Students examine international hospitality best practices through study broad

Prestigious Statler Foundation gift opens doors for students’ educational travel through Eastern Europe

Maureen Shannon

Seven students from the American College of Management and Technology (left to right) Erica Standish, Brad Rader, Caitlyn Peterson, Professor Ted Ganster, Jessica Grant, Michael Thering, Hazuki Murata, Alycia Rogers traveled to the Hotel Cattaro in Kotor, Montenegro as part of their study abroad trip.

As part of a study abroad opportunity, students from the School of Hospitality and Service Management at Rochester Institute of Technology had the chance to take in the beauty of Eastern Europe and use it as a platform to study first-hand one of the area’s growing industries, travel and tourism.

The students are currently attending hospitality classes at the American College of Management and Technology, RIT’s campus in Dubrovnik, Croatia. They completed an independent study course where they traveled to several four- and five-star hotels and resorts in Croatia and the surrounding region to research and document best practices.

Over the spring quarter, the students traveled to Bosnia, Montenegro, Istria and several locations in Croatia, to meet with hotel managers and staff at each site to learn about hotel design trends, employee education and work experience, customer service and guest satisfaction, and the effects of European Union accession on the hospitality industry.

“This was an excellent opportunity to be able to fully embrace a new culture and walk of life. In an increasing global economy, the adventure is a valuable experience for those entering the hospitality industry,” says Michael Thering, a fourth-year hospitality student from E. Amherst, N.Y.

Thering was one of seven hospitality students who were selected to participate in this program through a gift by the Statler Foundation. The foundation, based in Buffalo, provides funding for teaching, research, scholarships and facilities to further develop the science of running hotels and restaurants. The RIT hospitality program received a $35,000 gift from the foundation for students participating in a study abroad program. Each student in the program received a stipend to cover their travel, lodging and field trip expenses.

“I experienced a very good time here in Dubrovnik,” says Hazuki Murata, a third-year hospitality student from Yokohama, Japan. “Also, I had many opportunities to go around Bosnia, Montenegro, some islands around Croatia, too. I love the people living here and the life here. I hope to come back here next quarter.”