I never expected to return to Costa Rica after finishing college, and much less, to fulfill a role that I only dreamed about. When I was offered the opportunity to help advance the sustainability projects at Xandari Resort in Costa Rica, I knew this was an opportunity that I could not let pass. From the first day that I selected Hospitality Administration as my major at Boston University (BU) and through my four years learning about and working in hospitality, I have grown to cherish the industry. Through my multiple work experiences in hotels and food and beverage companies, primarily in operations and guest relations, I experienced daily the joy of hospitality services.
Last fall I lived in Shanghai for four months participating in BU’s study abroad program. My studies and travels during my time in China awakened me to the complexities of human interaction. I was challenged by my limited language abilities in Chinese and the inevitable language barriers I encountered. Nonetheless, day by day I came to appreciate the art of communication and how it relates to our industry. There is a craft to the subtleties of human communication that, moment by moment, can and does make an interaction memorable and illuminating, and I believe the hospitality industry not only offers these types of experiences more regularly than any other industry, but also depends on them. I thrive from these opportunities to interact with people from different backgrounds to be able to expand my learning and my knowledge. Still, I want to explore the definition of hospitality further and my internship in Xandari as a sustainability project developer will allow me to do so. This is the first time I will be responsible for integrating environmental and socially responsible conservation activities with the way guests interact with the native environment and community. As a native-born Costa Rican and growing up in the tropical splendor until the age of twelve, I am no stranger to the eco-tourism concept. However, I will need to apply practical skills and my academic studies to further the hotel’s commitments in sustainability. More importantly, I will need to be innovative and discerning in order to advance the hotel to the forefront of sustainable tourism. I look forward to my role in Xandari and the contributions I can make to the greater sustainability movement, a trend that is vital to the inherent conservation of our world. I hope to elevate the hotel’s CST (Certificate for Sustainable Tourism) ranking and make it a model for other businesses to follow. Lastly, this experience will also be a journey of rediscovery of my childhood home and the cultural and environmental forces that have influenced my ambitions.