Guide training program – week 1 and week 2

The first two weeks of guide training program is over and I am really surprised to see the quality of education here. The institute is very nice, the professors are very helpful and friendly. On the first day of the training they just introduced the institute and the professors to the participants. They talked about the swine flu as well. They told us about the symptoms of swine flu and asked us to take care of our health. They said that if anybody had any symptoms of swine flu, they may contact a particular department at the institute which would take the students to the government hospital and would take care of the student.

All of the professors here are just amazing. They go to foreign universities every year to teach. The teachers at the schools and the university I went to were crazy; they were very strict teachers but here all the professors are very friendly. They use a lot of technology. All of them have laptops which they bring in the classroom and show the powerpoint presentations through a projector. The training was supposed to talk place at the institute but they changed the place because they did not have any AC room available in the institute. The AC rooms were busy with other programs.

They have hired a hotel conference room for our training which has AC. The participants are divided into four batches- A,B,C and D. The batch A and B take training in the morning session which starts from 10 and ends at 2 and the batch C and D get training in the second session which starts from 2.15 and ends at 6.15. I am in the second batch. Over 95% of the participants of the program are experienced unauthorized guides. I am the only one in my batch who has never worked with any travel agency. A few participants are over 55 years old.

Every time before the training starts, the professors say that the participants might have better knowledge than them so if there is anything that participants don’t agree with, they may tell it to the professors. Our professors are not only from IITTM but they come from different universities and institutions of India. Everyday we have a different professor to give lecture on a different subject. The institute tells that a tour guide is a living encyclopedia so he must have knowledge of everything and that is why they are inviting experts of different fields from different places in India to give lecture.

Our training is for North India but there were professors who gave us lecture about west, south and other regions of India. I liked all the classes but there were two classes that were just crazy. One of them was about Indian astrology and other one was about menu planning in hotels. The astrology class could have been interesting if the professor had given a lecture about basics of the Indian astrology but he teaching us the things that are taught after one or two years of attending the astrology classes. He was more concerned about his marketing. He was telling about what color favors a person, what color is bad, what stone one should wear, when to wear… and then finally he gave us his business card and said that if anybody wanted to contact him for their personal problem, they could meet him in Rajasthan at his office.

I just really did not understand the need to give classes about menu planning in the hotel. It could have been an interesting class if he would have taught us about the hotel culture but he was teaching about how hotels plan their menu, what do they think while planning the menu, how hotels make money from their restaurant… I don’t know but I did not like that class and not only me none of the participants in the class understood why we were taught about menu planning. They are teaching us about everything- different segments of tourism, different religions, cultures, cuisine, IT in tourism, tourism industry in India and abroad…

Something that was very interesting to me was a segment of tourism which is gay and LGBT tourism. I did not know about this tourism but it seemed very interesting to me. All the participants will be given six weeks of classroom teaching, one week of orientation tour and then the participants will have to do field work for nine weeks in their area on a particular subject. I have thought to do my field work on gay and LGBT tourism because no other student is going to do it and it is a very good opportunity for me to relate my research with guide training program.

The professors here know about a lot of social issues and they are educating us about it. They talk about Coca-Cola issue, environmental issues, water issues, women rights… One of our classes was about how to use IT in tourism and they taught us about blogging. Before starting the class, the professor asked us about our expectation from the class and different people asked for different things like emailing, blogging, web-designing but I already knew about these things so I asked about search engine optimization and of course he did not tell me about it.

I think the reason behind him not telling me about search engine optimization was that all the participants hardly know about emailing and he did not want to talk about search engine optimization in front of the people who did not know much about Internet. But the class was fun, I was enjoying it. The coordinator of the program was telling that we should be proud that we are provided such training because in the past training programs they could not even organize 20 classes but this year they have to planned to organize at least 75 classes on different subjects. I am enjoying the training and really looking forward for my research about LGBT tourism in Benares.

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