The Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland, where Lind Ólafsdóttir interned, is an award-winning luxury resort encompassing a 60-suite hotel.
Courtesy Lind Ólafsdóttir

Lind Ólafsdóttir Preps for Wine Career with Renowned Hospitality Education

By Sue McMurray

For Lind Ólafsdóttir, the decision to pursue the WSU/César Ritz Colleges Switzerland joint bachelor’s degree was a natural fit for her long-time interest in food and beverage. Ólafsdóttir grew up in Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital and prime tourist destination. She entered the hospitality industry at 17 when she got a job at Apotek, a popular restaurant.

After working there about three years, she got the chance to be a wine server on the weekends, and it sparked her professional interest in wine.

Her five years of experience at Apotek aligned perfectly with the César Ritz Colleges recommendation that prospective students work in the  hospitality field before entering the program. While she worked, Ólafsdóttir also completed her diploma in hotel, motel, and restaurant management at Reykjavík University.

When a former colleague and friend told her about the joint bachelor’s degree, she took notice.

“The restaurant industry has always interested me, and the program looked appealing,” she says. “I didn’t exactly know at that time what I wanted to do in the future, so I asked myself, ‘why not try it at least?’ So I did.”

Over the three years of her program, Ólafsdóttir did more than just try. She excelled.

Immersion experiences inspire creativity and passion

Ólafsdóttir participated in many activities to advance her professional skills, including the Student Ambassador Forum, the César Ritz Wine Club, and the Eta Sigma Delta Honor Society. She entered tasting competitions, made honor roll, and passed her Wine and Spirit Education Trust Level 3 certification.

Ólafsdóttir also completed an internship at Iceland’s Blue Lagoon resort. While there, she checked in guests, gave property tours, and booked guest activities, adding another point of success to her résumé.

“Creating experiences for people is my passion,” she says.

Learning to think outside the box

Ólafsdóttir says the most challenging experience in her second year when students work in groups to put on an event for their classmates and teachers.

“Because of the COVID-19 regulations, we were limited to around 30 guests, and half of my classmates were online. Creating a fair workload for the online and offline students was challenging,” she says. “The struggle taught me a lot about group work.”

Building a foundation for a future career

Ólafsdóttir is now a sommeller in Blue Lagoon’s Moss Restaurant. She’s continuing her wine studies and encourages others who are considering the WSU/César Ritz Colleges program to “take the leap” like she did.

“WSU and César Ritz Colleges are widely known. Having this stamp of quality on a curriculum vitae will result in career advantages for anyone,” she says.