10 Things Not To Do In An Interview

We’ve all had those interviews that have gone embarrassingly wrong. You might have stumbled while talking, laughed a little too loud, or let it slip that you hated your previous boss. Here is a list of small errors to avoid during an interview. I have learned many of these through personal experience, and hearing the experiences of others.

1. If the interviewer offers you a drink, take water NOT coffee. The last thing you need is for a huge coffee stain to join in on the interview. Plus, if they give you a cookie with the coffee, the crumbs will spill everywhere, and next thing you know, you can’t answer the questions correctly because you are distracted by the mess on your clothes.

2. DO NOT ever try to make small talk in your second language. It is awfully humiliating to have your interviewer correct your grammar when you are commenting on the beautiful view. Best option when choosing which language to speak: take the cue from your interviewer. Chances are, they will test you on the second language listed on your CV anyway.

3. DO NOT look out the window when talking to the interview, no matter how therapeutic it seems when you are nervous.

4. ALWAYS know the name of your interviewer. That way you can avoid saying to the person at the reception “Oh I forgot, it’s something like….”

5. ALWAYS dress appropriately for the type of job you are applying for. Do not wear Converses to an interview at a five star hotel. I know it sounds obvious, but you wouldn’t believe the stuff people think they can get away with.

6. Your first question for your interviewer should NOT be “Where can I park my car?” I once met a girl who did this, and she only got interviewed for 10 minutes before getting rejected a week later.

7. DO find a healthy balance between professional and friendly. If your interviewer is taking you for a tour of the building, feel free to ask them as many questions as you want about the company. Wait, here’s the catch: you want to avoid questions that you would only need to know if you worked there. This makes you come off as cocky because you think you already have the job. Honestly, if you run out of general questions about the company, ask the interviewer how long they have worked there for. It might start up an interesting conversation, but don’t get to engrossed in it. Remember, they are not your friend now, and most certainly won’t be if they become your boss.

8. Ladies: DO NOT cross your legs if you are wearing a skirt! If it rides up, you will be put in an awkward position of needing to pull it down in front of your interviewer. There are some details they don’t need to know.

9. DO NOT make a joke, no matter how funny it sounds in your head. Once you actually work there, you will be given a chance to display your brilliant sense of humour. But during the interview? Not really the right time.

10. ALWAYS try to tell the interviewer what they want to hear. There is a big difference between this and lying. Telling them what they want to hear is like, if they ask you if you are free on the weekends to work, your answer should be yes. They don’t want to hear that Saturday night is movie night for you and your significant other, they want to know that you care about the job. The only exception is if you are applying for a part time job, and they know prior to your interview that you can only work a certain amount of days because you have previous commitments.

One Week in the Mediterranean = A Million Memories

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Welcome to

An amazing week of sightseeing, eating, drinking, swimming and enjoying. Malta served as our well deserved holiday after all the hard work we had put into third year.

The main street in the area where we stayed. Here, we could buy a Heineken for 1.50 euros. We ended up in a bar, played pool, then found some swings on the way home. After some tequila...well, you know.

Best seafood I've had in a long time! This was our lunch after a boating trip to the Grottos, which are these massive caves on the shores of the Mediterranean. I didn't take pictures on the boat because the waters were so choppy, and the last thing I needed was for my phone to fall in the water!

The clubbing district! Cheapest drinks ever...and I mean dirt cheap. There were people giving out vouchers on the street, that allowed one free drink with every drink purchased. So basically, two drinks for less than 2 euros. In Switzerland, we would pay around 20 euros, so we were pretty excited.

One of my top three favorite pictures from the trip! We climbed over all these rocks to watch the sunset. It was pretty worth it!

The last day of the trip! We went on this amazing boat for 6 hours, where we could go swimming at different points. They had activities like snorkeling and banana boating (I didn't do either). This was even the first time I saw an ice cream boat - it's like an ice cream truck, but a boat because they cater to people who rent boats to go swimming! It was the perfect way to end a beautiful trip!

After the boating trip, we went to the top of this massive cliff. Honestly, even looking down that cliff would make you appreciate your life so much more. This picture is everyone getting ready for the sunset

And there it goes!

Thank you to those people who made the trip so special for me! I could not have imagined another way to finish off the best two years of my life! I miss you! ❤

Henley on Thames: the life, the lessons and the Regatta

Have you ever wondered what working in a quaint English town would be like? One with a scenic river, traditional pubs and churches that are centuries old. Well, I spent an incredible six months working at a boutique hotel in a town exactly like this one.

Henley-on-Thames


This experience was not quite the same as the one in Spain because I learned more about work ethic and office politics. Over the six months, I formed strong friendships with a few of my colleagues, who I keep in touch with till today. By the end of the internship, I realized how few people know that employees liking their jobs, and managers giving them a reason to go hand in hand.

