Igor Travels Abroad

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


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A break to Vienna

Well the past few weeks have been super awesome and wow am I loving it at school.

To start, I’ve made some very great friends and they are absolutely incredible. The days usually begin at 9AM after a good night’s sleep and off to school to study what I love, finance and business!

Not to mention, stock trading, business evaluation, entrepreneurship, and many other great things. When my friend Alen has time, we hang out and have a great time. He’s focused on eating healthy so I couldn’t resist ordering the biggest, juiciest burger and eat it right in front of him (I’m soo mean)

Right after school, a jump in the lake to cool off with the girls as well as football session with the guys is the best accompanied with some video games and most importantly studying (of course)!

Recently, my specialization even inspired me to begin doing investing and stock trading, so now my goal is to make enough money to afford the next two terms of school tuition that away.

Apart from school, I’ve really been focusing on all my different areas of life, from exercising and running to maintain health, and date a lot more. With my personal development coach, we’ve made a goal for me which is now to go on 100 dates to become better at dating and just enjoy spending time with more girls and of course…meet the girl I love. Nevertheless, I’ve already met a girl I like very much so we will see how that goes. 😛

Exams were great and I felt really confident. I decided to spontaneously fly out to Vienna and got myself an Airbnb for a few days while exploring the city, sleeping a bit more to catch up on the hard work I’ve been putting in and work on the important things where I can think a bit.

I’m also applying for finance internships and if you are reading this in Switzerland and hiring, let’s get in touch!

Otherwise, watching movies, visiting museums (Sigmund Freud and Mozart home for example) and eating like a king! Otherwise, riding around the city on a electric scooter and touring it at 35kmh is also great!

Overall, I’m ecstatic being able to study in such a beautiful location with beautiful friends, education and right in the center of Europe.

Now to finish my Almdudler and Wienerschnitzel (Yumbo!) get an Uber and off to bed! See you next week back in Switzerland!


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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!

Igor


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Havana, Cuba | Rum, Cigars and Vintage Cars

A few days after Jamaica, I arrived to Cuba. For many years, Cuba has been closed down to Americans and it was actually illegal and a jailable offense to go there if you owned a US passport. After the death of Fidel Castro, the country was opened for the first time since the mid 1900’s to American travelers and tourists. As I am a Russian citizen too, we are able to travel and live in Cuba up to 6 months at a time, without a visa. Nevertheless, our ship docked at the old port “San Fransisco” in mid-town Havana.

Some brief history about Cuba. It is a communist country with a population of eleven million and capital being Havana. The city of Havana as well as most cities still remain the same as in the 50’s and it feels like truly stepping back in time 70 years. They didn’t have internet until 2 months ago for example. Healthcare and education are free to all and someone like a doctor or lawyer makes approximately two dollars A DAY. Yes, two dollars. Our tour guide is a lawyer, but he says he makes much more money off the tips from the tours than his job being a lawyer. Havana is or was home too many famous people, such as Ernest Hemingway, Al Capone, Tony Montana and more. It’s also famous for its world-class rum, cigars and baseball. Half of the city of Havana is a Unesco heritage site and the other half a modern city!

I even took a panorama…take a guess which side is modern vs historical!

Now, back to the trip! After disembarking early in the morning, my dad and I headed to the port and went off to see the city…by vintage American car! Cuba is home to many restored 50’s American classic cars, since they don’t trade with the USA since the mid 50’s.

So we climbed in to our Chevy and headed down the streets of Cuba. We stopped by the revolution square, religious monument and finally, my favorite, el Floridita, home to the daiquiri, as well as the writer Hemmingway’s favorite place. He even quoted, “My mojito in La Bodeguita, My daiquiri in El Floridita.”

(Answer above: left is historical, right is modern)

 

 

After completing our amazing tour, I walked around Havana and enjoyed some of the nightlife as well, including the local music in virtually every cafe and street corner (video below). To wake myself up, I had a delicious Cuban coffee, roasted to be very dark and eaten with a delicious flan cake and sugarcane.

 

The next morning, I woke up and headed off the boat to learn about rum and cigars. I especially filmed the whole process for you so you too can learn how the world’s best rum is made and how to properly treat yourself to a cigar. Since it was Sunday, the factories were closed so I went to a museum instead. The video below is part one of the production process of Havana Club rum.

After the video, our tour went on to show us the actual machinery used during the distillation process, reproduction of a factory and finally…rum tasting! 
We tried the 7 year rum. There are many vintages to rum, but the popular ones are 3, 5, 7, 10, 20, 25, 50 and 100 year old rum as you can learn below. That way, next time you are in Cuba, you will know which one to get. If your country has good relations with Cuba and imports and exports products, maybe you can even get it at your home country! PS: The Rum was delicious!
Next, I went to a small castle located in the suburbs of Havana where I have a cigar degustation with a local cigar and rum sommelier. For educational purposes, we tried the Romeo Y Julieta No.3, a mild and delicious cigar along with 5 year rum and 100% Cuban coffee arabica. For a proper degustation and to really enjoy the tastes of Cuba in one-sitting, the process is as followed, have a sip of coffee arabica or a strong coffee, preferably Cuban. Next, try the cigar. If you don’t know how, definitely don’t inhale the smoke, you keep it in your mouth and then exhale. Now the flavors fix from the coffee and cigar. Finally, sip on some Havana Club rum. If you don’t have Havana Club, Bacardi is the alternative. For cigars, Cohiba is definitely also recommended.
Afterwards, I explored the city and had a great time eating some freshly caught lobster. I thought it was interesting, I went to wash my hands and since the owners didn’t have enough money to afford a faucet, they used an old gas station pump handle.

 

Our ship let just about all of Cuba know we were leaving and I waived goodbye to people on the shore. We set sail full speed ahead to the blue waters of Miami!