Sarah Hulse (21), the first student from Robert Gordon University (RGU) to take part in the renowned Atlantis Scholarship programme, graduated from the Aberdeen Business School with BA (Hons) in International Hospitality Management on Wednesday 11 July.
Sarah, from Kemnay, Aberdeenshire, was enticed to the University not only by its highly rated Business School but also by the prospect of a 12 month placement and the opportunity to study abroad.
Whilst in her first year at RGU, Sarah applied for the Higher Opportunities for Training, Education and Languages (H.O.T.E.L) Atlantis Project, a scholarship program that aims to award exchange students a specialised undergraduate degree from two of the three universities involved in the project, and after a rigorous selection process was granted the Atlantis Scholarship.
The H.O.T.E.L. Atlantis Project was funded by the European Union (EU) under the Atlantis programme for €402,000 in 2008 with matched funding from the United Stated (US) Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) for $402,000. The three partners in the project are: Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland and Oklahoma State University, USA.
The pioneering student represents the first-ever student from both RGU and the UK to gain two awards from each side of the Atlantic, having focused on Transatlantic Hospitality Management.
In addition to her studies in Aberdeen, Sarah spent a semester in Turku, Finland and two semesters studying at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, USA, followed by an internship at the 5 star Broadmoor resort in the Rockie Mountains.
Sarah said: "I've always been interested in travelling and studying abroad, and when I heard about the H.O.T.E.L Atlantis scholarship I was hooked from the start. It required a lot of consideration because it meant spending almost 18 months abroad.
"The greatest challenge about studying in a new environment was adapting to the culture shock, especially in Finland where I didn't speak a word of Finnish. However after the initial challenges it became very enjoyable, I almost didn't want to go home.
"The experience enabled my confidence to grow as I made friends and business contacts from different cultures. Additionally, being the first Atlantis Scholar with a tri-university experience would ideally help enhance my career prospects as I receive a degree from both RGU and Oklahoma State."
She concludes: "The chance to live, learn and work in Finland and the USA was a completely unique and once-in-a-lifetime experience."
Sarah is returning to RGU to study a Master in Corporate Communications and Public Affairs.
The H.O.T.E.L. Atlantis Programme Objectives
• To strengthen the quality of entry-level managers available to the transatlantic lodging industry by developing a specialized flexible pathway double-degree undergraduate program that creatively incorporates the best resources available at three reputed universities on both sides of the Atlantic.
• To develop an educational model of cooperation that can be disseminated and shared with other institutions in order to facilitate the rapid growth of the pool of highly qualified managers for the transatlantic lodging industry.
• To create a sustainable program by leveraging the experiences, connections, and collective intellect available at each of the universities.
Communications Officer | Aberdeen Business School
Robert Gordon University
Tel: 01224 262144