We interviewed our student, András Pallós (Tourism and catering BSc programme, Faculty of Business and Economics) about his experiences on the International Tourism and Hospitality Academy at Sea study trip to Croatia. The focus topic of this year’s ITHAS was "cultural heritage sites", so the programme aimed to give the participants the opportunity to get an insight into the practical challenges and problems to be solved in the field of cultural heritage tourism.
What were your motivations and expectations when you applied?
I thought it would be like any short period Erasmus mobility I have been participating before. Therefore, I thought it would be mainly about making friends and having fun, so all in all I expected less professional work. So, I would like to emphasise that it was very valuable professionally! So many professional experts were invited, I never thought I would meet them in person.
Tell us about the application process. There were quite a lot of applications, from which 9 students were finally selected.
There was an interview at the beginning: It was about how suitable you were to represent the Faculty, the University professionally, but at the same time how extroverted you are for networking with others. After that, we were called in for a meeting quite soon, where we were given details of the trip and how to apply for this short-term Erasmus mobility, so our participation was completely free of charge, and we even received a green travel grant because we went to Croatia by bus. Of course, with a grant like this, you must know that you have to write reports afterwards, maybe even give an oral presentation.
You have mentioned that the trip gave you a lot professionally, as a tourism student, what benefits do you see from your participation?
As I mentioned, we were invited and lectured by such professional authorities. Some people can say they once met Justin Timberlake in concert, but we can say
we met pioneers of global tourism! Professors from all over the world came to the programme, for example from Australia or even from Thailand.
It was also very interesting that even older professors could capture your attention with their lecturing style! We thought that the environment would distract us, because the lectures took place on the upper sundeck of the ship – which were headed to the Kornati Islands. But still, I think that we were able to learn more than if we had been sitting at the school desk.
Please tell us a little about the project you were working through the week.
There were smaller and larger projects and tasks, so there were some that focused on the lecture and some larger projects. It is important to note that we were assigned to 3 separate ships and the ships formed a team. These teams were mixed, so those of us who came from the same School were split up and there were Hungarian students on all 3 boats. The 3 teams competed with each other; I could compare it a bit to the freshmen’s camp.
There were two major "competitions" at the end of the week: one was a photo collection (which we won, by the way) and each team had to learn a Croatian song during the week, which was about 4 minutes. I do not speak Croatian, I have to tell you, but the Germans and Canadians probably struggled with the pronunciation even more than I did. We also had to do a choreography to this music and that made up the final night, where the teams did a 5–10-minute show. Everyone's performance was fantastic and of very high quality.
Can you highlight something you have learned there and took home with you?
Two things. One is that it has been a huge motivation for me to get engaged in tourism. I was not sure before that this was the path for me, but
now I am very motivated by it, I see my future in the tourism and hospitality industry!
The other is that I had an outstanding experience that I will always remember.