Igor Travels Abroad

"In the end, we only regret the chances we didn't take."

Studying Abroad, Goodbye America and Hello Switzerland

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The Friday before last, I had a blast with my little sister and family. We went rafting at the US National White Water Center, where we hit some big waves and paddled like crazy. It was so much fun and not only did we end up soaked at the end of it, we really had a ton of fun. Afterwards, we went rock climbing and did a lot of other fun things!

After packing my bag, I guess I was ready to depart the following morning. Or was I? Definitely not! Dad took me out to get an amazing American breakfast at First Watch. I had cheese grits, whole wheat bread with fresh jam, the most amazing omelet and their famous, Million Dollar bacon, which is literally bacon topped with maple syrup, cayenne and brown sugar. It is too die for! Afterwards, we headed to the airport. I never like leaving my family so it’s always difficult to say goodbye as well as leaving my home. Nevertheless, it was time and I had to leave.

 I kicked back and relaxed on the airplane and had an apple cider ale and enjoyed the sunset. 

8 hours later, I arrived in Frankfurt and boarded the train to go to Switzerland. I prefer going through Frankfurt, as I usually save $700 or so booking through there and can get some rest and enjoy the quiet ride through the German countryside. Plus, there is a great Starbucks at the Frankfurt airport. 🙂

Either way, a few hours later I arrived in Montreux, where I would be starting school on Monday. I arrived at the reception and was warmly greeted and received by the school. I then went to my dorm room, which was located at the most unusual location, Igor Street (named after Igor Stravinsky).

As I was exhausted, I got some rest and woke up the next day to attend the reception and introduction. There I met my school colleagues, class mates and teachers. I was sincerely impressed by how nice everyone seemed to be at the school and the diversity of the students from all over the world. I got my schedule and got ready for school!


The first day went really great. I met a few of my teachers and they were all very supportive and helping me get adjusted to the new school and classes. Honestly, one of the main reasons why I decided for Hotel Institute Montreux was by how much the staff seems to support the students on their educational journey and also cause them to challenge themselves and become better. And the students are really awesome. Not only did I feel welcome here but also started meeting many great, smart and interesting people my age. Of course, I’ve only been here for 2 weeks now, but so far, it’s only getting better and better. The Swiss culture is still a challenge as places close early and things are pricey and it’s very different from home. Nevertheless, the school has a very international and even somewhat American atmosphere to it and I like it. We even had an ice-breaker where we literally broke huge pieces of ice with a hammer, ate delicious food and got to know one another.

My friend Daniil and I breaking ice together 😀

The courses additionally have been very practical. For example in sales and marketing, our teacher partnered with a local business where we are doing a marketing case study for them to help their marketing efforts. This is really exciting, instead of just sitting in class and only learning theory where one easily forgets the next semester what they learned. Many projects are going to be due, but practical ones, such as organizing an 80 person event for our convention and event class. Overall, I’m taking some great classes such as resort management, financial / managerial accounting, sales and marketing, convention management, principles of management, front office management, operations, information technology management, housekeeping management.

When not at school, I’m busy working out at the local gym (yes, the school even provided a free membership for gym, gym classes, sauna, steam room, etc!) as well as hanging out with my friends which I have very quickly made, doing fun activities around Montreux, playing video games with friends in the student lounge or even walking into the middle of a movie being filmed at the local bar.

There are so many activities and events being organized at the school, it’s hard to keep up with it all. For example, I just completed a Champagne Masterclass organized by the Champagne Society of France and next week we are learning about cigars in another class and real estate by an entrepreneur and many other great things. Overall, I’m still getting used to it all, but I like my school and my classes.

 We even did some very fun activities in class, such as learning about leadership in management class through….legos. You might think that sounds absurd, especially I did at first, but I actually learned something. Our team had a manager, assistant manager and employees. The goal was to have the employees rebuild a lego construction given to us by the teacher by the manager telling the assistant manager who would tell the employees what to build. The catch is, no pictures were allowed and only the manager could see the lego build. What would seem like child’s play, was not so easy, if very challenging. Simple assignments like these were really fun but also challenged our communication and made us think critically and creatively on how to come up with solutions.

My favorite part as well is that our class sticks together for all the different lectures and subjects taught. This is awesome not only because I have an amazing class, but also because we get to know each other better and really become a team. It’s a truly awesome education and I’m loving every minute of it.

I’m now going to go enjoy my Easter weekend, after a long week at school and can’t wait for Monday. Stay tuned until next week, I can’t wait to update you on some amazing new activities, pictures and possibly travels on the weekend!

Have a wonderful Easter weekend and talk soon!


Author: Igor Miller

A passionate Swiss hotelier with a love for adventure, entrepreneurship, experiencing cultures and people.

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