Igor Travels Abroad

"In the end, we only regret the chances we didn't take."


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A Most Beautiful Week and Hospitable Sunday

This past week has been very beautiful and amazing and I have had a great time connecting and getting to know my friends and classmates better. I completed 5 big exams during the last week as well as presentations as well as had a lot of fun. Today has been the most exciting of all, to finally take a break and relax during my final exams. I understand it may not be the most traditional way of doing things, but while all my classmates are stressed out and trying to cram the last bit of information in, I am aiming to really relax and feel good when it comes to my exams. I personally believe that if I studied hard and learned the knowledge throughout the semester, I am prepared for the exams and I studied a bit beforehand but overall I feel ready. Today was more about reconnecting with my friends and taking it easy and stepping into the exams tomorrow with a fresh mind and feeling relaxed.

Firstly, I want to reflect on finally getting used to Montreux, Switzerland a bit more and starting to finally fit in. I’m finally starting to understand Swiss neutrality more and the diplomacy of the country and it’s people. Additionally, the fact that people have their work life and private life balance and therefore aren’t open 24/7 and that quality comes before quantity. Of course prices are more, but things are hand-made and crafted and take time and labour, rather than other countries where machines manufacture everything under the sun and quality is affected. Moreover, I really am getting used to and enjoy the Swiss style of clothing and atmosphere, it almost reminds me of the 50’s and 60’s to a calmer, more peaceful time, where life was more relaxed, more simple and people simply enjoyed it more without the rigamaro of the busy city life or rushing to work and high stress. Don’t get me wrong, people work very hard here and can be stressed too, but I think the work-life balance is much more destinct and cultural.

Since I am studying hospitality, I wanted to show you some of the Swiss hospitality and talk about what it’s like. Today, for example, I slept in and really had a great time waking up when I wanted to and watched a movie. Afterwards, I did some studying and prepared for my upcoming exams.

Afterwards, I went to the Sunday brunch at the Fairmont Montreux which was a magical experience. I went with our dear family friend Monica, which owns a beautiful annex up in the mountains of Montreux and is a superhost by Airbnb (you can read more about her Airbnb about my Gstaad Palace post). We got to know her very well with my family and she is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. I invited her for brunch together and had an amazing time. From the beautiful live piano music that echoed through the vast hall of the 5 star palace to the exquisite swiss pasteries, cheeses, meat and assortments of food and hospitable staff, it was an incredible experience. If you are ever in the area of Montreux, I definetly recommend to reserve a table for the sunday brunch to enjoy a true and authentic swiss dining experience.


Afterwards, I played video games with my friend Daniil and talked a bit. Finally, to conclude the evening, I went up to the Hotel Victoria, situaed in Glion, above the Geneva lake and enjoyed some delicious tea and ice cream with my friend Gioele. Afterwards, we layed on the reclining seats and enjoyed the amazing views and sun and had a delicious dinner of gnocci with tomato sauce, fresh from the alpine garden of the Victoria with freshly baked bread. It was stunning.

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All in all, it was a fantastic day and week and my last week of school will be next week for my final exams and then off to vacation, before coming back to term 5 in a couple of weeks! I’m literally pinching myself everyday living here as it is such an amazing and one-of-a-kind environment. Nevertheless, it’s definetly time to go see my family again and take a break. I’ll do a little more studying tonight and I am ready to go conquer those exams!

Have a most delightful Sunday and take care,

Igor

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The Montreux Riviera | Home to Hospitality, Jazz and Breathtaking Views

Nestled in the top, right corner of the beautiful lake Geneva sits the Montreux Riviera, under the majestic backdrop of the white, snowy Alps. Montreux has a population of approximately 25,000 inhbitants and is home to none other than Montreux Jazz Festival, Fete de Vinerons and many other regional and international events. Montreux is a beautiful place to live, relax and study. From the smell of freshly baked croissants and bread in the mornings coming from the bakeries to  swiss pasteries, the food culture of the region is immaculate. And if you are interested in mountain biking, photography, sailing, hiking or simply getting some fresh air and wellness, Montreux is the perfect place to be.

