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Anesia graduates with double Master’s

Anesia graduates with double Master’s

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Anesia Richards may soon be a familiar name in the Tourism sector in this country.

The 1998 Island Scholar graduated with a double Master’s from Europe’s top hotel and tourism management school at Nimes in the South of France called the Institut Vatel or University of Vatel. But Anesia hasn’t just achieved, she has excelled. Not only was she the first Vincentian to have attended the elite French school, she was consistently top of her class throughout the one-year programme. {{more}}

The first Master’s degree she attained was in Jobs, Transport, Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure and from that she got the award of “Master Engineer”, a title given to outstanding students. Her classmate Cheng Weng from China who was second also received the title. The other Master’s degree she received was in Hotel and Tourism Management from the European Hotel School’s Association, EURODHIP.

But her achievements didn’t come easy. The 25-year-old said that she was forced to see her adulthood in a way that she had never seen it before. She said many of her classmates broke down on the job because of the intense work and from the culture shock of living in France.

She revealed, “We had to work like any member of staff at the various banquets and weddings held on the same day at the luxurious first class facility. This was part of the practical sessions for which we were evaluated . The French like to sip their wine and savour their food, so that meant long nights of catering. The University of the West Indies, UWI where I did my degree in French, had six different subject areas but the double Master’s programme had 14. This kind of pressure caused many of my classmates to break down.”

She described her experience in France as the most challenging so far in her life. This comes from a young woman who while pursuing her degree at the UWI St. Augustine, had to take some time off from classes to give her brother who had lukaemia, bone marrow. But despite her donation, he eventually died.

She confessed, “If my pillow could talk, they would tell of the many nights I cried, but Vatel University was not a place where anyone was going to lighten your burden or feel sorry for you. You came to work and you had to work. Some of the people I encountered in France were cold and insensitive at times. They referred to me as “the black girl,” but I realised that I had to endure. In the end everybody knew me as the Vincentian who was delegate of the class and who gave my country a record of academic excellence. So eventually my consistency won their respect.”

It was this sense of purpose that made Anesia shine, not only as a student, but as an excellent ambassador for her country. When she collected the prize for being top in her class she was recognised by country, not so much by her name as one excited lecturer shouted “St.Vincent!”

She reflected, “As an Island Scholar I had to make my country proud, it was the money of the government and people of St.Vincent and the Grenadines that paid for my education in France. I had to make sure that their money did not go to waste. It was cheaper to send me to a tourism and hospitality school in the West Indies, but I was seen as an investment and I had to make my country proud and represent them. At times I had to hold my peace to avoid unnecessary confrontations that would have marred the reputation of not only myself, but my country.”

Anesia will be heading back to France in September to do her internship in Paris at the Holiday Inn for five months.

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