I am Whitney deLisser from the island of Jamaica where I was born and grew up. Jamaica is one of the larger Caribbean islands with a varied geographic composition to include beautiful mountains and amazing white sand beaches. Not only is the weather warm but so are our people. The island is a great melting pot of cultures with historic influences from England, Spain, France, India, China, Africa, North America and other regions leading to our motto “Out of many, one people”. While being famous for beaches, music and sport, there is much more to our island like the Georgian architecture, the tasty food and all the unique attractions and activities we have to offer. We may have the fastest man in the world but our speed of life is relaxed and easy.
My childhood was a happy one spent playing, working and learning at my family’s Equestrian Centre attached to one of the large resorts on the north coast. I have always been interested in meeting new people, travelling and the hospitality industry. I knew from an early age that I wanted my career to be in hospitality and so I decided to formally train for the field. I was fortunate enough to visit Switzerland some years ago to ski and I fell in love with the country and its beauty, even though it is very different from that of Jamaica. With all this in mind, along with the fact that Switzerland has the best reputation for hospitality training, my decision to come to Les Roches was easy.
Having lived with my Grandparents for my high school years, I came away with a whole new perspective on communication. I attended a large, traditional government school in Kingston with my older brother and at this school I took my Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate exams which would be the equivalent of British GCSE’s in 8 subjects and finished top in my class for the academic year.
In 2008, I embarked upon my European Journey and began my A-level course in a small Quaker boarding/day school in Essex, England. What a change! It took some time to adjust to the weather and not seeing the sun every day, ironically, my first winter was England’s worst in over a decade. But in the mean time I met some amazing friends and learned so much. I studied Drama, Geography, History and Business, all of which I enjoyed thoroughly.
I shared a room with Tongtong, who was from mainland China and in boarding we had students from Korea, Germany, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, America, Russia, China, India, Africa and of course England. Living with around 24 people and another 50 or so in the younger years there was never a dull moment at school and we were constantly doing one activity or another. I have appreciated spending time with all these people and consider them all to be a part of my extended family. When you are so far from home, it is a comfort to have friends surrounding you.
At school I took part in many activities and also tried to give back by running a Drama group for the younger students. I was honoured to accept the position as a member of the Quartet which is like Head Girl but with shared responsibilities, this meant that I was in contact with the whole school and had the joy of helping everybody out.
While in England, I was able to spend quite a bit of time in London with family friends who took me to see shows and museums and generally helped me get acclimated to a big city.
After my first fearful journey on the tube at rush hour on a Friday afternoon, I did my best to get around and experience as much of the city as possible. I also visited Geneva twice and had a few weekends of skiing and experiencing another city in a different language. While this was intimidating, it fascinated me and because of this I began learning basic French a few months ago to prepare for my arrival in Switzerland.
I have gained so much life experience in the last two years and my time away at school has meant a great deal to me and thoroughly prepared me to move forward ready to sink my teeth into the next challenge which will be at Les Roches doing my BBA in International Hotel Management. I am so excited about meeting new friends and continuing to learn about different cultures and people and experiencing Switzerland and Europe to the fullest!