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AlumniHIM Graduate Receives ‘Hospitality & Catering Student of the Year’ Award

The Institute of Travel & Tourism gives the ‘Student of the Year’ awards in different categories to recognize the best new talent entering the industry. In 2019, Julia Gjärdman, a recent HIM graduate, received the “Hospitality & Catering Student of the Year” award. We caught up with Julia to ask her a few questions about the award:

How did you manage to win this award?

In 2019 HIM participated in this competition for the first time and I was among the lucky 3 students to get nominated. Our professors wrote an accompanying letter describing why we should win and we put together an award application package. It included the certificates from my 3 years at HIM: being a Communication and Social Media Ambassador, a Class Representative and a Student of the Month; and recommendation letters from my two internships, at InterContinental London Park Lane and Atlantis the Palm Dubai.

I wrote a cover letter describing how my studies at HIM had helped me do well during my internships and prepared me for my future career. It seems that I had the right balance of academic achievements, active involvement in student life and successful internship experience, because when the ITT reviewed all candidates – I won!

 Hotel Institute Montreux student, Julia Gjärdman, receives ITT Hospitality & Catering Student of the Year Award


Did you attend the award ceremony?

Yes! The school took care of all of the travel expenses and Dr Rebecca Wallace, the Northwood Program Manager, came with me for support. The award ceremony took place at the House of Commons in London, on a terrace with a view of the Thames and the London Eye – it was very impressive! There were around 200 attendees including committee members, industry professionals, other winners and their families, and we got to interact and network.

 Hotel Institute Montreux student, Julia Gjärdman, receives ITT Hospitality & Catering Student of the Year Award


How did your time at HIM help you win this award?

First of all, just to attend HIM was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I really feel that my studies at HIM have exceeded my expectations. The faculty have been like a family to us, very supportive and sharing many insights. They are industry practitioners, so we were getting the knowledge that was very practical and based on real-life experiences.


All in all, HIM has helped me a lot, not just in the classroom, but also through my internships in London and Dubai.

 Julia Gjärdman, with fellow Hotel Institute Montreux students


What was your biggest learning experience at Atlantis the Palm in Dubai?

Before this internship, I had been a bit insecure about my work and needed constant confirmation to make sure everything was done perfectly. But thanks to my director at Atlantis who pushed me to become more independent, I learned to trust myself more and make my own decisions.

I was able to take on a lot of different responsibilities and types of projects, from sending internal newsletters to helping specific departments with employee engagement efforts, to running numerous employee events.

I even lead a couple of projects on my own from start to finish. One of them was about the employees’ career growth success stories. We produced a series of 6 short videos and they are now posted on different recruitment platforms to advertise Atlantis the Palm as a recruiter of choice. Seeing my work on the internet makes me very proud!

 Hotel Institute Montreux student, Julia Gjärdman, receives ITT Hospitality & Catering Student of the Year Award


What are your career plans following your graduation?

The long-term goal of mine is to start my own business, but I believe I must first get a lot of experience. I want to try many different things to find my place, a dynamic environment where I can meet people, travel and be creative. Having lived in Switzerland, London and Dubai, I now see the whole world as my workplace!

 Hotel Institute Montreux student Julia Gjärdman at Graduation

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