Hospitality and the Berlin wall

Our International Hospitality Management MSc at Brighton has a history going back almost 40 years. Mike Boella, school Fellow and colleague who was instrumental in setting up the programme when we were still a polytechnic, recalls its links with the Berlin wall.

“As I was celebrating 30 years since the Berlin Wall was knocked down I rediscovered an old photo. You can clearly see my name and the name of our University on this part of the Berlin Wall.

“Our hospitality management students had to do six months work experience. We had a good offer from a top Berlin hotel and I thought it could be a good placement, but it was in West Berlin, surrounded by the communist East Germany.

“Some parents were worried so I checked the situation with the Foreign Office and was told it was quite safe, so we went ahead.

“I visited the students to make sure everything was OK. The manager said the students were OK but must learn to carry out instructions before discussing them!

“I went through Checkpoint Charlie to see East Berlin, a bit risky for me because I had done my national service with British military intelligence! I discovered a stunning difference between east (very poor) and west (just like an affluent British city).”

The wall may be no more but we continue to celebrate the ideals of innovation, creativity and freedom of thought, both in theory and in practice!