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March 16, 2018 11:06 AM

Study abroad trip offers hospitality students applied learning experience

Students from Conestoga’s School of Business and Hospitality used the recent Student Success Week to participate in a unique, hands-on applied learning experience during a seven-night cruise on board Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas.

The trip was Conestoga’s third study abroad excursion and faculty member Cora Roselli said the appeal of the cruise setting is that it captures something not found in a classroom: multiple tourism sectors in one location including accommodation, food and beverage, and attractions. The ship accommodates nearly 5,000 passengers and operates more than 20 food and beverage areas for its guests.

“I thought this would be an opportunity of a lifetime to travel and meet new people from both Conestoga and around the world -- and it was,” said Karen Rodriguez, a student in the Event Management graduate certificate program.

Rodriguez was one of 19 students on the excursion that departed February 23. Students first travelled to Galveston, Texas where they completed a full site inspection of their hotel, the Four Points by Sheraton, before embarking on the ship. Ports of call during the cruise included Cozumel, Costa Maya and Roatan where students met with tourist board officials and inspected various resorts and hotel accommodations.

Meetings with tourist officials help students familiarize themselves with various destinations, and Roselli said the site inspections give students the chance to evaluate what each venue offers. As hospitality professionals they will have to consider properties and the availability of group accommodations and amenities for hosting events and conferences.

On board the ship, students met with numerous members of the management team to learn more about cruise operations and the demands of serving thousands of guests.

“I would recommend cruising to other students. This is a great opportunity to meet new people and see how things are done on board a ship versus on land,” said Rodriguez. “A word of advice would be for others to realize it is a study trip and there is quite a bit of work required, as well as attending classes daily, so it is not all fun and play. Keeping that in mind, there is still some free time to explore and get to know the ship and a few hours at each port of call.”

The study abroad course included daily lectures on board the ship, and to earn a course credit students were required to complete a variety of assignments before, during and after the cruise.

Conestoga’s School of Business and Hospitality provides a broad range of culinary and hospitality programs to prepare students for successful careers in the growing hospitality industry.

For more information, visit the School’s website.

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