Hospitality students on the high seas

Image by JoushuaDavisPhotography, courtesy of Creative Commons

Alex Blencowe/Staff Writer

On the high seas the hospitality students go this summer.

Students from the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management are studying abroad on the high seas aboard the beautiful Norwegian Cruise Line this summer.

The Hospitality at Sea programs cover three courses with 20 students per course and added graduate students over a 12-day trip through Portugal and Spain

Students will be learning everything from management of injury to international safety issues and travel law.

In the past, students have visited places such as France, Italy, Monaco, the Netherlands and England, according to the program’s faculty director, John H. Thomas, a maritime lawyer who has studied everything from Gaming Law to International Trade.

“One thing students learn is about multicultural situations and how to handle them,” Thomas said.

This summer, 70 Chaplin school students and 10 architecture students will study cruise ship management skills, rules for crossing boarders, standards of care, licensing for new contract businesses in foreign locations and much more including what to do if a traveler is injured on a safari.

“Our students have found this to be a life-changing experience as they visit foreign countries together,” said Thomas in an email.

“Some students have decided to join the cruise industry for a career. Many students [have] remained best friends with students they met on the trip and travels.”

Born and raised in Haiti, senior Stephanie Baril gained a lot of independence and friendships from her experience in the Hospitality at Sea program last year, when she took a trip from Miami to Amsterdam, stopping at the cities of Madeira, Lisben, Honfleur and Dover.

Her first time travelling alone, Baril experienced 15 days of travel with eight days at sea passing through Spain, Portugal, France and England respectively; she also spent an extra four days in Amsterdam after the cruise.

“I had to basically make my own friends and get used to my roommate,” Baril said. “I actually enjoyed it and learned how to deal with other people.”

While on board, Baril experienced the shouting of “Starboard! Starboard!” a signal used on ships when a passenger has passed away; Baril learned that ships have morgues where the deceased are held until they are delivered at the next port.

Additionally, Baril and her classmates studied all kinds of cases on board including maintenance issues and travel law for transatlantic cruises.

“We got to see the engine room, where they navigate… you see the ocean and all the controls,” said Baril.  “We got to meet the ship’s captain and the officers on board.”

Baril is an avid traveller who has visited Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, France, England, Amsterdam, Portugal and Puerto Rico in her lifetime so far.

“I’m used to leaving, just getting on a plane and going somewhere. I love to pack,” said Baril. She said that learning about new cultures and places is always exciting.  “When you’re in the kind of industry where you get paid to travel, it’s kind of awesome!”

Her dream is to become a General Manager in the Hospitality industry someday, and she has plans for an internship at a hotel in Haiti after graduation.

“Definitely research before you go so you get a feel of where you’re going and what you’re getting yourself into,” Baril advises future study abroad students.

She thinks that students who take this opportunity should should try to extend their trip and travel as much as possible.

“It was definitely a life lesson.”

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