Winning the hearts from overseas: Let’s meet Kaitlin D’Costa from Dubai

By Tetiana Kulbaka
November 11, 2019

"The melting pot of the unique ingredients that are coming from all over the world". And while this description was created to describe the cultural diversity of the United States, it can also be justly used for RIT Croatia. Our students are coming from various countries adding to the uniqueness of the overall college atmosphere. Let`s meet Kaitlin D`Costa who bravely exchanged the vibrant life of Dubai for the peaceful Dalmatian vibes.

Q: What was your experience of traveling abroad before coming to Croatia? What did you know about Croatia?

Kaitlin: Honestly, I have never traveled abroad and at that time I knew only basic information about the country. I did not know anything about the cultural habits, traditions as well as the people. But as the first ideas of applying for RIT located in Dubrovnik started to come to my mind, that is where I started a deeper exploration through internet research.

Q: How have you found out about RIT? One of the campuses is located in Dubai, why have you decided to travel that far away from home and study at RIT Croatia?

Kaitlin: My sister is a graduate from the RIT, Dubai campus, so the name of the college has been always there in all our family conversations. But when the time came for me to apply, I realized I needed some new experience, new opportunities, and challenges. So, here I am.

Q: What was your biggest challenge in moving to Croatia? What are the main cultural differences that you have noticed/experienced? Did you manage to embrace these differences and make them part of your habits?  Did you experience any reverse culture shock on coming home?

Kaitlin: Well, in the beginning, it seemed to me that people in Dubrovnik are a way too laid back. However, with the time I came to realize that it was some aspect of culture shock that influenced me in this case. I came from an always hectic Dubai to a constant serenity. Throughout the months I learned to enjoy this peacefulness and not to feel guilty for staying two hours "on coffee". By the way, I am not a coffee person, at all! But Dubrovnik has succeeded in influencing my habits. After one year of studying, I believe my DNA partly consists of coffee beans :)

Q: What do you like the most about the educational process in RIT Croatia?

Kaitlin: Whenever I get this question, my answer is always the same – Professors! The way they engage in the interactions with the students debunks all the stereotypes and allows the students to perceive them as wise and helpful mentors. They are also not shy to show their human side and sometimes liven up the classes with humor. It creates a friendly, encouraging, comfortable atmosphere for studying. Moreover, the courses` schedules are well organized and correlated. The students know the tasks and due dates way in advance that invites the practice of time management skills. If you manage your time wisely, you will forget about pressing deadlines and sleepless nights. It is all balanced.

Q: Can you say that the social life of RIT is eventful? What are your favorite events/ activities? Do you participate? Would you advise our future tigers to take an active part in these social events? Why?

Kaitlin: Definitely. We have the Student Government that organizes different events throughout the semester that are ranging from parties, community service-oriented activities to educational field trips. To be honest, I do not participate in every event, however, that is what I like about RIT social life the most: There is something for everyone. As far as I am a huge dog person, every semester I am passionately waiting for a Zarkovica dog shelter visit, where we can do something good for pets like walking them, building the dog houses, bringing food and just hanging out with these cuties. On the more educational side, the previous year I have also taken part in the educational field trip to Split. We have visited a couple of hotels and got acquainted with some renowned hospitality professionals. I enjoyed it!

Q: Why did you choose the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program? What classes have you found the most applicable and giving the real sense of the industry?

Kaitlin: I come from a family of Food and Beverage professionals so that the Hospitality sector has always been there and it seems that the college program has chosen me long before I had to make that choice myself. I also believe the fast-paced development of the Hospitality industry specifically in Dubai has only ignited my passions and desires to become a part of this industry. It is so dynamic; I feel I will never get bored.

I have to mention that the Hospitality industry is quite people-driven and to succeed you have to possess great communication skills. The previous year we had the course named "Delivery the Etiquette" that helped me to open up and hone my communication skills.

Q: What specific sector of the Hospitality Industry would you like to succeed in?

Kaitlin: It has always been about Event Management. I can`t say I am a control freak, but I just genuinely enjoy being a part of organizational processes. Also, this particular sector allows applying the combination of different qualities: creativity, stress management, interpersonal communication as well as leadership. I love this challenging mix.

Q: What do you do in your free time?

Kaitlin: I am a huge movie-goer, so every weekend I enjoy watching something new. I also like listening to music, going for a walk with my friends, sipping endless coffees and sometimes treating myself to the glorious pancakes. When the weather is nice, my friends and I love going to the beach, where I am usually meeting new four-legged friends.

Q: Give a bit of advice to our future tigers/ Invite them to become a part of our "stripped" family.

Kaitlin: Don`t let the cultural differences hold you back! Take this risk, go for this adventurous journey and proudly add to the uniqueness of the RIT community. The tiger family is ready to welcome YOU!

RIT Croatia. Different from Day 1.

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