As you know very well, you meet people from all over the world in Les Roches Bluche. However, HOW we have arrived there is a different story for some of us.
Maybe your parents have or still work in the industry and you feel that since you have been bathed in that environment, you tell yourself “why not give it a shot”.
Or your parents probably just told you that studying in Switzerland is THE PLACE to be getting a proper hospitality education, and off you went to the Alps.
How I got there was a big surprise, and in a way, I’m so thankful that I had a tough time finding out what I wanted to do with my life.
It all started in high school back in Normandy, France. I enjoyed those years being foolish, playing music, doing sports, everything but being serious in class. Although my parents told me it was important, I tried to focus yet I could not see why I should study. What for? How are all those over-scientific mathematical formulas important for someone going through high school? I was not able to relate to what I was being taught.
Then came the day that I graduated from high school (finally, it felt as if those years were endless, or at least the classes). Still, I was very uncertain of what to do next.
However, in France, the system is that if you have you Baccalaureate, then you can attend the regional University in any field. My parents always advised that I should study Medicine, and I did take a particular interest in Biology classes (if any back in the day). So I decided to take a step forward and give that a try.
Classes at the university were taught in amphitheaters, much bigger than a typical classroom for 30 students. There were at least 700 of us, and in total, there were a thousand students in that first year of medical studies. Unluckily for me, the university would only take the top 150 students to the second year: needless to say that I was not selected after the exams. Once again, I needed to find a new plan for my career.
Everything started with a summer job
So what better way to keep a young man busy during the summer? Get a summer job. So I looked into the local newspaper and applied for a job with Brittany Ferries, a French ferry company that navigated between Brittany, Normandy and England. Of course they asked if I could speak English, and after several interviews, I got hired for the summer.
Still before boarding the vessel, I was unaware of what my duties would be on the boat. But the crew assigned me to be a deck-man and start from there. This was quite fun as I was the only person in my area: making sure that all outside decks were clean, that the sun loungers were properly aligned and wiped down from the sea mist, as well as clean the windows of the boat, of course those that were reachable in full safety…
When I think of it now, it doesn’t sound like that much fun. But it was a new environment, with associates that have been doing this for years, and I was getting to talk with guests from all over Europe. It was a diverse environment. I was enjoying the work I was given. Maybe an unpleasant job for some, but I was doing a great job at it, and my supervisor on the ship gave me additional tasks to do: help assist in cleaning cabins while the boat was docked. Weeks later, I was promoted to Food and Beverage to become a steward, and in the end even a waiter in some of the restaurants.
This experience lasted in total 4 months, but already after the first few months, I knew that I wanted to be with people from around the world, helping them on their journey, providing them the experience they deserve.
Hospitality was a calling for me, and I felt incredibly comfortable in the industry. Additionally, I felt confidence settling inside me: a feeling that I had not felt in a very long time.
Of course I did not stay with the ferry company. I decided that I wanted to do something bigger in the industry. So my parents and I went to visit hotel schools in Switzerland, and after being selected to several, I chose to attend Les Roches Bluche as I felt the environment to be very calming, professional, and well… just perfect.
Today, after having worked for a few years in various international hotel companies, I still feel that same confidence and comfort of being in the hospitality industry as when I stepped onto the ship back in 2006.