Since childhood, my family would always find me in the kitchen either cooking up a storm or baking just about every recipe I could find in my Ouma’s recipe books. I had always been curious about the hospitality industry, but never knew how much it has to offer until I started looking at what I wanted to do with my life after high school.
The Swiss Hotel School was my first choice for tertiary education, the website had me hooked – but visiting the campus during an open day convinced me that this is where I had to attend college!
During my time at SHS, I was exposed to many industry professionals, as well as intricate practical lessons and some of the most incredible internships at a few of South Africa’s prestigious hospitality offerings. My passion for the industry grew larger each semester, and I would find myself pursuing various hobbies in my free time that related to hospitality – Sunday afternoons would be my time to shine! A three-course meal for my family paired with wine, as well as a beautifully set table and some candles for atmosphere? Check!
My mind-set for every internship to which I was assigned was to blow them away. To do my absolute best. I’ve taken that with me into the world of work too, ensuring that after I move on from an establishment that they leave me a glowing recommendation.
After graduating in November of 2017, I was on my way to America through a Work-away International seasonal visa program. I worked at the grandiose Boca West Country Club, in Florida for two winter seasons – my first season as a Card Room Attendant where I would not only keep the multiple snacks filled and the coffee fresh, but would work the occasional banquet – these banquets are bigger than most weddings I’ve seen in my few years in the industry! My second season I spent working in the golf department checking members in, as well as supervising the beverage station and loading golf bags on carts – let’s just say that I have become incredibly adaptable to different types of work…
I moved on to Burlingame Country Club in North Carolina, where I am now starting on my third summer season at the Club. Here is where I have honed my skills as a server, as well as a leader. In my second season, I was promoted to server captain and given more responsibility and accountability. This has become my second home, the management team is incredible, and I know almost all of the members by name – as well as what their drink of choice is… I have been given so many opportunities at this Club, and hold the establishment dear to my heart.
The Swiss Hotel School became a springboard for me to leap into the industry and gave me the basis of knowledge that I have since expanded and reshaped as the years have gone on. As controversial and alternative as some of the lessons at the school are, believe me when I say that those are the ones I remember the most! Table setting skills, wine tastings, and every single team-building exercise that Mr. Tschumi would make us do (which also made us question his sanity at times) have been ingrained in me and has shaped me into the young professional that I am today.
Without the constant support and advice of my lecturers and their willingness to see their students succeed, I doubt I would be as advanced in my career as I am today.