Many people in “powerful” positions (I put powerful in quotations because they might not be that important) love to throw their weight around. Human nature takes over when people think hold power over others, but interestingly enough, their power trips are often misplaced. If they don’t use their positions for the general well-being of a company or those around them, you begin to wonder if all they have is misplaced confidence.

Funny story. There was a girl I worked with who was not in a managerial position, but was very close to the boss. She felt that was her cue to mistreat everyone else because she knew she could get away with it. Here is what happened:

Good friends with the boss + boss wanting to be friends with her + not caring about the well being of his employees = unhappy employees + poor management + her misplaced confidence

My internship in Henley taught me a million more lessons like this one. The best advice I can give from this situation is: If they are not important to your job, don’t take them too seriously. On a different note, go to Henley during the summer time. It is lovely during the Regatta, which are the rowing races. It’s small but definitely worth the visit.

10 Things I Have Learned From the Hospitality Industry

I have only been in this industry for 3 years, and I could probably write 50 blog entries detailing all the lessons I have learned. I don’t want to bore anyone, but I would like to share the 10 most important life lessons that other people have unintentionally taught me.

1. Nobody cares
If your dog died, or if you didn’t get enough sleep the previous night. They are paying for a service, and they expect to get their money’s worth. This goes for anyone you meet in life – people will only care until it matters to them. Consider yourself lucky if you find a handful of people who genuinely have your best interests at heart.

2. No, your co-worker does not have to be your best friend
In a work environment, everyones primary reason for being there is to work. So if your co-worker chooses to have after work drinks with the people in the next department and does not include you, it is no big deal! As long as you two can work well together, that is all that should matter. In general, if you can develop a friendship with someone, then that’s great! If not, don’t sweat it. There are millions of people out who would love to meet you.

3. Your boss knows best, no matter what
If your boss says you need to fix your hair, you need to fix your hair. Even if you think your idea is great, do not get carried away and force it on anyone above you. Your boss is running a business and they need to keep everyone in line in order to make their business work. Bosses don’t have the time to insult you, so take their criticism constructively. It can be difficult to draw the line between friends and friendly, but it is important to do so in all aspects of life and not just at work.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
The more questions you ask, the less likely you are to make mistakes. No matter how much experience you have, there is always something new to learn. People will respect you if you are willing to acknowledge that you don’t know everything. So ask away! Chances are someone is dying to feel important and lecture you.

5. For girls only! If there is another girl around your age who holds a higher position, she will not hesitate to be a bitch to you
We can be so supportive of each other, and we can viciously hate on each other. Having grown up in an all girls school, I learned the hard way that girls will always have some sort of an issue with another girl. The funny thing is, the issues are usually very superficial, and are caused by insecurity. If a girl is insecure enough, she will be a bitch to someone because she is jealous of their handbag. The moral of the story is: try to read deeper into why someone is behaving the way they are. It will give you a better understanding of how to deal with the situation at hand. And remember, work is work. You do not need to have causal conversation with the girl who is awful to you, but a polite hello is necessary to make your day less awkward.

6. People will stop at nothing to get what they want
Especially if they are paying for a service! They lose nothing by trying really hard, even though you have said no a million times. Eventually, they will back down as long as you stand your ground and you know what you are doing is right.

7. Don’t be upset if someone else gets preferential treatment
Picking favourites is a part of life. I do it, you do it, yet we don’t like it when we are not picked as a favourite. It is impossible to read someone else’s mind, and you don’t really want to ask your co-workers why they prefer the person who works the exact same job as you. In this case, try to learn something from this person. They might have qualities that your organization thinks is good for their business, or they might have a work method that is more efficient. You can only improve from being around people like this, so don’t hesitate to take advantage of it. You only have a problem when everyone starts disliking you all together.

8. Try to recognize how different cultures react to different situations
If you make a joke and the guy from another country takes it seriously, the only reason may not be that he is trying to be a jerk. When English is someone’s second language, they may be translating everything you say into their Native language. The joke that has you in hysterics might offend them, and visa versa. They will not think less of you if you ask why they seemed upset by what you said. In fact, they would probably appreciate the gesture and make an effort to get to know you better. Admitting to a mistake is actually stepping up, and not stepping down. So step up! You will find yourself surrounded by more quality people.
Fact: Apparently, the TV show “Friends” is not funny when translated into German

9. People will try to step on you to get ahead
It’s a fact of life, accept it and learn how to deal with it. This goes back to #2 on this list – nobody at work is obligated to be your friend. If they feel vulnerable enough, they will attempt to bring you down. If they are charismatic, they will even twist your words into a statement that makes you look bad, and makes them look good for being so concerned. Again, try to understand why they are like that, and you will get much further ahead. The TV dramas might say otherwise, but too much plotting and scheming can blow up in your face.