Not only are there many things to do in the region, but it is also the birthplace of Swiss hospitality many years ago. Many wealthy individuals and celebrities began traveling to the Swiss Riviera and Alps to ski and enjoy the healthy climate and promise of alpine adventure. Such guests demanded exquisite service tailored to precision and the highest of standards, thus Swiss hospitality was born. Swiss hospitality brought many important innovation to the industry, from precision, timemanagement, discretion and attention to detail among many other things, being the place to study all things hospitality. This is the reason why I chose to come to Switzerland to do my studies at Hotel Institute Montreux. Last week, I attended a masterclass at Hotel Institute Montreux, with Ben, who I now call my photo sensai. He taught me how to capture and edit photos, in which I applied to this blog post to provide you with some photos of the area.

Studying swiss hospitality and business administration in Montreux is a very rigorous, yet rewarding experience. Curriculum is composed of theoretical and practical classes, with mandatory internships between semesters around the world. The theory taught at school seamlessly merges with real-world application, which makes all the difference. Additionally, this education and internships taught me how to work with people from different nationalities and cultures in new environments and make new friends. I learned a lot more about business and feel much more confident and informed when it comes to starting my own businesses in the future and the investment is worth it.

Somedays, it’s difficult to live in Switzerland. In comparison to the USA, businesses close early, many places only take cash and the convenience of getting anything you want to buy is very difficult. Amazon is limited if even available, prices are expensive and it’s very old-fashioned at times. Additionally, the Swiss are very punctual and even plan weeks ahead to meet with friends, which I can’t get past because I usually meet my friends in the spur of the moment. These are some things that make me miss home.

Nevertheless, when it comes to hospitality and entreprenerial education, I find my current education far superior. It’s not a typical university, as my school is a private school. I am challenged daily, pushed to my limits and learn a lot of information that I can apply to my life. From events and banquets and learning managerial financial management and accounting, to learning real-world marketing, business presentations, resort planning, business plans, housekeeping, web design and coding, masterclasses, front office management, management and leadership, school trips and more, there is always more to do than time available and so much to learn. I stay busy, learn a lot and have fun too!

Montreux is a beautiful place to live and going for a run, hiking or simply stepping outside one already feels relaxed and at ease. It is a beautiful location, inspiring study environment and I’m happy to call it my temporary home away from home. And when I’m not studying, I like to enjoy the view.

Stay tuned for next week…I will definetly do some traveling and take some more pictures, history and moments in Switzerland and look forward to sharing them with you. If you are interested in learning more about living in Switzerland, my current education or anything, just leave a comment below and I’ll follow up with you. Until next time and

A bientot (see you soon)

– Igor


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A Most Interesting Week… and That’s an Understatement!

Fresh off the desk of Igor Miller

Montreux, Switzerland


Well, what a week!

Friday – Tropical  Theme Night

Last Friday night started off as a blast, being Tropical Theme Night at school. After surviving another week, it was finally time to let loose, eat great food and drinks, play games and party with classmates. Apart from having the best pulled pork and coconut cake, we had foosball, beer pong, karaoke, mojitos and more!


Afterwards, I went out with my friends, singing, dancing, and having a great time, and it was time to return back home at 2AM and at least get a little bit of sleep and be ready to go back to school at 6AM for… Europa Park excursion!

Saturday – Europa Park

Fun Facts: Europa-Park is the largest theme park in Germany, and the second most popular theme park resort in Europe, following Disneyland Paris. Each part of the park resembles a different country from the rides to food, drink, music and culture. Europa-Park is located in Rust, in south-western Germany, between Freiburg and Strasbourg, Alsace. It is privately owned and operated by the Mack Family.

Luckily, I came prepared and got in some good sleep on the 3 hour bus ride to Germany.

Sleeping on the bus ride to Europa Park

Sleeping on the bus ride to Europa Park

Once we got there, my friend Daniil and I sprinted for the rides and tried out all the separate attractions. We ate lots of pizza, “tasted” German beer and even won some prizes.

We won bears 🧸

We won bears 🧸

After a good 9 hours of fun, it was time to return back to school. Needless to say, I slept well.

