WSU/César Ritz Colleges Grad Sarah Alwasil Parlays Hospitality Training toward Public Policy

By Sue McMurray

Before her family moved to Switzerland, Sarah Alwasil grew up living in hotels across Europe and Asia while her father worked as a Saudi Arabian diplomat to the United Nations. The constant shifting of her environment may have contributed to her indecisive personality (self-described), but it also developed her confidence and interest in trying new things.

When she completed her high school education at the International School of Geneva, she first considered a college program in classical civilization, then switched to sociology. But when she heard about the double bachelor’s degree in hospitality offered by WSU and César Ritz Colleges Switzerland, she became intrigued by its reputation.

“I never lived in Saudi longer than six months, but when I saw the country’s list of highly recommended universities, César Ritz Colleges was on it,” she says. “I knew if I went back to Saudi with a universally esteemed Swiss/American hospitality degree, I’d be scouted immediately.”

Alwasil graduated from César Ritz Colleges in September and lives in New York. She says her program was the right choice to prepare for her future.

WSU/César Ritz program inspires achievement

“I was the only Saudi female in my class,” she says. “As women, we have to prove ourselves worthy of the workplace. I pride myself on my education. The WSU program instructors, like Professor Dipra Jha, brought innovative teaching styles and opportunities for dynamic learning that inspired me to achieve my best.”

She says the advice of good mentors and completing internships in investment banking and hotel operations made her realize there are many career opportunities in hospitality. Eventually, she says she’d like to work in a business capacity in Saudi’s tourism sector, “but right now I just want to be me.”

For Alwasil, that means starting a master’s degree in public policy in 2023. She may also explore working in a human rights role.

“I stumbled into hospitality by accident,” she says. “I’ve lived a privileged life and want to follow in my father’s footsteps by using my hospitality training to help others.”