Fleming Hospitality graduate Jasmine Madalena continues studies to earn degree in Ireland

Jasmine Madalena’s climb up the Knocknarea mountain serves as a metaphor for her study abroad experience in Ireland.

“I met people along the way, I wanted to give up many times, I got to see the most breathtaking landscape and, at the end when I got to the top, I felt proud, excited and ready to see more,” Jasmine explains.

After graduating from Fleming College’s Hospitality – Hotel and Restaurant Operations program in 2017, Jasmine decided to continue her studies and have an amazing adventure in Ireland by earning her Bachelor of Business in Tourism with Event Management at IT Sligo. Jasmine received credit recognition for her two years of study at Fleming College, which she applied towards her degree.

“My number one goal in life is to travel to as many places as this world has to offer,” said Jasmine, who grew up travelling with her family and especially enjoyed their trips to Disney World.

Jasmine enrolled in Fleming’s Hospitality – Hotel and Restaurant Operations program for a career that could take her around the world, and decided to start her independent travels by studying abroad.

“Studying abroad gave me that opportunity to travel Europe and get my bachelor’s at the same time,” said Jasmine, who visited Belfast, Giant’s Causeway, the Cliffs of Moher, kissed the Blarney Stone, enjoyed a Game of Thrones Tour and more during her time in Ireland.

“It was amazing, an unforgettable experience of learning– not just the program, but what Ireland has to offer as well,” said Jasmine. “The program can be difficult, but it taught me a lot. Most of the projects were in teams, which allowed me to meet new people and make new friends that I am still in contact with.’

‘I do believe that the things I’ve learned at both Fleming and IT Sligo are very useful knowledge that I use daily. It did help me get a job after college, and I’m sure it will help me even more in the future.”

Jasmine says she didn’t enjoy school growing up and it wasn’t until Fleming College that she began to love learning. She explains, “Growing up, I didn’t really enjoy school. But going to Fleming, learning something I wanted to learn, got me excited to continue my studies. I also got to meet some pretty amazing people.”

Jasmine enjoyed the Hospitality – Hotel and Restaurant Operations program – especially the class field trips to visit different hotels – and is appreciative of the amazing faculty at Fleming College.

“I’ll never stop learning,” said Jasmine. “My only plan is to find the right career and to see the world, and I know I’ll be able to with the mindset that I have. By loving myself and staying positive, I know that everything I want in life will happen.”

Hospitality graduate Sophia Darling uses Fleming College skills at Fairmont Royal York

Sophia Darling, Executive Meeting Manager at Fairmont Royal York, always knew a career in hospitality was the right path for her. But with so many areas of hospitality to work in, Sophia wasn’t always sure what area to focus on.

After working in food and beverage, Sophia believed she should move into culinary as a pastry chef. “But after exploring this idea, I realized that my true passion was working with people rather than cakes!” she laughs.

While navigating the Fleming College website, Sophia discovered the Hotel and Restaurant Management program and realized it was a great fit for her. “I saw that the classes offered ranged from Business and Accounting, to Travel and Tourism, Revenue and Hotel Management, as well as Food Service and Restaurant Operations,” she explains. “The diversity of the classes piqued my interest and I decided to enrol.”

Sophia (right) during her Fleming College studies with classmate Cynthia Martschini (née Shaw)

Sophia said Fleming helped prepare her for a career in the industry. As Executive Meeting Manager at Fairmont Royal York, Sophia said she uses skills from Fleming’s Accounting course to provide estimates to clients, knowledge from Revenue Management to quote meeting space prices, and often uses skills developed through sales and client relationships discussions at Fleming College.

“Fleming College allowed me to learn about so many different fields of the hospitality industry,” said Sophia. “I think this helped me understand how multi-faceted this industry is and the benefit of having experience across different industry segments. Through the interactions with my classmates and professors, I also learned the importance of developing relationships and learning from the people around you – group work doesn’t stop when you graduate. You will always have to work with others as a team, and success truly comes from collaboration!”

As a Fleming College student, Sophia participated in the Student Work Experience Program and worked at Fairmont Banff Springs during the summer of 2014. After graduating from Fleming College in 2015, she continued her education at the University of Guelph through Fleming Education Pathways and earned her Bachelor of Commerce Honours in two years.

“Fleming College truly provided the hands-on learning experience that helped me transition into university,” said Sophia. “I learned so much from my fellow classmates and from my program coordinator, Jennifer Rishor. As a student navigating my education and career path, I was fortunate to have Jennifer as such a big proponent to the growth and development of not only myself, but of all of the students in our program!”

Sophia continued to grow her career with Fairmont. She participated in the SUMMIT Leadership Development Program – Food & Beverage Management from 2017 to 2018, and worked as Catering Sales Coordinator, Catering Sales Manager, and is now the Executive Meeting Manager.

Sophia’s advice to current and prospective students interested in this industry is to get involved and network. “You never know who you will come across or work with in your career after graduating,” she said. “Learn as much as you can about all of the different areas of this industry—the more experience you have, the more of an asset you will be!”