Sleeping on the bus ride home

Sleeping on the bus ride home

Sunday / Tuesday – 48 Hours of Blindness & Swiss Medical System

This was quite a shocker. I went to bed with nothing hurting in my eye and woke up at 5AM due to a bad pain in my right eye, with the sensation as if a thorn was under my eyelid. After trying to wash it out for over 2 hours, I gave up and called the doctor.

The doctor told me to go to the hospital and I called my close friend to help me get there because I couldn’t see. They re-routed me to a eye hospital 40 miles away (yes, the Swiss have a hospital for everything) and sat there for a good 6 hours in urgent care waiting to get treated.

Finally, a doctor looked at my eye and found nothing… no sign of infection, nothing inside, just a very slightly scratched cornea from maybe something being there before. I received 4 weeks worth of eye drops, 1 week of antibiotics, and 1 week of vitamin a creme to expedite healing… and to put the cherry on top, a giant eye patch to make me look like I was going to the next shooting for Pirates of the Caribbean.

I don't know how my friend got me to smile for this picture

I don’t know how my friend got me to smile for this picture

I couldn’t really move me eyes and all and it was so painful I had to keep them closed. I couldn’t see for over two days.

I have to say though, it was a very interesting experience. I got a ” sneek peek” (yes, a horrible pun) and on a serious note about what those with blindness have to experience on a daily basis. Of course there were funny moments like trying to shave to go to school blind and I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working. Turns out, I grabbed the toothpaste and lathered it all over my face, rather than the cream! And I especially felt like a child again when my girl friends came over to feed me with a spoon. And I learned how to use voiceover (a iPhone feature for the visually impaired)

But what I did really get insight in was what challenges people due face with disability. Firstly, to be taken seriously and have people listen to them. When I was at the store, people communicate with my friends, not me. I was blind, not deaf for pete sakes! Secondly, I learned the reality that I literally take everything in my life for granted. The simplest things like putting my shoes on become a hard task to even located them in the first place without accidentally hitting my head against the wall.

Finally, and this may come as interesting, I learned to listen more to my heart and who I am and who others really are. Without the visual distraction, I could really instead focus on what I felt and really thought inside, concentrate more and not be distracted. I could focus not on the looks or the world and people but appreciate more of who they are just by their personality. This came as very interesting and some typical things such as listening to music or listening to audiobooks actually became the highlight of the day, because it made me see things from a new perspective.

Don’t judge others by their looks, judge people by their heart

So… on Wednesday it was off with the eye patches and instead….. A Wild Jungle Night in Africa

Wednesday – Africa Banquet

(Pictures will be ready and attached to next week’s posts)

Now this was a fantastic day! Not only could I see again but I came to school at 9AM and began working on food preparation for our Africa Banquet. I was our marketing manager, but instead came back to join the team and prepare the food. Our kitchen team was a little bit lost as to what was going on and luckily I have the knowledge and experience under my belt from my first kitchen internship last year to get things back in order. Again, one of the benefits of having an internship mandated education with real-world experience. We had to make snacks, a vegetarian and meat amuse bouche, starters, main courses and desserts for 80 people. Easy as pie. 🙂

I personally remained calm and we all helped prepare the mise en place, cut the food and cook. Unfortunately, our team didn’t have accurate recipes so I kind of just experimented making half of the dishes on the spot from previous recipes and techniques I learned. Don’t worry, the food did come out very good!

Upstairs, our entertainment and service team transformed the student cafeteria into a jungle, with incredible decorations, greeting cards, student names and ambiance.

The evening went by with great success… With incredible entertainment, dancing, food, games, prizes and music and everyone had a terrific time. After 8 weeks of preparation, hard work and blood, sweat and tears, we can proudly say, we did a great job and pulled off an amazing banquet!

Overall, another amazing week studying at the most amazing school. It’s a world class education and I’m so grateful to be sharing these moments with incredible students, friends, teachers and staff and everyday I’m learning something new.

There’s so much to do and I’m very happy and proud to to say that I am a student at #HIMontreux and to be #SwissEducated

See you next week… you’ll love the Banquet pictures 😉

Igor