This summer, Conestoga Hospitality and Tourism Management diploma student Ashley Acosta is completing her co-op work term in Greece. The experience has helped her gain new skills, learn a new language and immerse herself in a completely new culture.
Hospitality and Tourism Management diploma student Ashley Acosta is completing her co-op work term at a five-star hotel in Greece.
“Discovering that I could do a co-op abroad was probably the best news I heard when school began. When I started looking for jobs and found one in Greece I was both surprised and very excited,” Acosta said.
The hospitality student has never been to Greece before and, although she can speak Spanish and Portuguese, said learning a new alphabet and language was part of the appeal of completing her co-op overseas.
“For me, a work term abroad was the best choice. I think that it is really important for people to get outside their comfort zones and experience new surroundings and cultures, especially while they still have the time and ability to do so,” she said.
Acosta is completing her co-op in a restaurant at the Aegean Melathron Thalasso Spa Hotel -- a luxury five-star hotel in Kassandra located 90 kilometres from Thessaloniki. She departed at the end of April and returns to Canada in early October.
She had no previous experience working in food and beverage, but thought the skills she would acquire would help with future goals.
“I would like to own my own bed and breakfast and so I feel these skills will be necessary for the future to help better run my business … as well as aid me in any other jobs I might have along the way. It is always easier to sell a location to someone if you have experienced it first-hand,” she explained.
Acosta received financial assistance for the work term through the Going Global award which supports students pursuing out-of-country co-op experiences. It is funded by the Employer and Regional Partnerships stream of the province’s Career Ready Fund.
Currently, Conestoga delivers more than 50 post-secondary programs that include co-op work components to provide students with relevant work experience in support of their education and future careers.
“I do recommend doing work terms abroad as I love the connections I have made through this experience,” she said. “However, a lot of research on the location, quality of life, types of food, affordability and salaries is really important. I would say that finding someone who has worked in the country of interest would be the best opportunity to ask questions and get a realistic point of view.”
Acosta said she’s interested in working abroad after she graduates and expects to draw on her experience in Greece when completing projects during her final year on campus.
Conestoga’s Hospitality and Tourism Management (optional co-op) diploma program provides students with an overview of the hospitality and tourism industry along with entry-level management skills. Students receive a broad base of business and entrepreneur skills ensuring a strong understanding of financial, customer service, marketing, and the human resources aspects of the industry.
Visit the School of Hospitality & Culinary Arts for more information about programming that prepares students for successful careers in Canada’s dynamic tourism industry.