When you think of Mickey Mouse, a huge smile normally breaks out on your face. However, Jocelyn Neo from the School of Business started to “cry like a child” when the animated mascot gave her a kiss at the renowned Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
Joceyln added: “I grew up watching Disney cartoons and was always intrigued by these characters. It was a really strange moment when the mascot at the theme park planted a kiss on my cheek and I just began to cry! Strange because I saw Mickey Mouse at the Tokyo Disneyland but this time out, I think it was just the fact that I was seeing Mickey Mouse right here in Florida and I was overwhelmed with emotions.”
The soon-to-be graduate from the Diploma in Hospitality & Tourism Management(HTM) was one of four students who traveled to the state of Florida in the United States for her Overseas Student Internship Program(OSIP) with Walt Disney World.
While most overseas internships would cause nervousness in students, Jocelyn was cooing eagerly for it to come quickly.
Speaking to Kelvin Leong, she explained: “ It was one of those things in life where you count down to the departure day and wish for it to come faster. I was probably the least prepared amongst the four of us going to Florida and there was some slight confusion as to what we will be working as there. However, once we settled in, I was given a role to work at the Contempo Café at the Contemporary Resort.”
“My OSIP was one of the best things that I could have dreamed of. I liked my work there and every single day, I was excited and really looked forward to work. Work felt like play and I enjoyed every moment of it. Working was playing to me because when you get to learn new things and meet different people from all walks of life on a daily basis, it doesn’t feel like a chore.”
When asked to describe her best memories of her internship in Florida, her face glowed as she reminisced two occasions she holds dearly to her heart. The first was being invited for thanksgiving dinner with at her colleague’s home and the second was a story that showed how well she bonded with the resort guests.
“There was this Spanish family who were on a 10-day holiday at Disney and they would eat breakfast or dinner at Contempo café every day. Each time they came, they would always ask for me but on the last day, they left without saying goodbye! I was really puzzled as to why they didn’t bother to bid me farewell despite the friendship fostered.
“A few weeks later, the family came back and I decided to ask the father why they came back. His reply was a heartwarming one as he said that his kids told him they haven’t said their goodbyes to me yet and that was the reason they came back to spend a few more days at the resort. I was like wow!” chirped the affable HTM student.
The former Dunman High student was in the Integrated Programme(IP) where she completed Year 5 before making the decision to join Temasek Poly in April 2010.
Jocelyn also went on to become an integral part of her CCA group, the Pacesetters who were tasked with ambassadorial roles when important guests visit the campus. She became President of the Pacesetters from 2011 to 2012 and was part of the team who played hosts to VIPs like former Minister, Mr George Yeo amongst others.
The Tampines resident was quick to single out how life in the past three years has been like as a TP student and also how her time here will go on to help her carve a successful career in the near future.
She said: “HTM was my first. I don’t think I came in knowing what I signed up for but I knew this was the course I wanted. Along the way, there were modules which I didn’t quite understand but the course managers patiently explained why and how these modules will help me gain a better foothold in the industry. In year two, one of the subjects called Service Skills Methodology where we had to work at the SugarLoaf bakery, that was one of my favourite subjects because it gave me an opportunity to see how service works on the ground.
“When I was young, I will always cry when I speak to people of authority. One good example was when I visited a pet shop with my dad and the burly shop assistant approached me, I just started crying! But now, it is all so different. I love talking to people and getting to know more about what they do and their lives. So I must say, these three years here at TP have really been a breakthrough for me. I am now armed with the skillset and knowledge to be a successful person within the industry in future.”
Just weeks away from graduation, Jocelyn already has her sight set on a place in the National University of Singapore, with sociology the most likely destination. With a GPA of 3.76, we hope this sparkling bright girl gets her wish to further her studies locally.
Keen to pursue a similar pathway as Jocelyn? Read more about TP’s Diploma in Hospitality & Tourism Management here!