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Isa Peerlings sharing her experiences at Hotel Management School Maastricht | 11 april 2019

Why I chose for HMSM

Hi there, my name is Isa Peerlings and I am a fourth-year student at Hotel Management School Maastricht (HMSM). Being almost at the end of my time at HMSM, I have much to reflect upon and I am very excited to share my experiences at this amazing school with you!

My choice for HMSM came as a last-minute decision. I first wanted to study to become a kindergarten / primary school teacher but found this path to be too limited for my ambitions. My aunt, who teaches at the Hospitality Management School in Leeuwarden, advised me to come take a look at her school, as she thought this study might suit me well. After the first ten minutes of her tour through the school I was hooked on the international aim and the broad reach of the subjects. I didn’t feel the connection with that particular school yet though, and thus decided to visit HMSM during an open day. As soon as I stepped through the door I felt very welcome and the decision was made shortly after to apply. A few weeks after the selection days I heard I was accepted and could start my time at HMSM!

The start

The first semester was full of new impressions. The first week started with Boostcamp, which is an introduction week for the new students. We were introduced to the hospitality industry and to what is expected of an HMSM student. During the first semester, there were practical weeks for two weeks, every three weeks. These practical weeks took place in the Teaching Hotel in the castle next to the school, and in the school restaurant Refresh. Here I learned to work in each department of a hotel, including the housekeeping and kitchen. This was hard work but most of all, a lot of fun. At the end of the semester, each class organized a full gastronomical event for external guests. My class organized an event around the theme of pairing food to drinks, instead of drinks to food (which was my idea!).

Lyon, France; our first research at HMSM

Semester 2 revolved around a report that analysed a randomly assigned city. My city was Lyon, France. The lessons in this semester were designed to support and teach us how to analyse an area, to see how and if this area could be suitable for starting a hotel business. The first two semesters are very important, as you are required to obtain all 60/60 ECTs in the first year. I managed to get all 60/60 points and was very happy and proud when I received my “propedeuse”!

A bankrupt hotel

During the 3rd semester we worked with a hotel simulation program. This simulation program was set up around the concept that a fictitious hotel is bankrupt and that the group you’re in, has to get it up and running again. My group turned out to be the best of my class, but unfortunately didn’t win when the classes sparred against each other. Another important focus this semester is the preparation for the operational internship that would take place in the next semester.

On my way to Barcelona

My 4th semester was consumed by the first 5-month operational internship. This internship has to be abroad and has to take place in a four or five star hotel. Seeing as how I am not very much into the classical form of luxury, I applied for the five-star and simply crazy W Barcelona hotel. I worked in all of the food & beverage departments of this hotel, which was super intense but also a lot of fun. The best thing about this semester was definitely the experience of living abroad in a new city.

Back to school

In the 5th semester, every group gets an assignment from a hotel in The Netherlands, Germany or Belgium. I did a project for the Inntel Zaandam hotel, which you may know from the classical Dutch houses design. My group created a completely new concept for the banqueting function of this hotel.

Horizons in Hospitality

For the 6th semester, you can design your minors in any way you want. You can choose to do two minors at HMSM, do them at other Applied Sciences Universities, do a foreign exchange program instead of two minors.  And you can also exchange one minor for 2,5 months of voluntary work abroad. I now also had to choose the track I wanted to follow for the next 1,5 years: Horizons in Hospitality, Hotel Management or Foodservice. I chose to do Horizons in Hospitality, in order to explore the world beyond the hospitality business. During this minor I did a project for Hunkemöller.

I also chose to do voluntary work in the other half of the semester, during which I travelled to Cape Town, South Africa, where I worked in a children’s hospital. This was one of the best experiences in my life and the best choice I have made since starting HMSM. I got to work with children, did the fundraising for the hospital, made a new volunteer guide for the hospital and helped with administrative tasks. Aside from the volunteering, there was a lot of time to explore Cape Town. I also went on a three-week trip across South Africa. Exploring this new culture was amazing!  

Graduation time

Semester 7 is the so-called “graduation semester”. All students are divided into groups, and receive an assignment from an external client. This assignment can vary from creating a new food concept for a major brand, to working for the municipality – which was what we were assigned. I am doing a tourism project for the municipality Eijsden-Margraten, which has been very interesting so far.

Management internship

Almost there! Semester 8 will be my management internship. I already got accepted by Wink Events, an event agency in Amsterdam, which works with major global clients. I am very excited to see how I will experience this and will keep you posted in my next blog!

Student life

Aside from the lessons, the social scene at HMSM is buzzing. The student association Amphitryon (https://amphitryon.nl/en/) is very involved with the school and I truly recommend that you join this student association. It can have a very useful contribution to your study, both socially and educationally. Amphitryon has a bar next to the campus, organizes events and can help out with tutoring lessons.

Campus life

In the first year, it is mandatory to live at the student campus for six to twelve months, which is a crazy but great experience. It really allowed me to get to know everyone and to build friendships for life. Because of the small and often-changing classes, it is easy to get to know everyone’s face and within a year I knew all 150 students in my year by name.

Why Hotel Management School Maastricht?

What I love about this school is the variety of choices you are able to make. When searching for an internship, I realized that my choices were limitless. I could go anywhere and work in almost any company around the world. HMSM has also contributed a lot to my personal development. I have not yet found any study that puts as much effort as HMSM in making sure all students leave the school as professionals, both in knowledge and personality.

My time at HMSM has been amazing and I would recommend this study to everyone.

Are you interested in studying Hotel Management at one of the best hospitality management schools in The Netherlands? Check their website for more information: https://www.hotelschoolmaastricht.nl/home-en.

Follow HMSM on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for an impression of student life at Hotel Management School Maastricht.

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