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The Swiss Hotel School 2018 Graduate, Nicole Freitas Dos Santos.

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From the very beginning, the minute I learnt to walk, I would find myself in the kitchen, either on the floor or counter top with my Gran, my Gran would be cooking food to feed the family, and I would insist that I wanted to cook too and so she used to give me a couple of kitchen apparatus and some ingredients for me to cook with her! It was from that point where my love for food started to grow and hasn’t stopped. 

When I had to choose and think about what I wanted to study after high school, hospitality was never my first thought, until the day the Swiss Hotel School came to a careers day at the high school I attended.  It was at this point where I knew, that this is where I wanted to study and what I wanted to do. 

After writing my entrance test and going for an entry interview, I knew that I had made the right choice and I was excited to begin my studies at SHS. 

The first year taught me a lot about what it’s actually like working in the industry; after completing my kitchen internship at the Radisson Blu Gautrain and my service internship at Casa Bella, I had a fair idea of which department I preferred.

During second year, I then went on to complete my rooms division internship at the Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa where I learnt a lot but was not sure that it was the department I would see myself in. 

It was also during second year where we had to make the decision about where we wanted to complete our long internship and in which department. I knew from the very beginning of starting at SHS, that I would work towards going to Switzerland in Food and beverage for my long internship. After hard work and dedication I was in line to head to Switzerland, this was an experience of a lifetime.

Upon returning from Switzerland, the next big project we had to tackle in third-year was to open and run a restaurant from scratch. During this, I was allocated the position of the Restaurant Manager. This was the most challenging, yet most rewarding time at SHS. 

It was jam-packed with planning, organization, conflict management and the most challenging, dealing and working with your peers. 

During the course of the three years, Mr Tschumi and Chef Chad were always there to support their students and always offer an ear to listen and were willing to help out and give advice to their students about any challenge they were faced with in industry. 

Many of the lessons Mr T and Chef Chad taught me I will keep with me for as long as I continue to work in the industry. 

After graduating with the founders award, I was proud to secure a job at the Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa as a Junior Food and Beverage Supervisor. I learnt a lot in the department over the 9 months I was there but then felt that I needed change and wanted to try new things and continue to grow my knowledge in another department. 

I then went on to become a Guest Relations Officer where I find myself currently, and I am enjoying every bit of it. 

I’m excited to see what the future holds for me!