Perspectives from a Hospitality Management Professor


Contributor(s): Kesi Hapsari

 [My Perspective is a series of blog entries and interviews meant to depict different JMU globally-minded individuals’ perspectives of their JMU experiences.]

Since 2015, the number of international students majoring in Hospitality Management has doubled with just over 45 in the Fall of 2017. To learn more about this major, Kesi Hapsari (LINKer '17) went to the Hart School to talk to Dr. Reg Foucar-Szocki.

The first time I met Professor Reg Foucar-Szocki, he greeted me with a warm and benevolent smile. As a hospitality major myself, I was very eager to be able to conduct an interview with Professor Reg because he has been a faculty in the Hart School of Hospitality for over twenty-five years. Additionally, he has become a renowned professor for the large number of international students he has taught and mentored throughout the years. I knew he would be able to give valuable insight into how I could help international students cope with college life in the United States. 

"the majority of international students, no matter where they come from  have very high expectations of themselves"

Professor Reg has a strong passion for helping his students succeed. He says that one thing that concerns him about the majority of international students he works with is no matter where they come from, they usually have very high expectations of themselves—most students wanted to thrive in the new environment that they are in.

An ambitious mindset is not necessarily a bad thing of course, but it is important to realize how some international students may blame themselves for not being able to quickly adapt to college life in the US even though they have only been in this country for a relatively short period of time. They need to understand that it is a perfectly normal phase and all international students will have to go through the same challenge. Some people may have a harder time adapting to university life, such as listening to a lecture in their second language and that's okay. 

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There are a couple of essential skills that he points to, which he claims are very important for students to keep in mind as they adjust to their new environment. The number one thing is to be able to get a global education, and second is to gain a lot of experiential learning. Professor Reg believes students need to improve their critical thinking and to find ways to improve their creativity.

I took in his precious advice because I also believe in today's world different situations will demand different skills. There are so many valuable lessons that are not necessarily taught in the classroom, but they all add to the global education experience. As an international student myself, I find this to be very true because I have learned to be more comfortable in my new environment by interacting with more people; whether it be my professors, my classmates, or my friends in the university. As hard as it might seem for us international students, the choices that we make in college are the ones that will determine whether we will have a fun college experience or not.

Picture of professor Reg. Foucar-Szocki and Kesi HapsariI felt a sense of comfort and relief to find out that professor Reg cares about international students just as much as other students in the university. When I asked him a question regarding the recent changes in the United States about foreign policies, he was very open about his opinions and happily shared his standpoints about how he is concerned in a variety of ways. Most importantly, he said that despite all the negativity that might be happening around us in the past and in the present moment, it is up to us to make the necessary changes and we should choose to remain positive. Professor Reg believes that JMU will continue to be a welcoming place for international students. 

Thank you very much Professor Reg for being an advocate for the JMU international student community!

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Published: Friday, June 15, 2018

Last Updated: Thursday, January 23, 2020

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