Pal Hodosi says his experience at SAIMIA was very good overall. “Half of the programme is business, and I really needed the accounting courses."
Pal Hodosi, soon-to-be Bachelor of Hospitality Management from Saimaa University of Applied Sciences (SAIMIA), was supposed to become an IT professional.
“At the end of high school, I realized that I am more interested in working with people than sitting in front of a computer,” Hodosi says.
Therefore, instead of applying to university studies, he started working on a cruise ship that sailed on the Caribbean Sea.
“I worked as a headwaiter, and I realized that I would like to run a restaurant,” Hodosi adds. At the same time, he became aware that he needed to study how to manage a tourism and hospitality business.
“I just googled ‘free universities in Europe’. That was how I found Finland and SAIMIA. I sent them an email and they answered me quickly, nicely and openly. A few years later, I applied to study at SAIMIA,” Hodosi elaborates.
Before sending his application, Hodosi had worked as a waiter for more than three years. Thanks to his work experience, he was able to finish his studies more quickly than students usually do.
“During the first academic year, I realized that some of the courses were easy for me, and I asked if it was possible to study faster. I ended up studying 2.5 years instead of 3.5, but I do not feel like I did something special,” Hodosi says modestly. “And of course I had to think about time more than my classmates because I am already 27 years old.”
When Hodosi started his studies at SAIMIA, the university had campuses in Lappeenranta and Imatra, and the Degree Programme in Tourism and Hospitality Management was carried out in Imatra. As of autumn 2019, all of the degree programmes will take place in Lappeenranta.
During his studies, Hodosi lived in Imatra and Lappeenranta and completed two internships abroad.
“After the first academic year, I worked for a small family-run hotel in Greece. The owner taught me how to treat customers – when customers’ taxis arrived and we heard the sound of the luggage wheels, we went to welcome them.”
After the second academic year, Hodosi spent the summer working as a management trainee in a four-star hotel in Hungary, which is his home country.
“I learned how to motivate the staff, for example. The hotel was situated close to the Austrian border, and as the salaries are higher in Austria, there was a need for motivating. I also had an opportunity to see how to manage a business in a hotel chain that has hotels in different cities,” Hodosi says.
He now lives in Lappeenranta.
“In autumn 2019, I had two courses and my thesis left, so I decided to move from Imatra to Lappeenranta and study at the Skinnarila campus. They have more opportunities in elective studies, and I also enjoy the atmosphere and the facilities here at the Skinnarila campus. They have a good gym, a library, and a sports hall.”
In Lappeenranta, the SAIMIA and LUT University campuses are situated next to each other in the Skinnarila district, and there are about 8 000 students overall.
Nevertheless, soon it will be time to say goodbye to the campus – and to Finland, too. After graduation, Pal Hodosi will move to Scotland.
“I got a job as a night auditor in a big, chained four-star hotel.”