Revenue from tourism is huge in Andrea’s home country of Guatemala, and the potential is even greater.
For small companies, however, the skills and knowledge necessary to tap this opportunity can be elusive. Among
other obstacles,Guatemalans typically lack access to the quality and variety of educational and professional opportunities that North Americans take for granted.
“We don’t have the wide array of majors that U.S. universities have,” Andrea says.
Motivated by her dream to help develop Guatemala, Andrea pursued an MS in Service Leadership and Innovation from RIT Online. She plans to launch a consulting firm that will share her knowledge with small tourism companies. “Having a U.S. education will make me more marketable to clients,” she says.
Currently employed as an editor at the Guatemalan office of a U.S. agency, Andrea recently worked for the Guatemala Tourism Board. At both jobs, she’s found her newfound knowledge directly applicable.
“At RIT, they teach you to think differently, to find new ways to achieve your goals,” she says. At the tourism board, Andrea was responsible for creating a printed guide describing Spanish schools. But the project was jeopardized by lack of funding. Inspired by her studies to find another way, Andrea proposed creating the guide in an online rather than print format and doing the translation herself—and succeeded.
“RIT taught me to look forward,” she says, “not to limit myself to what I have at hand but to consider different ways to accomplish a goal.”
Finding a way to fund her own graduate studies also required a creative approach. Thanks to RIT’s affiliation with the Organization of American States, she obtained an OAS Academic Scholarship for Graduate Study.
“The RIT Online portal is easy and accessible.
I liked that I could study anytime, anywhere. For someone
with a busy schedule, it’s perfect.”
Andrea was newly married when she began her RIT Online studies. For a year and a half, she managed to juggle full-time work, school assignments, and family responsibilities.
The travel that her tourism job involved offered downtime that Andrea used to do school work on her laptop. She also devoted evenings and weekends to study. “I liked that I could study anytime, anywhere,” she says. “For someone with a busy schedule, RIT Online is perfect.”
Andrea found the interactions with other RIT Online students a bonus. “I had expected mostly one-on-one interaction with a professor,” she says, “but I also benefited from the discussions and ideas from other students.”
Getting accustomed to online study was smooth.
“The RIT Online portal is easy and accessible,” Andrea adds. She also felt supported by her academic adviser and the ways that student services are provided. “Even if you’re not on campus, RIT gives you options, and I liked that.”
It’s an opportunity for which Andrea is grateful, and she intends to maximize the benefits. “Studying through RIT Online is a blessing, not just for me but for everyone in my country.”