I am Creating the Lifestyle and Independence I’ve Always Looked for


Interview with Samuel,  a HIM student from Sweden

Moving to a foreign country can be a challenge, but Samuel Eriksson has never once regretted relocating to the Swiss Riviera to pursue his dreams. Currently interning at a five-star hotel in Zakynthos as a part of his study program at HIM, Samuel says that the best thing about a career in hospitality is helping to create lasting memories for his guests. We sat down to talk about his experiences as a student in Montreux, the perks of interning in Greece, and his ambitions for the future. Read about that and more below!

On the terrace of HIM overlooking the beautiful lake Geneva.

Hi Samuel! What were you like as a kid?

I think I was very determined l when I was a kid, entrepreneurial, you could say. While other children were watching TV, I was drafting a budget for the next month to be able to reach my savings targets. It might sound dull, but it has given me the confidence to dream big and never doubt my ability to reach my goals. The secret – create little gradual objectives, and eventually, if you are persistent, you will get there.

Why did you decide to study at HIM in Switzerland?

A strong factor in choosing my Bachelor’s program was its wide-ranging scope. I wanted my career options after graduation to be plenty for me to choose from. The Business Administration in Hospitality Management program at HIM, I thought, offered a perfect mixture of Hospitality, Business and Leadership. As far as I’m concerned, it was an easy decision.

Compared to a lot of other students I pay for my education all by myself. That alone, I think, shows the confidence I have in that this educational investment will be worth it, both in terms of my career and personal growth.

Now that you are a student at HIM, how do you like it there?

Going to an international school is absolutely amazing. When I was young I was always inspired by airports because it was like a different world where humans are more accepting of each other’s backgrounds. The best part of going to a multicultural university is that you will learn so much about people’s behavior and widen your network outside of your own borders.

I agree! I think people you meet can teach you many things if you are open to it.

Absolutely. At HIM, we celebrate our diversity by having events like the ‘Cultural Night’ where you have the chance to represent the part of the world that you come from. We even have classes that go more in-depth on the subject of the cultures of the world. To be able to attend this sort of lifestyle you must be very open-minded and accepting of new people.

In what ways do you think HIM excels compared to other hospitality schools?

One thing that comes to mind is the teachers who have built incredible careers themselves and who can now share the real-world knowledge from their earlier experiences as employees in the industry. Often textbooks don’t reflect the full picture, so having access to this kind of knowledge gives you a huge advantage.

What are you like as a student?

I like to work independently and prefer analytical projects where my design-oriented interests and creative talents can be applied.

What do you enjoy the most about living in Switzerland?

The best part about living in the centre of Europe is that the weekend getaways become more accessible and it opens new possibilities for how you can spend your free time as a student.

Weekend get-away trips are one of the perks of living in Switzerland, where many countries are within arms’ reach.

How did you decide where to do your student internship?

Regarding my current internship, I had a lot of help from our Career Coach Bran at HIM. She gave a lot of tips on what we should consider and guided us in the directions that would be fitting with our personal and professional goals.

Why do you think your school places that much importance on internships?

HIM aims to create the best conditions for its students to launch their careers and succeed. And I think internships are a great addition to our degree because they allow you to test your theoretical knowledge, acquire practical experience, and build an excellent network for your future.

Once you knew what you wanted, was it hard to receive an internship offer?

It was something I put a lot of time and effort into. Still, studying at a school with a reputation as high as HIM’s, it was easy to get the attention of some of the most luxurious companies in the world, even as a student with no prior experience.

Freetime in Greece, where I intern at the five-star Olea All Suite Hotel.

What have you chosen as your internship destination and why?

I am currently interning as a Front Desk trainee at the five-star Olea All Suite Hotel in Greece. I chose to intern at this family-run business instead of a big chain hotel because I wanted to learn more about every department and be more flexible in deciding how my traineeship should be organized.

Internship at Olea All Suite Hotel in Greece.

So far, I’ve tried Front Desk, Guest Relations and even some managerial tasks. The hotel is relatively new and, therefore, I have a greater chance of being a valuable resource for their company in the future.

What have you learned there thus far?

I’ve had a lot of experience in hospitality as a guest, but I’ve never worked in a hotel before, so moving to Greece this summer all by myself has taught me a lot. I have gained a more in-depth knowledge of all the logistical and structural aspects of operating this type of company. The courses at HIM have so far been beneficial when applying the knowledge to real life.

I’ve also learned how to cope with unexpected situations, take ownership of my duties, and communicate with guests from different cultural, economic and societal backgrounds.

I think I’ve become a better person both as an individual and a professional. The bigger the challenge – the bigger the growth. You don’t always have to go with the safest option, in my opinion.

How do you spend your free time while you are interning in Greece?

In my spare time, I like to explore Zakynthos by renting boats and quads, snorkelling the blue lagoons and watching the spectacular sunsets over the mediterranean sea. However, consuming too many greek salads has been my top priority while I am in Greece, haha.

What do you like the most about working in hospitality?

The best part of this is that every day I take care of guests and take part in creating some of the best memories in their lives, everything from anniversaries to honeymoons and proposals.

I have had guests crying out of happiness in front of me. Sometimes you create a bond with guests, and it can be sad to say farewell, but I couldn’t be happier about my career choice.

Having said that, If I ever wanted to change careers, I could because my degree gives me a wide range of education. In term five, you proceed with a specialization that our school offers: Luxury, Franchise or Finance. It provides a great sense of freedom, knowing that you don’t have to be stuck with a particular path compared to other university degrees. If you like having options and possibilities, this is the school for you.

Scenic views in Montreux.

What traits are, in your opinion, essential for a hospitality professional?

Talking from my experience as a Front Desk trainee, I think the most important is to have fantastic communication skills, be structured, have high professional standards and be able to multitask.

What are your career aspirations?

In the future, I would like to see myself as a General Manager at a hotel and test my creativity skills in Sales and Marketing at a luxury company. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn to discuss future career opportunities!

Any advice for recent high school graduates considering studying at HIM?

Moving to Switzerland to study at HIM has been one of the best choices of my life. If you’re on the fence about moving abroad to pursue your dreams, because you’re too afraid to leave your loved ones behind, you will miss out on so much life has to offer.

Here at HIM, you have unforgettable teachers, student life, travels and relationships waiting for you. Remember that what you manifest in your life will automatically be attracted to you if you just be yourself and are ready to evolve as a person.

I’m looking forward to seeing some new faces in the lobby this fall!

Thank you, Samuel, for an inspiring conversation!

Right back at you! I would also like to send a special thanks to Frida Raask for being an essential part of my student life and to HIM for opening many doors in my career.