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Island scholar prepares for ambassador role

Island scholar prepares for ambassador role

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by Ashford Peters

Just a year ago, young island scholar Anesia Richards had her eyes set on becoming possibly the first and youngest Vincentian with a doctorate in French.
Now, with a Bachelor’s degree in French and experience as a tour guide, she is positioning herself to better serve her country at an ambassadorial level in the tourism and hotel industry. {{more}}
The 24-year-old University of the West Indies (UWI) graduate has decided to blend her foreign language skills with studies in the area of Hotel and Tourism Management.
Richards will pursue a double Masters degree in Hotel and Tourism Management at the University of Perpignan in Nimes, France, as well as training from Ehurodip, a European Hotel Association.
Richards told Searchlight one of the reasons she decided to blend tourism and hotel studies with her French skills was to help break the language barrier this country and so many others in the English-speaking Caribbean face.
“I chose this programme to go along with the foreign language qualification because tourists are also Spanish, French, German, etc. And, one of the challenges faced by English-speaking countries trying to develop their tourism industries is language barrier.
“So, if you can have persons who are trained in foreign languages and are able to break down the language barriers then it can facilitate the development of the relationship with tourist and country,” she said.
She continued: “I have had experiences where I had been called upon to be a tour guide to take French tourists – tourists from Martinique, Guadeloupe and even France – around the country. There is always this rush on the part of tour guide operators to get guides who spoke French because, the point is, we don’t have many here. And so, you see where language could be a serious barrier in our progress where is tourism is concerned.”
Richards further said she would be the first Vincentian and possibly the first Caribbean national to attend the French-based university.
“Even now, I see myself as an ambassador. Because, I am going from St. Vincent, I am going with information about my country as a tourist destination, the Grenadines having been awarded recently the number one destination. And it gives me a chance to really bring to them a different way of living, giving them of my experience, as well as to learn from their experience at the end of the day,” she stated.
Asked why she chose France to study, Richards replied: “I can simply say that I appreciate the importance of being able to get a different experience, internationally. I appreciate the fact that one’s educational pursuits should not be restricted to just the Caribbean. I searched for a school in France, so I feel happy about it and I look forward to the experience.”
Richards, who is scheduled to leave for France on September 20, will potentially be the only person within the Ministry of Tourism with a combination of a first degree in French and a double Masters in Hotel and Tourism Management on completion of her studies.
The young lady, a devout member of the Seventh Day Adventist Thusia Church, expressed gratitude to the Almighty God for helping her to advance, despite challenges encountered at school because of her religious persuasion.

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