The Pleasure of Serving: Students Seeking Hospitality Degree at Valencia College
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Thirty-five Associate in Science (A.S.) Degrees are offered each year in Valencia College. Hospitality and Tourism Management is one of the most popular programs for outside of state students. The great tourism economy in Orlando attracts people who are seeking a job opportunity in the field.
“It [Hospitality] runs in my family blood, basically. My grandfather was a tour guide his whole life,” Lucio Costa said. Costa is Brazilian and lived a great part of his life in Kearny, New Jersey. He is graduating with an A.S. Degree in Hospitality from Valencia in the summer and is going to pursue a bachelor in Hospitality at the Rosen College of Hospitality and Management of the University of Central Florida.
Valencia´s Hospitality course always stays in the top 15 UCF majors of incoming transfer students, according to the UCF Consortium Partners Community College feedback report. The UCF Rosen College is among the top 3 Hospitality colleges in the sunshine state.
Valencia College offers a dynamic system of learning by providing equipped technological laboratories and a hotel front desk simulation area inside the Walt Disney World Center for Hospitality and Culinary Arts located at Valencia´s West Campus. The building was a gift from the Walt Disney Company years ago to support the Hospitality program at the college.
“The [Hospitality] classes give you a really good idea of what goes on,” Lucio Costa said. Costa is also a member of the Florida Hospitality Industry Association. The FHIA is a discount program for students and employees of the hospitality field in Florida, and provides several benefits for its members.
Mayara Martines is taking her first semester at Valencia and found the FHIA to be extremely helpful. “It is a great opportunity for us [students] to know more about this field [Hospitality] with an affordable price by simply going to places,” Martines said. The cost of an annual membership tuition of FHIA is 30 dollars.
Members can enjoy more than 50 attractions in Florida for free, and save on hotels and restaurants around the state as well. FHIA is also a club at Valencia´s West Campus, where Hospitality students can share their experiences and learn from the others about the course pathway.
“What I have learned is that the hospitality industry is not just about what we learn in class. It is about the people,” Mayara Martines said. With an extended experience as a cast member in Walt Disney Company and as a fairy godmother at Make-A-Wish Brazil, Martines plans to focus her studies by pursuing the Theme Park and Attraction Management Track at UCF´s Rosen College of Hospitality Management after completing the A.S. Degree at Valencia.
As a tourist city, Orlando has much to offer students like Mayara and Lucio. “Life is all about relationships and the best way to learn about people is embracing everyone in different places. You can provide the best service and create magical moments,” Martines concluded.