Igor Travels Abroad

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


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A Day in my Life as an HIM Student

(above picture of me and my best friend having lunch break)

Hello everyone,

This week has been a blast yet again and even better, the sun has finally emerged and the rain has passed…time to wear shorts and t-shirts again!

School is going well too and busy as always working on all my different projects, but it’s very fun and boy am I gaining a lot of knowledge. This week alone I learned a few new programming languages, handled successes and rejections with surveying businesses and communities and read a few books on different subjects.

Classes were cool and we even did an excursion to a local communications company. We presented our own countries and apparently I won a prize to meet a local Swiss family, have an operative with them and talk to them more about the USA. USA represent! 😀

I wanted to keep this blog writing short, because I recorded a short video for you that was also featured on the school’s Instagram page…. I hope you enjoy it and get a cool sneak peak as to a day in my life as a student here in Switzerland.

I can’t wait for this weekend and next week. Friday, we are having Tropical theme night with beer pong, karaoke and student bar and this weekend we are taking a trip to Europa Park, which will be amazing. It is one of the largest and best roller coaster parks in Germany and it’s going to be a blast.

Anyway… now off to do some more homework and get to bed. It’s getting late and I gotta wake up early tomorrow!

Have a great day and look forward to updating you next week on the great things ahead.

Igor


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Exams, Friends and Mid-Term Break

The title is quite self-explanatory and this past week I had exams…nine to be precise.

First up on Friday, we had Italian night at Hotel Institute Montreux. The school loves to prepare fun events that focus not only on studying, but also having fun while doing so. The pizza was very yummy.

Afterwards, I had a very good weekend seeing my friend Shishir again from SHMS, my previous university, who is studying a bachelor in hospitality as well. We went to get some food and hot chocolate, since the past week has been cold and rainy then went to watch the Avengers: Endgame together. It was really fun and we had a blast.

After the fun, it was time for exams and school work though. I did handle all of them quite well and had to recap what we have learned the past 4 weeks on a formal exam.

The education so far has been very rewarding. I know I have talked about the cool things we do each week and it’s nice, but this university truly does stand out. More specifically, this week was a good summary of what I have learned so far and it is a lot. More importantly, it was learned through action, from principles of management class, where we conducted interview and surveys with students to understand leadership in the 21st century, to acting as mystery guests infiltrating local business to better understand how they market local tourist attractions to even dressing up as Africans to promote our 80 person banqueting event with the theme, A Wild Jungle Night in Africa.

(Our entertainment team promoting our event through the classrooms 😀 )

If that’s not enough, we are designing a resort concept for a 200 day world-cruise with our team, in another class a hotel and outlining operations and defending case-studies. All in all, school is very action oriented and fast-paced.

Back to exams, they went very well. I felt good at what I was doing. I do feel I can absolutely do much better though and will be working even harder for the next 5 weeks coming up. Many projects will be due and this is the time to start doubling down and working.

I prepare for my exams above, such as Principles of Management presentation, where my college and I interviewed over 63 students at age of 19-23 doing internships in Europe to collect and compile intriguing data as to student’s perspectives on leadership and management in the 21st century. We aimed at implementing over 9 management theories by famous managerial experts and theorists, giving us insight as to how we can become better leaders in today’s world.

After all the exams, we now have a weekend and long break (Thursday until next Monday). Many students are escaping the rainy and cold Montreux weather to warm places, such as renting a villa in Ibiza, sun-tanning at Lake Como in Italy or enjoying tapas in Spain.

What am I doing? I think the usual stuff I do, which is probably the exact opposite of everyone else. I’m waking up at 5AM and working out  at the gym. I had a personal trainer before I came to Switzerland so following my routines. Today was triceps, back and legs day.

Afterwards, I spent the day organizing my room, going shopping and taking care of chores, then really digging deep and doing some life and time management planning. I think these are the best times to get clear on purpose, bigger goals and life and what am I heading towards, whereas when school is going on, it’s very difficult to do so. I’m re-learning Tony Robbins, Time of Your Life, which throws conventional time management into the garbage and is a profound and new way to be able to not only achieve more, but also have more fulfillment doing so. I read Grant Cardone’s book 10X today as well and started on Think and Grow Rich.

Last but not least, I am, most importantly, working on my school projects this weekend to have excellent progress towards my final exams. I want to ensure I do an outstanding job and give it my absolute best effort.

Tomorrow, I will visit my friends and colleagues in Gstaad Palace, where I did my previous internship and will share those next week.

For now, have a great night and thanks again for reading. Talk soon and my best regards,

Igor

PS: If you or you know a friend who is interested in studying abroad, especially business and hospitality at my school, download this absolutely free brochure about Hotel Institute Montreux https://www.hotelinstitutemontreux.com/en/form/brochure

 


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My Internship at Gstaad Palace – Home Away From Home

I know that I should have kept my blog up the past few months but they have been so busy that I really didn’t have the time or energy to do so.

Now that my internship is coming to a close for my studies and I have a day off, I wanted to sit down and write about my internship. It really has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life so far and now being at the train station looking up at the majestic Gstaad palace glimmering in the backdrop of the Swiss Alps, I really now begin to realize how much I will really miss it.

