Doesn’t it feel like every day a new travel notification pops up on your feed? Whether you’re being bombarded with photos of your contacts’ recent life-changing backpacking trip through Peru, or constant promotional ads trying to get you to purchase your next vacation, it seems like travel is becoming more accessible and a cultural norm. You can only expect a growing interest in the future, and that’s why majoring in hospitality and tourism can seem like a solid career choice. But how effective can you be as a hospitality professional if you haven’t spent significant time traveling and experiencing other cultures?
That’s where study abroad comes in. Studying abroad is the perfect opportunity to get real-world insight into the hospitality industry on a global scale, all while securing university credits toward graduation. Not only that, but it’s been shown that employers value international experience, and in this specific industry it’s especially so. In just one semester of study abroad, hospitality students benefit tremendously. Here’s how.
A Path to Graduation
As mentioned earlier, studying abroad allows students the opportunity to gain university credit. The curricula aren’t just put together all willy-nilly, either. Directors of the hospitality departments from our School of Record have put together a curriculum that allows students to choose courses, service learning, and internships that all qualify as graduation requirements.
Students can accumulate up to 19 credits just by taking academic courses like Spanish Foreign language, Marketing in Latin America, and Entrepreneurship in Latin America. Credits are granted for hospitality internships, university courses, and you can even get credit for educational travel! While your peers back home are confined to the four walls of a classroom, you’ll be stacking college credits while having the adventure of a lifetime.
In-Field Work Experience
Being a new graduate is tough. Employers expect you to graduate at the top of your class AND have in-field experience and during your semester abroad, you can enroll in an internship that will expose you to Latin America’s travel and tourism industry. It’s the perfect chance to flex your skills and contribute to the business development strategy in a real company. Placements are in small, boutique hotels, traveler’s hostels, restaurants, tourism operators, and travel agencies. Owners count on you to provide consumer insight and work together on strategizing the best ways to reach out to international customers. You might get involved with social media marketing, sales and customer service, and daily operations. Add this experience to your resume and you’ll be sure to be one competitive candidate.
Advance Your Spanish Skills
Did you know that the demand for bilingual employees has more than doubled in just 5 years? It literally pays to be bilingual and studying abroad in a Spanish speaking country guarantees cultural immersion. In just a few weeks’ time, you can go from being a basic Spanish speaker to being an intermediate level II speaker. Being bilingual is also much more advantageous for the travel and tourism industry. You’ll likely be interacting with guests from all over the world, and 21 countries include Spanish as an official language.
Not only does being bilingual support your employment options, but it also supports your travel. Knowing Spanish will boost your confidence in traveling throughout Latin America so you can visit all of Maximo Nivel’s location in one exciting country-jumper itinerary.
Learn International Cuisine
Food and beverage are a huge part of hospitality. Learning about world-renowned cuisines such as that of Peru or traditional Mayan dishes from Guatemala will give you leverage in speaking about such topics on a job interview or with other industry professionals. Especially if you are considering a career in food service and catering, learning international cuisine is a surefire way to get noticed.
As a bonus, students can participate in the weekly cooking classes held at the Maximo campus. Locals introduce a traditional recipe and program participants help to prepare the dish. Once it’s complete, you can all enjoy a meal together and bring this weightless souvenir back home to your friends and family.
Join a Global Network
Everyone knows that old saying, “your net worth is your network.” That doesn’t usually relate until after you’ve graduated and you’re looking for a job. That’s when you start going through your list of contacts to determine who you can reach out to for an opportunity.
Studying abroad adds names to your contact list. Even more so, it adds international contacts. Your program will put you in touch with other hospitality students who may or may not be from your home country. Either way, you will develop relationships with these people, and can reach out for advice, insight, and professional networking.
If you play your cards right, you will also have access to professionals from your internship program. Since your placement is with small businesses, you will typically have a direct working relationship with the owners and executives of the company. Convert these professionals as mentors and keep in touch. They may have industry contacts of their own whom they can connect with you allowing for more opportunities both nationally and internationally.
Nothing says “hospitality and tourism” like travel. Without this very essential component, the tourism industry wouldn’t exist. Study abroad for just one semester and realize for yourself one of the most exciting and unique experiences of your life through coursework and internships tailored for hospitality and tourism majors.