Felix Linnarinne from Finland shares how a story about cheerleading led him all the way to Hotel Institute Montreux and on to Dubai.
While he was undergoing his military service back home in Finland, Felix Linnarinne made a promise to himself that, if he were to succeed in getting into the school of his dreams he would join a cheerleading team. Now halfway through his bachelor’s degree at Hotel Institute Montreux, not only does he have some killer dance moves to show for it, but also a rich student life that complements the academic education he is receiving.
“I’ve always wanted to see the world, and I realized that working in hospitality would allow me to fulfill this dream. I also knew that Switzerland would be the best place to study this, but it was only during my mandatory military service in Finland, when I saw a story about the cheerleading team at Hotel Institute Montreux, that I decided, “I would rather be a cheerleader than be in the military. If I can get into this school, I will join their cheerleading team.”
Fast-forward a few months and Felix was a student on campus at Hotel Institute Montreux and the only man on the cheerleading team.
“I had no dance background. In fact, I was terrible at it. However, I was curious to try everything from lifting my teammates to swinging the pom-poms. After the military service, I was so excited to pursue my education. I couldn’t wait to experience the world.”
Studying at Hotel Institute Montreux has also given Felix the possibility to pursue another topic he is passionate about: sustainability. “As a child, I was taught the importance of taking care of the environment as well as taking responsibility for my actions. Now that I am an adult, I want to make decisions that I am proud of and believe we all have to work together to fight climate change.
“This year, I had the privilege of representing Hotel Institute Montreux at the Sustainable Hospitality Challenge. There was a total of 36 hospitality-based universities at the beginning of the competition, and the team of three that I was a part of made it all the way to the finals!
“Being elected to the finals was such an honor for us. We had such a great time meeting new people and exchanging our ideas! We didn’t win, but the experience was incredibly rich and we were able to demonstrate that Hotel Institute Montreux is among the top hospitality educators in the world.
Felix credits the quality education he has received at Hotel Institute Montreux for doing so well at the Sustainable Hospitality Challenge. “As a student, I am encouraged to think for myself by exploring, analyzing, and coming to my own conclusions. I have developed stronger critical thinking skills, which help me, for example, discern when companies are guilty of greenwashing. (Note to reader: greenwashing is the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company's products are more environmentally sound).”
With nearly 40 nationalities present on campus, students also learn from the variety of perspectives found in multicultural teams and work together to find solutions to real-world problems, such as the issue of sustainability.
“Last year, we were tasked to come up with ideas on how to open an environmentally friendly hotel. It was very interesting to see what we came up with as a team.”
As interesting and dynamic classes may be, it’s important to maintain a healthy work-life balance, which is why Felix engages in a variety of sports. “I am crazy about sports which help me stay strong, not just physically but also mentally. I’ve been playing ice hockey for 15 years and American football for 5 years. At Hotel Institute Montreux, I have access to a gym, and there are many opportunities to play football, volleyball, badminton, basketball…and more!”
Twice a year, the school also takes part in a Sports Day that brings together students from all of the Swiss Education Group schools who engage in some friendly competition.