Igor Travels Abroad

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

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Studying Abroad, Goodbye America and Hello Switzerland

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!


What Does Travel Give You?

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What Does Travel Give You?


My thoughs being pounded one by one on the keyboard. Why pounded? It’s a German Keyboard.

The past few weeks have been flying by quite fast and I don’t think I really have the time to just be “in the moment”. It almost like a blur of emotions, actions, and feelings rushing by every day and I wish it could be a little slower. Well actually, I don’t know what to think. Sometimes I think, ” Why am I here? What is the point of this?” I could be at home with my best friends doing sports, flying, going to school where I can actually understand everything and get good grades and feel good knowing I am competent in what I am doing. But in the long run, I will hopefully look back on this year abroad and think, ” I actually did that?”

Someone once told me, ” To run a marathon is wonderful for everyone. Afterwards, they feel like they can accomplish anything.” I think I ran too many marathons 😀

Us as human beings always want something better. It is never enough. But the funny thing is, you have all you need around you. We forget the necessities of life such as family, a home, pets, school, and so forth and focus on luxuries, but when we don’t have what we want, we are angry, upset, and want to get it.

In the past three months I have learned to focus  on what I have and be grateful of it. Sometimes in the USA, I would get bored at school and think, “Why do we need to learn this? It’s so stupid!” Or get upset with someone in my family. Or whatever the instance, I was not grateful. But now I am 5000+ miles away from everything I once considered my home. And I miss it. I wish I could go to school and understand and get good grades. I don’t miss it because it is far away, but because I was not that grateful for what I had.

Traveling abroad changes a person. You become more mature, intelligent, confident, and ability to comprehend things that a typical child or you before didn’t understand. It is adventure, guilt, happiness, tears, love, hate, and understanding. I don’t know if you can understand.

I have matured so much in the past few months, I don’t know how I will be like in 7 months from now.

Do I miss the old me?

No, I do not. I am happy for myself that I can fully understand what I didn’t before and the things I do now.

The biggest goal I have conquered in the past 3 months is conquering laziness. Not all of it, but nearly all.

My grandma once told me when I was younger.

She said, ” Igor, when you don’t feel like doing something, do it.”

I asked, “Why?”

“It makes you stronger. It builds your self-discipline. ”

When you are self-disciplined, you have no barriers, nothing stopping you from success. Maybe some faults here and there, but once you get up that agonizing mountain to the top, you are at the top of the world. You look down and literally will know and say, ” I succeeded.”

Well, for me, that is quite literal, because I know I have succeeded when I am piloting a jumbo jet 35,000 feet above the ground, so yes, literally the “top of the world”.

I am sorry, but I will not be writing the book about my exchange year. I have no desire to do it actually. Not laziness, but I don’t want to. Instead, I am writing another book. It’s about how to be happy as a project for Biology.


3 things I have learned about in the past time are:

-Never give up. When life gets hard, push harder, because you are almost there. It’s like reading a book, you know? The plot (hill) keeps going up steeper and steeper, until you literally need to climb up. But that’s where the fun begins. That’s when you know your almost there. And then, you fall off the mountain and SPLAT! Buahaha, no, really. Then you get up there and you are a star (like in the picture).


-Be grateful for what you have. Someone once said to me, “It is the little things in life that mean the most.” Here is a good example: You are in the desert alone for the past two days and don’t see or have anything except for the sand between your feet and the clothes on your back.  Out pops a Genie and says, ” I will grant you one wish. Any wish”

You will then probably say: I want water. Or I want to go home. I want my family. I want to know where I am.

You will probably not say: I want that new BMW from this year. I want to go to Paris and see the Eiffel Tower.

Why not? Because you are focusing on the simple things. And when they are gone, we want them back.  Be grateful for what you  have, because you will not only be happy, you will realize you live in abundance.

– Realize what is around you. This last one is straight forward and I will leave you with something to think about for today.

” Our bad days are someone else’s good days”


Oh, and of course, what have I been doing? What is Germany like? and so on.

Weather:  It get’s dark here are 4:30pm and is bright around 7:30-8 am.

Time: It’s a 6 hour time difference from my home.

Friends: Getting along well with others and made a few friends. They are really cool and have many similar interests as I. They are good, funny, and helpful.

Host Family: is wonderful. Getting along very well, doing activities, and talking. Yesterday, I saw a football, no, soccer game with my host-aunt and uncle. Today, I went mountain biking with my host brother and went to a Chinese restaurant with my Host- Oma and Opa. (Grandma and Grandpa).

Health: Is good. Leg has recovered and feel fine. I try to eat healthy, exercise, go to bed early, read good books, maintain a good sense of humor, and so on. Only problem is acne, but I’m hoping it goes away soon. I don’t like acne. Frankly, I don’t know who does.

School: (GULP) Haha, no, school is wonderful. I learn new things, learn German, and am getting good grades. I changed my insanely hard math class with a easier class I can understand (same as AP Calc.) I look forward to studying and getting a good SAT score when I come home. I also want to go to the Aeronautical University of North Dakota and Major in Commercial Aviation or Aviation Business Management. Don’t worry. I won’t loose my passion for flying anytime soon!

So yep, that’s about it! Please reply and comment with questions and comments, because I would love to help and answer your questions and I feel good when I get comments 🙂 .

Have a wonderful start of a new week! Anything can be possible in the next 7 days,  so make it good!!!

Take care you readers and thanks for doing your job (Reading :),