10. Do what you think is right
When worse comes to worse, and you can’t get a hold of someone else for an opinion, just do what you think is right. Explain to your boss the next day why you took that decision, and they will appreciate your honesty even if they disagree with you. A huge part of personal growth is being able to think on your feet in an emergency. You will get so much more out of your experiences if you learn how to. Independence is an attractive quality.

What a sunny 3 months can teach you

When I look back over the past few years, I try to think of the fonder memories rather than the more unpleasant ones. My mind always wanders to my first summer away from home -summer of 2009 when I did my first internship in Marbella Spain.

Although I could only stay for 3 months as a non EU national, I would not hesitate to call them the best 3 months of my life to date. I spend carefree days working (the job was relatively easy), time in the sun, sightseeing and going to bars and nightclubs. I was almost overwhelmed by the amount of experience I was getting, and by how much I was learning. I found that Spanish people are amongst the warmest people I have ever met. Even though there is a quite a strong language barrier, I realized how different their lifestyle is t ours here in North America. The “fastpaced-always in a hurry – no time to breathe” does not exist there. Once, I was twenty minutes late for work, and I ran in all apologetic and ready to be yelled at. The reply I got when I offered to work later was “Don’t worry, nobody noticed”

cobblestone streets in TarifaGoing out with the Spanish is completely different from going out for drinks in North America. They genuinely do it for social purposes – to have a chat and a laugh, and to a enjoy. Now that was a lifestyle that I got used to. Not having a ton of stress from work and leading a laid back life. Someone recently asked me “If they are more relaxed there, do you think they suffer less from high blood pressure?” I laughed at first, but when I thought about it, I figured maybe they do. When I left Marbella, I felt like I had a sumer holiday with only a bit of work to keep me occupied.

If we take the time to travel, and observe when we do, what we can learn from foreign cultures is infinate. You then start to question you own lifestyle. Am I living the right way? Do I pay too much attention to issues that are less important? Do I treat those around me the way I should? Oprah always says “Live your best life.” Learning more from others who are different from you is one of the best ways to achieve “your best life.”

And so it begins

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View from my first year dorm

I have always been the type of person to have a plan, no matter how small the decision is. It could be what I’m going to eat that night, or where I want to move to. But it was my parents’ plan for me that turned my life upside down. A plan I never would have thought of.

That is the beginning of the story of how I ended up in Switzerland. Both my parents and myself felt that I should have a broader experience, and the best way to get that was to leave Canada all together. I realized that not only is Switzerland known for it’s amazing chocolates and expensive watches, it also has many famous hotel management schools. I found this fascinating, and soon enough, casual talk on the subject had turned into a trip to Switzerland to visit the schools. What really struck me at first was that this country looks exactly like a postcard. I could honestly saythat Switzerland is picture perfect. Anyway, long story short, I picked a school and spent countless hours filling out application forms, applying for visas, and writing essays about my personal goals. I was all set and so pumped to embark on this new experience.

I could go on forever if I wrote about everything that happened in that first semester, but truthfully, those details are not even important. That semester flew by, and by the end of it, I had met so many fantastic people and had experienced college life in the middle of the Swiss alps! I was all set to start my internship in beautiful Spain, but as I packed my bags I realized how excited I was for the second semester. Little did I know that was when my life would really start.I was surprised at how many people are afraid of leaving what they are used to. When I started to tell people about this program, they mostly said “Oh aren’t you scared to leave?” or “won’t you miss your parents?” or “you’re seriously going to do that?” I answered respectively, “sort of”, “of course!” and “yes, I am because this is what I need to do” Then I started to realize that people have their reasons for staying within their comfort zone. Sometimes, it’s because they don’t want to drift away from their friends. Other times, it is mainly the unsettling fear of the unknown getting the best of them. To each their own right?

The same view 4 months later. 1 semester down, 2 more to go!

Moral of the story? Do it! Take a chance, go on a trip, study abroad, meet new people. I was talking to this guy a few months ago who went on a trip to Turkey as a part of his university course, and loved it. I asked him why, he said “you don’t really know who you are until you go outside of your comfort zone” I couldn’t have agreed more. Putting yourself in a completely foreign environment allows you to see the big picture, because you meet so many different kinds of people. I began to understand why people are the way they are. I could consider that maybe it’s cultural factor, or perhaps in their home country they come from a social circle where their behavior is acceptable. Don’t get me wrong, I am still working on this three years later, but when I saw a different life, my current one fell into perspective. You will start to understand what is really important to you, and as time goes on, your goals and how you can reach them will become more clear.

Would you take a chance like this?