STHM alumna influencing tourism in her native Colombia
By Kylie Winkler
A passion for supporting her native Colombia, Belsy Munive is applying her Temple University education to help improve the South American country’s economy through tourism.
Munive, a Fulbright Scholar, earned her Master of Tourism and Hospitality Management (MTHM) degree from Temple’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM). She serves as director of business development in Colombia’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism in Colombia. She previously worked for the Chamber of Commerce of La Guajira, in Colombia.
Reaching those professional milestones would not have been possible without a Fulbright Scholarship. The program allows international students to pursue studies or research endeavors in the United States. Studying in the U.S. would have been otherwise financially unattainable for Munive. Not only time-consuming, the six-month application process also is highly competitive. Munive said only one scholarship is awarded each year to students from her geographic region.
“It was a dream come true,” Munive said. “The day I was notified that I won I was really happy because I knew that accepting it meant I was moving toward embracing great responsibility.”
It would take an additional year before Munive could pursue her studies at STHM, in 2011.
Munive made the 2,500-mile journey, trading the beaches of Colombia for the urban landscape of Philadelphia. The cultural differences shocked her at first, she said.
“Latin American people are easygoing, friendly, open-minded, and very social with everyone,” Munive explained, “while Americans only share these qualities with their close friends and family.”
While studying at STHM, Munive cultivated professional skills like perseverance and time management, learned the importance of diversity, and gained a high level of confidence in her ability. Struggling with English and her writing assignments, Munive said she would labor over written assignments and spend hours in Temple’s TECH Center.
“I still remember the day I received a perfect score on my final paper,” she said. “I was so happy.”
That confidence has carried over, from attaining a graduate degree at STHM and into her career.
“At Temple I had the opportunity to study with people from all over the world,” Munive said. “It allowed me to work with people of different ages, traditions, beliefs, and despite all of that, we achieved excellent results.”
In the tourism sector, Munive has managed 14 business-strengthening projects, coordinated fairs and events, and built strategic alliances with public and private sectors.
“I have been building my career step by step with commitment, focus and discipline,” Munive said. “My years at STHM and Temple contributed to me becoming the successful professional I am now. I am very proud to be Temple Made.”