Why it’s the perfect time for Saudis to study hospitality.
Abdul Latif Jameel’s alarm clock wakes him up before 7 a.m. in his dorm room in a castle overlooking Lake Geneva. He gets up, puts on a suit and inspects his appearance before heading to class. With his outfit choice and million-dollar view, Jameel’s experience as a first year college student isn’t a typical one.
The former palace hotel Jameel is living and studying in first opened in 1902, and resembles a castle from a Harry Potter scene. The grand building is now home to the Swiss Education Group’s (SEG) Hotel Management School, where Jameel is studying hospitality and management, a field that he says not everyone understands.
“This stereotype exists that hospitality is just serving people or cleaning bedrooms in a hotel, but that’s not true at all. It’s a huge industry with lots of potential around the world,” said Jameel, after just finishing up lunch in the school’s cafeteria.
The stillness and crisp air in the tiny Swiss village of Caux is much different than the busy streets Jameel is used to in Jeddah.
Less than a year into the program, Jameel has not only learned a tremendous amount about the industry, but also about himself.
“Aside from hospitality, the school teaches you to be a way better human being because of the personal development classes. I’ve seen so many people change from the first week – they’re more strong, confident, courageous, curious, and have a much broader view of the world,” said Jameel.
Jameel isn’t entirely sure where his studies will take him, but he plans on gaining experience in Europe and then eventually working in the Middle East and Saudi Arabia. Acknowledging Vision 2030, Jameel sees huge potential in hospitality in Saudi Arabia.
Each year, SEG holds two International Recruitment Forums (IRF) in the town of Montreux, on the shore of Lake Geneva. Recruiters from high-end names like Four Seasons, Disney, Hyatt and hundreds of others come to interview students for internships and jobs.
Meet the SEG Students from the GCC
HATEM ALI AL MUTAIRI
Third Year Student
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
“There’s a huge gap in the hospitality industry in Saudi, but the government plans to make this industry bigger. We can help because we’ve learned a lot here and we can bring back our knowledge to fill in that gap.”
Second Year Student
“When the oil is finished, we will rely on tourism in Qatar, so I plan to be part of the industry. Qatar is growing so much, especially for the World Cup that’s coming, so it’s an exciting time.”
First Year Student
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
“My family has a catering business in Jeddah, so I will learn more about culinary arts in Switzerland and then go back. I also plan to start a French cuisine restaurant in Jeddah.”
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Alumni, SEG Ambassador for GCC
“A big part of Vision 2030 relies on hospitality and tourism. Not to mention the huge number of religious tourism that’s already in place and is looking to improve. It’s really the time for us to be processionals in this field, to lead it and make a change.”
THE SEG HAS FIVE SCHOOLS
Switzerland is well known as the birthplace of hospitality. It’s that reputable title, plus the breathtaking scenery and diverse culture that lures students to the country.
- César Ritz Colleges
Gaining inspiration from César Ritz, the pioneer of luxury hotels, this school is spread across three campuses and focuses on hospitality, tourism, business and entrepreneurial spirit.
- Culinary Arts Academy
With two separate campuses in both the French-speaking and German-speaking part of Switzerland, students focus on French and Italian dishes and can specialize in Swiss pastry or the art of chocolate.
- Hotel Institute Montreux
Students learn Swiss hospitality, along with American business management, and can specialize in finance, marketing, human recourses or luxury business management.
- International Hotel and Tourism Training Institute
This boutique style hospitality school offers a focus on design. On campus, students spend time in the design studio, and off campus visit various design companies.
- Swiss Hotel Management School
Students live and study in a former palace-hotel and learn all aspects of hotel management.