Last September I embarked upon a new challenge: Studying Tourism Management. I had tried two studies before, Applied Physics and Mechanical Engineering. Those both went fine, but it didn’t last very long until I realised that I was not happy doing this for the rest of my life, I didn’t see a future there. I took the year off, became an Au Pair in London, worked in a pub in Prague and finally figured out what I wanted to do with my life: Travel and inspire people to travel. So that’s when Tourism Management happened.
I had spent working in Prague the summer before Tourism Management and after I had left Prague I went surfing in Portugal. What I did not know was that Inholland Rotterdam – the college I study at – started their program a week before all the other colleges in the country, which made me miss the very first day: The Kick-Off. Fortunately, this was not a problem and I was able to catch up on the second day, even though I was very tired from travelling all day the day before.
On my first day I met Ben, he asked me what had happened the day before since he was on a plane back from Thailand. I told him I had missed it as well but that we probably hadn’t missed that much. Unfortunately, that was not all true, we had missed the explanation of basically everything! They had explained blackboard, the project for that term and where to find the timetable. No worries though, I became friends with Michelle and Beau quite quickly and they explained it all.
The study year is divided into four terms, each term has a project, some courses and, of course, ends with exams. The project of term one was to represent a travel agency and write a report on how to increase tourism by 20% within five years. This had to be done for one country and two target groups. Our class was given continent Asia so my project group choose Laos as a country focussing on Dinkies and Backpackers, while the group Ben, Beau and Michelle were in choose Cambodia focussing on Backpackers and the LGBT-community.
To make sure we were able to work out our reports successfully we had a couple of courses to give us the well-needed theories and analysis: Introduction to Tourism and Tourist Products. Those were not the only courses we had of course, but the ones that were most important for the project. The others courses were: Spanish, English, Written Communication, Management & Organisation and Research. By the end of the term, just a couple of days before our exams, the college had organised a little holiday fair where we had to represent the country of our choosing. Family and friends were invited and almost all the teachers were there as well. It was a fun way to finalise the project and show everyone our hard work.
Term two ended a couple of weeks ago, this time we did not have the same kind of presentation to end the project, we just had to hand in a report about the city trip we had designed. Most tourists go to Amsterdam when they visit The Netherlands and while Rotterdam has almost just as much to offer as Amsterdam, not many of them stay in Rotterdam for more than 24 hours. This needs to change, Amsterdam can’t handle the number of tourists anymore and Rotterdam could definitely benefit from a couple more. So, up to us to design an innovative and sustainable city trip to Rotterdam of at least 72 hours.
Once again we had a couple of courses to help us with this project: Trends in Tourism and Touristic Products. Alongside these courses, we also had courses in Financial Management, Marketing, English, Spanish and Reseach. The city trip Ben, Michelle, Beau, Quan and I had created was called: ‘Waterzone Rotterdam’. Why? Because our main focus was water. The canals of Rotterdam are quite unique so we diced to add an activity where you’ll be floating around in a Hot Tub in those canals. Other than that we also had a visit to the SS Rotterdam and dinner at the Pancake Boat added to the program. We’re not sure how well we did since our grade is not in yet, but I think it’s at least a fun concept.
The kick-off of term three seems like only yesterday but we’re already two weeks in. This term is, according to me, the most exciting one so far. The project is amazing and we’re leaving to go to Finland on the 5th of March!
Everyone is playing a game this term, running a tour operator. Every week represents a year and within that year you have to buy new accommodations, end contracts with hotels that are not working out, increase customer satisfaction, make sure your employees are happy, market the entire organisation and so on. There are 19 tour operators competing against each other which makes it very competitive and loads of fun besides being incredibly instructive.
One of the great things about my study is that you go on a study trip every year. This year I am part of the lucky half that goes to Helsinki and Rovaniemi where we will visit a large touristic company, ride a husky sleigh, search for the Northern Lights and have a great time in our little chalet which has a sauna, floor heating and fireplace in it. I am really excited and just can’t wait to finally take off!
The other half is going to Athens, also really cool but I prefer Finland since I’ve already been to Athens with my dad.
There is so much more ahead of me, studying abroad – probably Mexico -, internship in Canada (hopefully), more trips, more projects and to end it all: graduating. I am really happy that I choose this education and there is no doubt in my mind that this will help me prepare for the future I want. I have loved almost every minute of it so far and there is much more to come.
I love sharing my experience with people and always get very enthusiastic when I talk about Tourism Management, which is why I signed up for the PR team. Last Saturday I was working an ‘Open Day’ and had a chat with one of the teachers about a study association. They used to have one but they weren’t able to keep people interested in organising activities so it kinda collapsed. I think that’s a shame and that we could really benefit from a study association. So … we’re gonna brainstorm and give it another go! I hope that it works out, I feel like this could be my next big project!