastern side of the Huangpu River, a Special Economic zone full of gleaming skyscrapers rising out of what was farmland only 15 years ago.

As a management trainee, Shelly was charged with the position of Hilton HHonors Coordinator sharing with Hilton guests the hotel’s brand promise: “To provide the special comforts and acts of kindness that make the traveler feel human again.” Shelly says she worked with professionals at all levels of the firm and fine-tuned her leadership and management skills while under their tutelage. Shelly

“This experience changed my life” Shelly said.

Current UHMC HOST and Culinary Arts students who are motivated to experience an internship experience abroad can contact Liping Liu, Ph.D. CHE, Hospitality & Tourism faculty member and Director of China Programs (808) 984-3328. Those looking for an exciting career in hospitality and tourism, one of Hawai’i’s key industries, can contact Lorelle Peros at UHMC to learn more about the HOST program (808) 984-3343 or visit