Adriana Agavni Minasian is an American student who has enrolled for a term at Hotel Institute Montreux as part of her school's Study Abroad program. Find out what she has gained from the experience.
Studying abroad is truly a life-changing experience, with tremendous personal benefits. It’s a chance to try something totally new and to stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone.
As a global industry, hospitality transcends borders and cultural boundaries, so any international experience you can gain will also give you a competitive edge in the international marketplace. That’s what motivated Bentley University business student Adriana Agavni Minasian to enroll for a term in the Study Abroad program at Hotel Institute Montreux (HIM) in Switzerland.
“I had always wanted to come to Switzerland” says Adriana. “Both of my parents are in the hospitality industry and Switzerland is known for its hospitality, so I wanted to come here both because of my upbringing and because of how big hospitality is here.”
Here are four ways Adriana says she has benefited from her study abroad experience:
“My major is business management and although my school doesn’t offer a hospitality major, I fell in love with the university, so it worked out,” says Adriana. “That said, I really wanted a hospitality school, so I thought ‘what better way to do it than during my study abroad experience?’ I always wanted to go abroad, and when it came time to figure out where, I knew automatically that I wanted to go to Switzerland: the birthplace of hospitality.”
Adriana reflects on study conventions and her events management experiences during her HIM term: “I've loved it. It's a lot of work, but it's worth it. Everybody's so excited, especially when we can finally see everything coming together. The meetings, the classes, and working together toward this one goal of just having an amazing event – everything has been so much fun!
“I don't have any classes like this back at home – it’s completely different. And I’ve been able to meet and learn about more people and to make new friends here too, because the work is all group-based. So it's been amazing,” she says. “I also really like the resort management class, a course where we work in groups for our final project of creating our own resort. It’s just been so exciting because we have full rein and creativity over what we can come up with.”
“Honestly, just being immersed in a brand-new culture in a different country has taken me out of my comfort zone – I’ve become more independent,” says Adriana. “I've also learned more about Switzerland in general. It's opened my eyes, especially regarding the hospitality industry. I've only lived in Boston and I know the US, but coming here has opened me up to Europe and to the world in general.
“I’ve been able to see different perspectives from meeting each new person, learning where they've come from, their different backgrounds. Just understanding and learning more about these cultures has been so much fun,” she says.
Adriana reflects on attending the SEG International Recruitment Forum: “We have trade fairs in the US, but I loved how this was more hospitality-focused. In the US, different businesses attend job fairs, representing anything from HR to accounting, but not many of the companies have a hospitality connection. But the SEG recruitment forum was specialized in hospitality. It was perfect. There were so many companies, I could not believe it!”
The study abroad experience takes you out of your comfort zone and into the real world and that's what you need to prepare for when you start working, for when you enter a new business, company, or hotel and you are not a college student anymore,” says Adriana. “The things you do here, the people you meet, the stories and the adventures that you have when you're abroad – studying hospitality and business in Switzerland is definitely a unique experience.”
“My favorite thing about Switzerland is probably the nature, but the architecture is also so interesting to me,” says Andriana. “I went with HIM on one excursion to Italy and on another to Zermatt. I also visited my cousin in Paris, so I've been able to see a bit more of Europe too.
I come back to Montreux and I'm still so happy that I chose to study here. It seems like home. I love the culture. I love the people. I love that it's so peaceful. All in all,”she concludes, “it's been amazing.”
HIM’s Study Abroad program offers students enrolled in other universities three different ways to study in Switzerland and gain valuable international experience. Adriana chose the option to study in Montreux for three months and earn credits toward her degree at Bentley University in the US.