You will spend the best months of your life living independently, learning about new cultures and exploring an entirely foreign continent, they said! While this sounds exciting it also means the world when you can reconnect with other students with the same origin.
Our student, Camilo Uribe Lopez, gives you an insight on his experience at EHL as a Colombian.
Could you introduce yourself a bit?
My name is Camilo Uribe Lopez, I am a 21-year-old Colombian student at EHL. I was born in Bogota, Colombia and lived there until 2008, when I moved to the United States, due to my father’s new Job. I graduated from high school in Florida, USA with an IB (International Baccalaureate) diploma in 2014. Then I moved to Lausanne, Switzerland, to start my studies at my dream university, Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL). As of today, I have lived in 6 countries and speak 3 languages.
Why did you choose hospitality?
Hospitality is not something that merely attracts me; hospitality is natural to me. Growing up in an environment full of social events, dinners, vacations and meetings, due to my father’s job, my parents would always encourage me to get involved and actively participate in the social events. With the time, I realized this was part of hospitality, it is all about people and diversity. I became extremely interested in different cultures, languages and traveling. It started with a simple love for hotels to the ever-changing challenges, innovations and services. I also wanted to study hospitality, because it opens many doors to different industries.
Why did you choose EHL?
I chose EHL for many reasons, the educational philosophy, where “professional excellence is the result of combining skills and knowledge, with passion and human relationships” excited me, because I truly believe this combination is crucial to be successful in this industry. EHL is considered the best hotel management school in the world with an amazing reputation worldwide. I wanted a school that would go beyond just great teaching and hard work to get the best out of the students and it has exceeded my expectations. EHL is a school that values the whole environment, and takes pride in its community and “family”, created through the many different activities and additions, a complement to the learning experience. Additions, such as committees for everyone’s taste, from sports to dance to food, where students work for students to make every day and every event more enjoyable help the EHL spirit grow as one. It doesn’t stop there, finding out that the EHL family continues after the four years of studying, through the huge alumni community worldwide made me want to study here even more. Knowing that after graduation, there is an alumni community spread around the world, is amazing for me. EHL is not only an episode in your life but it will grow with you and stay with you forever. EHL was my first choice and still is my first choice and am thankful I have had the privilege to be part of this family. EHL has been perfect to unleash my potential by giving me the professional skills, problem solving, leadership abilities in an open-minded, multicultural and diverse environment. It has been the beginning in making a difference and leaving a legacy of good memories in my professional and personal experience on my path through the hospitality world.
What has your EHL experience been so far?
EHL, for me, has been an amazing experience from day one until now. It has brought me many great memories and friends that will always stay with me. The first semester, AP, was incredible. It’s when you make all your good friends and create a close bond with your team. It is also the time to learn the importance of communication, team work and organization, learning something new every day. The hands-on workshops and classes are with experienced teachers, who are always there to help you grow. EHL does not stop at preparing us to be great leaders of the future in hospitality, but they also work hard to develop us as individuals and ensure the experience is great in all aspects. Professionally, it gives you a world of opportunities. I had my first internship at The Ritz Carlton, Dubai, as a front desk agent. During my internship, I realized how much one learns at EHL consciously and subconsciously enabling us to understand the work and position faster and easier. For my second internship, I worked as a conference assistant in the Hotel Arts Barcelona, a Ritz Carlton Hotel. As this internship is administrative I was able to use knowledge from all semesters. The things, I learned, complement each other and not only are useful in the hotel “talk” but in many different industries. The internships gave me the opportunity to reaffirm the love for the hotel business. I realized, I am preparing to work in the luxury industry, explore the world, learn about people, cultures and languages. Thanks to EHL reputation, community and relationship, students can travel around the world and have the experience to work in the top hotel chains and companies of the world. A great moment, after the internships are over, is coming back to EHL to see your friends, who were spread out all over the world, talk about their experiences and the different things they learned at work or outside work. Now I know, I will always find an EHL alumni wherever I go.
What is the Latino community like at EHL?
The Latino community at EHL is amazing! We are a very close group of friends from all over Latin America from Mexico all the way down to Argentina. We are always planning events together and invite our international friends to experience the Latino culture and try our extremely varied gastronomy, drinks, dancing and energy. At the beginning of every semester we scout for the new Latino students to meet and integrate them into our family. Then we plan dinners, parties and outings together and every time each person brings food or drinks from their country to share and listen to our Latino music where we normally all end up dancing all night long. We all get together for Fete Universelle, EHL’s event for students to show their countries’ culture and gastronomy. We plan a Latino stand instead of individual countries and all together, we decorate, cook and prepare the drinks and the music we will dance to at the event show. Together we never have a dull moment and we are always like a big family.