Three years have passed since I began the Diploma in Hotel Management program at Les Roches. Looking back, it went so fast that today it feels more like three minutes than three years. I still remember the first day as if it were today. I know exactly who sat next to me during the induction ceremony and I also recall the innocent faces we had in our individual class pictures.
Then there was the first F&B class with Mr. Djeebet and Mr. Shah – a performance I will not soon forget. Then came roll-call, the infamous mise-en-place, early breakfast service in the Marché restaurant, and the madness of lunch and dinner. And who could forget weekends spent washing dishes!
I recall that during my first two days I had already met more people from more countries than during my whole life up to that date. Most importantly, I remember being received at Les Roches by people I didn’t know, who nonetheless treated me as though we were lifelong friends. This instant connection to them marked me from the first instance and was a clear demonstration of the spirit that runs through the campus corridors.
The second year was equally intense – working in the kitchen was such a joy! Some of us were afraid to even turn on the oven while others went so far as to put sugar instead of salt on the French fries. And if I recall correctly, one of them even fried his fingers instead of the potatoes! Speaking of joy…I have a fond recollection of learning just how complicate Microsoft Access really is. Oh, and lest I forget – English Literature class was also a joyful challenge for those of us who were just getting the hang of the language.
But before we knew it, we were on our way to our third and final year. After two in-school semesters and two internships – we were finalists! My most vivid recollection takes place during the last six months. During the final months we mainly thought about the previous two years and there had been a rush of feelings and emotions amongst us all. We knew our time at the school was nearing an end so we worked hard to split our time between the responsibility of our studies and the last gasp of fun we would have together as colleagues in the school.
During those final days, we no longer had such innocent faces. We had become responsible professionals almost overnight, but most of all, we learned to accept the differences between people of other cultures and to value their qualities as individuals. By then we had put any preconceptions aside and were close friends for life.
Upon completion of the semester I found myself standing on a thin line that separates two different life adventures. On one side, we were about to leave behind three years of friendships and memorable times spent with the school’s professors and administration. On the other side, a new world awaited us with unlimited opportunity to grow and continue learning about life through our professional development. Some would continue studying and some would begin their careers right away. But whatever direction we chose, none of us will ever forget those three magnificent years.