The past few months I have really grown close to the Palace, to my team, and my amazing coworkers and leadership who have taught me so much about not only business and hotels but also life, how to treat others and the real definition of responsibility, proper hard work and true hospitality.

I have had my ups and downs, my struggles and challenges and also highs and elated moments where I did an amazing job and life was great, which I will share. But overall, it was truly life changing. So in a nutshell, here is my synopsis and story of my internship in Gstaad, working in a Palace in the heart of the Alps, just out of a winter wonderland fairytale. Let’s begin!

I am studying international business and hospitality management with a focus on finance at Hotel Institute Montreux

Studies in Switzerland are very practical as they require a semester of school where one learns the theory and practical side of hospitality such as how it all works “on the books” and in the classroom. We even learned how to make our own hotel and restaurant and actually did it out first semester! Then comes the real world, where we separate from our friends and find internships anywhere in the world to learn the practical side of hospitality and work for 4-6 months. It is a hard, difficult process with tough hours, minimum pay, and yet one learns so much and really sees the theory in action and uses it.

Due to an amazing circumstance of events, I somehow was lead to finding my internship. More specifically, I had a coffee with our previous Airbnb host from Switzerland named Monika, one of the most incredible, kind and hospitable persons I have ever met. If you ever do travel to Switzerland, you definitely have to come to her cottage La Tranquille overlooking the beautiful waters of lake Geneva and majestic Swiss alps.

She told me about this amazing, almost magical place in Gstaad which I was awestruck by. After our conversation, I immediately called HR and applied and within a week and after visiting, I had the job. I would be working as a front office agent for one the most prestigious hotels in Switzerland and of the world. Gstaad Palace is also one the last privately owned and operated hotels in Switzerland of its stature.

I started in November and learned how to run a reception and finances for over a month and a half before the winter season began. Since Gstaad Palace is a privately owned hotel and also seasonal, we opened our winter season on December 21, 2018. Before this, I learned the basics, how to do check-ins, check-outs, meet standards and do financial accounting and balance the books as well as many other things.

The cool season began with a hot start, with Nile Rodgers and Chic coming to the Palace and preforming for our guests. Christmas was nearly there, snow was falling, and the landscape transformed into a winter wonderland of snow with the white palace walls beaming down overlooking the town of Gstaad.

Guests of every stature and walks of life came, from near and far to enjoy drinks by the fireplace in the lobby bar, or dine at our authentic restaurants and experience the Palace first hand. Additionally, they came to party at the Green Go, our famous or should I say infamous night club. Finally, many enjoyed authentic fondue and raclette in our Fromagerie, once a World War 2 bunker that housed Switzerland’s gold.

Families came where we already prepared Christmas trees for them and decorated for Santa’s arrival and the Palace was full of life and joy. I felt like I was living in a fairytale. Christmas and New Years was incredible. Us trainees decorated the Palace and transformed it into our theme “Arabian Nights”

I quickly learned how to work with others, smile, and deliver an incredible experience to our guests to make them come back time and time again while doing my best to learn the ropes of what it really takes to handle a reception and finances and be responsible for my job. I found a movie from the palace and attached it below.

I have many memorable stories that will last a life time from the Palace, but my favorite would have to be to see the family tradition of the Palace come to life again and again and be passed from generation to generation. One guest that I checked in came with his mom and dad, his wife, and daughter. His mom brought him to the Palace growing up and now he was bringing his daughter. 3 generations of family tradition in a place that stays still to the ever changing and hectic world, where people come to finally have a breath of fresh mountain air, relax and feel truly at home. That is the Palace tradition and it is like a second-home and family atmosphere.

Even the leadership treated us like family. For example, even the owner / general manager and vice director invited us to have lunch together and get to know me and my other colleagues more.

I loved my internship from day one to now. My colleagues are the most incredible people I have met and their kindness, instruction, knowledge, humor and teamwork brought me closer everyday. From having the most amazing boss to incredible teams from the Concierge, Guest Relations, Sales and Marketing, Food and Beverage, Room Service, Housekeeping and so many more, I will ever be grateful for the short but most sweet time I had.

Of course there were hard days, and days when I made mistakes. There were days where I wanted to take the sheets and pull them over my head and go back to bed, yet I did anyway. And it was so worth it.

Thank you Gstaad. Thank you guests. Thank you team. It was amazing!

Now, I will go home on vacation with my family on an incredible cruise in the Gulf of Mexico and be back in April, refreshed, alive and ready to start a new chapter of my life: Year 2 of business and hospitality school at the incredible Hotel Institute Montreux, located on the beautiful waters of Lake Geneva.

Many adventures await so make sure you are subscribed and stay tuned for the future.I promise to keep my blog much more active now and keep you updates with my amazing travels, adventures and journeys more often, as I did when I did my CBYX exchange program. (:

What is a situation that recently challenged you or has been rewarding for you in your life? Leave your comments below.

Until soon and take care.

Yours Sincerely,

Igor

PS: I recently ran to the top of a mountain and was able to capture this photo. I think it’s very nice and wanted to share it.