Jincheng (Jaycee) Feng
"The lecturers were truly superb and I felt that the classes, besides being highly academic in nature, were also very practical and applicable to the industry."
What does it mean to you to be chosen as one of Surrey’s Volunteer of the Year Award winners?
It was quite a surprise and honour to receive this award. Although I have always tried my best to volunteer, in whichever capacity that I am able to, whenever the University needs my help, I didn’t think I would be befitting of such an accolade!
Lynal and myself have volunteered at education and recruitment fairs, and engagement and alumni events in Singapore and, whilst it does take a little bit of commitment, it is insignificant compared to the education and opportunities that Surrey has accorded me with.
It is therefore a great honour and privilege to be receiving the inaugural award and I'm appreciative that the University took the effort to recognise our contributions.
What attracted you to choose the University of Surrey and to study here?
I took a scholarship from my previous company and, coming from the hospitality and tourism industry, the choice was clear. I was initially undecided whether to study in the US or Europe, but, as I had previously done an exchange at UC Berkeley, the opportunity to access to all the culture that Europe, specifically London, had to offer was the deal clincher.
As for why Surrey, among the other universities in Europe, it was mainly because it offered the top tourism course in Europe, proximity to London and the international mix of students.
What were the best things about your course?
There are too many of these! But if I had to pick, it would be the quality of my classes and the international mix of students. The lecturers were truly superb and I felt that the classes, besides being highly academic in nature, were also very practical and applicable to the industry.
The international mix of students meant that there were often differing opinions in the classes. I literally had classmates from every part of the world. I learnt a lot about their background and culture and seeing that in play in class every day was very intriguing and refreshing. It opened my eyes to a new dimension, a whole new way to understand and look at things.
How did you change as a person during your time as a Surrey student?
Having worked and live in Singapore for the most of my life, where the pace is hectic and relatively stressful, the ability to reconnect with nature easily was a big plus. I love sports and quickly found a running buddy from Nepal to explore the hills of Surrey in no time. I was also in the Surrey futsal team and most of my teammates were 10 years younger and from different parts of the world, which was very interesting!
Besides being more involved with sports and reconnecting with nature, the international group of people I met at Surrey really opened my mind and gave me a new perspective on life.
What do you enjoy most about your work and why?
I am from the tourism industry and enjoy everything about it. The ability to meet new people from all over the world and the joy from creating everlasting positive memories for our guests are the top things that I enjoy the most. I am a naturally inquisitive person and am passionate about travelling, perhaps that is why I enjoy the above the most.
What are the challenges?
Singapore is a very fast-paced and international city state, where the world meets. This means that we have to ensure that our services and products cater for a wide range of guests, which is inherently very challenging. In addition, everything in Singapore is expected in double quick time, which is also very challenging when it comes to delivering quality services and products in very short lead times.
What are your aspirations/goals for the future?
My aspiration is to start up a social enterprise in Bangkok. I have laid the foundations and anyone reading this who has advice for me in one way or another, please reach out to me!
What is your strongest or happiest memory of your time at Surrey?
By far the time I spent with friends who I have made - exploring each other’s cuisine, culture and thinking. I still keep in contact with them and every now and then, we meet up in some part of the world.
What advice would you give to students looking to work in your field?
Keep an open mind, be inquisitive and stay grounded. The classroom equips you with knowledge but learning is an everyday process and you have to keep improving yourself. In my field of work, the hours are very long and irregular; work hard and you will succeed in your endeavours.