Farida Elashmawy, on how she impressed her colleagues on her first day on the job
April 26, 2023
All Knowledge Areas
*Interview by Sonia Alegre, Schiller Alumni
Farida Elashmawy graduated from Schiller Madrid with a Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality and Tourism Management in 2019. She is currently working as export manager for Latin America for an international company in insulation technology. She has a strong expertise in the hospitality sector having worked both in events and guest relations in luxury hotels. She speaks fluent English, French, Spanish and Arabic and is based in Cairo, Egypt.
In this interview she tells Sonia Alegre how much she learned by doing, so much in fact that in her first day of work her colleagues were impressed she seemed to know what needed to be done. She also remembers fondly her professors and the staff, that made sure she had everything she needed to succeed at her studies in Madrid.
How did you get to Schiller?
Schiller came as a surprise, it wasn´t planned at all. I was looking for universities in the US, but then I realized the US was too long a flight from Cairo. A family friend then recommended Schiller and I thought it would be great to get an American education while learning Spanish.
It was a big adventure for me at the time. I didn’t know anyone, and I had never been to Spain, but the staff at the university were very helpful, specially, Paloma Mesonero, who helped me find a place, with my NIE, and, Lola, who pushed me to learn Spanish fast.
What's it like to study at Schiller International University, Schiller? Tell us your typical daily routine
Studying at Schiller will remain one of the best decisions I have taken in my life. I am grateful to where I am because of the University.
I studied hospitality and tourism management and, one of the best things was having practical lessons. Especially the ones with professor Edgar Barroso. He would take us every week to a certain hotel, like Eurostars, or to restaurants, and we would get to see how the operations in the hotels really worked, and that has been really helpful.
We also had Alexandra Aaron, with whom we had to do practical projects and imagine that we were opening our own restaurants, making the plan and the strategy, why are you placing such tables, etc, and it was super fun. The hotel business with Barroso made me love it more and more.
As for daily routine, I joined Schiller in 2016. Later on in 2017 I joined the Student Council for 3 years. We used to hang out a lot in the back of the campus and go to the cafeteria across the street. I also used to work in the reception as part time job and I used to help with the events, with the graduations, etc. I tried as much as possible to volunteer in everything I could. I volunteered in the COP 25 and was part of the organization thanks to the university.
Does the campus provide everything that students need?
I can’t speak for the new campus, but the old one was special. Regardless how small it was, the staff made sure to provide us with everything we needed, starting from BBQ to Halloween parties.
Why would you recommend studying at Schiller International University, Schiller?
For its diversity. Studying at Schiller helped me to explore other cultures and understand the world we are living in. I even got to meet a new friend, he’s Egyptian / American, but the crazy part is that his mother used to work with my grandfather!
Also, it was a very practical education, you get to experience it and you learn by doing, it is not about learning by heart but about seeing it and experiencing it. When I started working at the hotel after graduating, everyone was impressed and surprised that I knew all that had to be done perfectly and that I had the background and that I had been taught all of it at my classes. So, it was very practical and useful.
I also liked having one class a month so you can really concentrate on one subject in depth.
How does Schiller International University, Schiller help any student to succeed in any industry?
Schiller will remain a part of my success in life. Our professors make sure we understand everything before letting us proceed to the next chapter. When I worked at the hotel, my colleagues and boss, although they didn’t know the university, they knew there was this person who had come from a place that had taught her all the practicalities of the hospitality industry and that didn’t need any further training. So I was a big asset for the hotel and that was thanks to Schiller and the professors.
What memories do you keep from the Madrid campus?
Well, Professor Pinto will always remain in my heart, Pinto and his thinking and everything! But what I will always remember is feeling like home, even when I would have my breakdowns, as it´s hard sometimes when you are so young living by yourself, and you are far away from home. But I will always remember having the professors with me, always having my back even with them sharing with us their phone numbers in case we needed help with anything, and I could always call them and count of them.
Spain will also have a special place in my heart always, and I do recommend the Madrid campus because you feel at home, you feel love and there is a special connection between each other in this campus, great professors, like Alessandra Aaron, who understood us, knew what we needed and knew how to guide us cause you always have your hesitations when it comes to what degree to follow and they are always there for you.
How can aspiring Schiller students be prepared for applying?
They shouldn’t be prepared they should just be themselves and follow their heart. They will have someone from behind guiding them, they have their back there, they are in their second home, they will love it and as soon as they step a foot inside, they will not want to go back.