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A day in the life: Leonardo Silva

Get to know Leo, a Business - Hospitality student

Name: Leonardo 'Leo' Silva
Program: Business - Hospitality
NSCC Campus: Akerley

What brought you to NSCC and to this program?
After having the chance to visit so many places because of my experience working on cruise ships, Halifax felt like a place I could picture myself living. In addition, I found out that NSCC had the Business Hospitality program that has everything to do with what I have been doing for the past five or six years.

What’s something that has surprised you about NSCC?
The size of the campus was my first surprise. I knew that it was a large one, but what I found online didn’t do it justice.  The quality and variety of classes and labs surprised me in a very positive way.

What is your favourite spot on campus?
The place that I like the most on campus is the library. In fact, the studying area that faces the wall of glass in the campus façade is my favorite. In my opinion, it is the perfect place for tackling individual and group assignments. (Spoiler alert: There are many of them through the program!)

What has been your most memorable NSCC moment so far?
I've had lots of great moments and experiences so far, but the most memorable one was when I was got the chance to run the NSCC Instagram account for a day to share with everyone what a Day in The Life of an international Business - Hospitality student is like.

What do you love most about your program?
I love that it allows me to get to know people and interact with them. I learn, I evolve and I connect with so many interesting people.

What do you plan to do when you graduate?
My plan is to get a management position in a nice, casual, and fast-paced restaurant. With that I will be able to also gain experience in other parts of restaurant operation.

What advice would you give to a friend considering NSCC/your program?
I would say that you must be open to working in groups, to talking, and you need to pay attention to time management. We have many assignments - most aren't difficult to get done, they just take time. 

What is the best advice you’ve received that’s helped you during your time at NSCC?
I was told to try in as many activities as possible, and to take advantage of the knowledge and experience of the instructors, to ask questions, to ask for suggestions and to ask for advice. I have to say that this were great advice that everyone should listen to.

A day in the life


9:00 am - I wake up, have breakfast, which is usually waffles and coffee, I take the chance to feed my fish before I get ready to go. I usually drive to school, it usually takes just about 15 minutes, but when the weather is nice and warm outside, I ride my bike.

10:30 am - The first class of the day today was Operations Finance & Revenue Management. The 4th term is focused on management skills and business decisions. In today’s class, our teacher, Donnie MacDonald, taught us about finance statement analysis. His classes are always really most well-structured. It is easy to see what he has planned for the classes and each consists of a lecture and then lots of activities and examples.


12:30 pm - My second class of the day is Human Resources Issues in Hospitality. Today’s topic is discipline in the workplace. Our instructor, Wendi Dewey, is the best. I have to say that she can manage any HR issues in hospitality. She is funny and her classes are aways filled with group activities.

2:30 pm - Lunch break! I usually bring food from home and warm it up in the microwaves located in the cafeteria. If I forget my lunch, I buy something there. There are lots of options made by the culinary students and they are all tasty.

3:30 pm - It is now time for my third class, Applied Food & Beverage Management. This is where my class runs and manages Fresh 21, a classroom/restaurant that is open to the public and serves customers two times a week. The class starts with the teacher, Garth Brown, giving us directions and feedback from previous services.

4pm - We start transforming the space into a restaurant. I help arrange the tables according to reservations, get tables set, and help set up the bar and coffee station ready for service.

5 pm - Before each service, we have a quick meeting in the kitchen, where the chefs give us all needed information about the dishes will be serving, like ingredients, method of preparation, allergens, etc. And they always prepare an extra meal that we can sample!


6 pm - When guests arrive, we welcome and escort them to their table, and then service actually starts. We explain the concept of the restaurant, as well as the menu and the drink options.

6:30 – 8 pm - Tonight is a 6-course tasting menu. I bring dishes out one by one to my table and tell them what it is and take drink orders. One of my tables orders a bottle of wine, and Garth teaches me about it before I serve it to them.

8:30 pm - As soon as all guests are gone, it is now time to clean everything, and get all materials restocked for the next service tomorrow.

9:30 pm - End of class. Time to pick up my wife at work and drive her home.

10:00 pm - Back home, time to take a shower, get some food, work a bit on assignments, and go to bed. It’s nice that classes tomorrow don’t start until 12:30 p.m.