There is no hospitality like understanding

on May 22 | in | | with No Comments


It took a while for me to write on this blog, I know. I wanted to write about something that would interest everyone or, at least, that we could all identify with to some extent: Hotel openings? Recommendations on successful management? Hospitality? Features of hospitality? None of these topics are my particular specialty but they actually led me to asking the very question I have bombarded my Social Media students with this semester: What’s in it for you?

In the late 14th century, hospitality was simply understood as the “act of being hospitable” (from Old French hospitalité, from Latin hospitalitem); however, the term developed and specified its meaning into “friendliness to guests” (from Latin hospes). Nowadays, if you look up the term hospitality in any dictionary, you will surely find friendly, generous, welcoming, warm, and helpful in the definition. And this is exactly what is in it for us, for me, for you, and every single human on this planet.

As a teacher who has very recently been welcomed to this university, Les Roches Marbella, I have come to the realization that hospitality and teaching have one crucial and defining aspect in common: understanding. Be it a guest arriving at your hotel or a student in your class, they both have a need or desire to be fulfilled. In order to respond to this need or desire in a successful manner, we need to understand. We need to actively listen while leaving any social preconceptions or schemas behind. My apologies to Effective Communicators who have also been bombarded with this notion, but It is not only a matter of knowing the approach, it is also a matter of being approachable. This is the main reason why one of the universal rules in the hospitality industry is to smile. Would you dare approach someone who looked like they had a personal feud with humankind? Nope, I imagine not.

Just as we can draw a parallel between these two domains in terms of similarities, we can most certainly do so on the basis of differences. You serve for the guest to be pleased and you teach for the student to learn. Of course, just as a guest does, a student may have expectations on a given subject and these can either be met or not at the end of the semester. However, whereas students’ expectations are based on a desire and not an actual need (which is set by the curriculum, i.e. the teacher), the guests’ expectations are based on a desire and need that they have set for themselves.

Blogs, literally web logs, originally had the purpose of sharing an opinion or one’s own viewpoint. This was my own reflection on two notions that represent my reality right now: hospitality and teaching. I am pleased and proud to say that I have been welcomed to Les Roches Marbella in a friendly, generous, welcoming, warm, and helpful manner from every single member of the LRM community. And, for that, I thank you all.

What has been in it for me this semester at Les Roches Marbella? Having the pleasure of doing what I most love –  teaching and understanding that no matter where you come from, no matter what your goal is, we all desire and need to be understood. If this expectation is met, we will most certainly have the desire and need to understand. Welcome to Les Roches Marbella! 

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