Traveling and Learning

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” ~ St. Augustine

I had the luxury of “sleeping” in until 6am today. As I was waking in my beautiful king-sized bed at the Statler Hotel, here at Cornell University, at home it was 7:00am, and D’Arcy had already served breakfast to a couple who are going Tidal Bore Rafting this morning, and drove our son, Evan (14), to his first “real” job. Today is his first day picking strawberries for Riverbreeze Farm. Evan is saving his money to go to Colombia on an exchange next year with one of our regular guests. I expect that he will find it tough work, but how many other summer jobs finish for the day in enough time to fit in a round of golf with your buddies in the afternoon?!

I have been having a wonderful learning experience here at Cornell this week and can’t believe how fast the time is flying. The setting is idyllic. This is the view from my hotel room window:

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The Statler Hotel is a full-service teaching hotel here on campus, associated with Cornell’s world-renowned hotel school. If only we had a similar facility for our tourism and hospitality management students in Nova Scotia… However, our students at the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) have a mandatory six month paid co-op placement which is a requirement for graduation. Our students are employed all across Nova Scotia and Canada.

The course I’ve been taking this week has been enlightening. Our professor, Dr. Steve Carvell, is the Associate Dean of the School of Hospitality here at Cornell and oversees an $80 Million budget. The students here pay $50,000 per year – just tuition for their undergrad degrees in Hospitality Management! I was nervous going in to the course; any of my friends who have known me since my university days know that accounting was never my favourite subject! However, on the first day, Professor Carvell made it very clear that accounting and finance are two very different things – there is never a right or wrong answer in Finance – and I breathed a sigh of relief. I’ll admit that I’m enjoying the course more than I thought I would and everything I’m learning really makes sense, despite being out of my comfort zone. My class is made up of hotel executives from some of the largest hotels around the world and it was important to me to hold my own.

One of the things I love the most at each of the courses I’ve taken here is the diversity of experience in the classroom. This year is no exception, and upon reflection, I think the group dynamic in this classroom is the best I’ve experienced so far. We’ve been broken up into different groups many times, and always different groups which I’ve enjoyed. My group members have been from Dubai, Ghana, Libya, Australia, Utah, China, Peru, Germany, and Austria. Other places represented in the classroom include Japan, Montreal, Morocco, Sweden, Norway, France, Mexico, and Holland. I learn as much from my classmates as I do from the course itself! The networking opportunities are amazing, and in the three summers I’ve been taking these courses, I’ve made not just working relationships, but also friendships that remain.

Time to head to class for another day of learning. I am so grateful to TIANS and ACOA for this opportunity!

First group presentations:

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Celebrating my new friend, Heather’s, birthday on the first night:

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Working on a case study in a hotel lobby in the evening after class. My group members are from Australia, Dubai, Austria (Hospitality faculty at a private university!) and Ghana/Libya:

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One comment on “Traveling and Learning

  1. Swimminhill says:

    Sounds like a fantastic experience, and how incredible to learn in such a diverse environment! Enjoy your “sleeping in” – and the rest of your trip! xo

    Like

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