A gap year for grown ups

19 June, 2018

A gap year for grown ups

Elena is traveling the world on a working schedule that works for her.

By Swiss Education Group



Imagine quitting your job to travel the globe. We’ve all dreamed about it (admit it!) but not many of us have the gumption to actually do it.

After 10 years in the hotel industry, working with some of the best 5 star hotels in the world, Elena has found a way to combine her skills into a transportable business that gives her the personal freedom she was looking for.

9 months ago, Elena opened 5 Stars Training, a consultancy company that offers tailor-made training and coaching sessions for professionals in the hospitality industry. Focusing on sales, service, leadership and diplomatic & business etiquette, she provides courses in English and Russian fine-tuned to meet the individual needs of each company.

Gap year with possibilities

What was your motivation behind taking a gap year?

I am someone that loves to travel and thrives on the road.

Since graduation, I always dreamed of taking a gap year to travel to the places I had never been. But my career in the hotel industry was successful and I was being promoted so the timing never seemed right.

The original spark that made me realize it could be possible, came from someone from my hospitality network. Her team needed phone etiquette training and she contacted me knowing I had expertise from my work experience. After completing the successful training, I realized this is something that I could turn into a business I could travel with.

At the age of 33, why is now the perfect time for you to take a gap year?

After 11 years in the hotel industry, I have paid my dues and have achieved many of the professional milestones I set out to do. I feel that today, I am in a position where I have strong skills and knowledge to pass on and believe that I will still be valued when I eventually want to return to a full-time position.

How did you build up your business in such a short period of time?

Between the contacts, I had from my previous experience in the hotel industry and the alumni association with Swiss Education Group, I had an instant network that I could work with. For example, when I first arrived in Colombia, I immediately reached out to the local Alumni Chapter President who was able to help me.

The network that we created in Switzerland is amazing – everywhere I go, I try to find Swiss Education Group alumni. This is how I got my first clients.

Postgraduate diploma in hotel management

What are your plans after this year is complete?

I’m still not decided on my long-term plans. Running your own business offers more freedom but of course offers less security. Every day I need to be proactive, because you can’t ever be sure when the next paycheck will come. I have learned a lot in a very short period of time and I have realized how much I enjoy doing trainings. I think in the future I see myself doing this as a job I continue on the side – if I ever settle down that is.

How did your studies at Hotel Institute Montreux help you get to where you are today?

HIM was one of the best times of my life! Living and studying in Switzerland was a magnificent experience. I think the most important part of my Swiss education was the practical side of my business studies.

As a graduate from HIM, even if you’ve never worked in the industry, you will know what you need to do thanks to the practical experience.

I still remember my first day on the job in Front Office as Guest Service Officer, I knew the system and I knew how to do my job even on my first day. It was very easy for me, compared to my colleagues who did not have a similar education.

Postgraduate in Hotel Management in Montreux

Elena Drozd graduated in 2007 with a Post Graduate Diploma in Hotel Management

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By Swiss Education Group