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Tourism student wins State award


Brigid Veale
16 May 2008
If Peta Furyk’s enthusiasm and passion for the tourism and hospitality industry is any indication, she’s set for a brilliant career.

Peta, originally from Nowra, is in the second year of a Bachelor of Hotel and Resort Management degree at Southern Cross University’s Coffs Harbour campus, and has been named this week as one of the State’s top tourism students.

Peta was one of 16 students from around NSW to receive a Student Achievement Award from the Minister for Tourism, Mr Matt Brown. The award was presented at a dinner attended by more than 300 leading industry representatives in Sydney.

“These outstanding young students were selected for their consistent academic achievement and for demonstrating the capabilities and personal qualities that would contribute to the tourism and hospitality industry in NSW,” Mr Brown said.

For Peta, the award came as a very welcome surprise.

“I was nominated by the University, but I wasn’t expecting to get it at all,” she said.

Peta’s interest in the tourism industry was sparked by her family’s travel pursuits in the Asia Pacific region as she was growing up.

“As a family we did a lot of travel – we always saved up for holidays. That’s what really sparked my attraction to the industry. I remember on a cruise near Singapore the staff were so attentive and I thought ‘I want to be that person who makes the customers so happy’,” Peta said.

After leaving school in 2005 she travelled and worked in various places in Australia, including the NSW snow fields and the Whitsundays, before deciding on the Bachelor of Hotel and Resort Management at Coffs Harbour.

“I looked at my options and there was a tourism course at Wollongong, some in Sydney and in Canberra, but I’m a real coastal person. Then I came across this course at Southern Cross Uni,” she said.

“I was excited about the opportunity to go somewhere different. It was also this course and the opportunity to do an internship and study exchange that appealed to me.

“I am going to Canada in July to do a semester of study and am looking forward to studying French and other subjects. I really love to keep on learning and I just keep broadening my horizons.

“I’m just so excited by it all.”

Peta, who lives on campus in the student residential accommodation, said her experience in Coffs Harbour had been fantastic.

“A lot of people think if you go to a bigger university you get a better education, but I just think you’ll get lost. Here the teachers all know you by name and are really willing to help. I’ve also made some great friends who come from all over Australia – I’ve got plenty of places to go and stay.”

Photo: Peta Furyk with her Student Achievement Award, presented by the Minister for Tourism Matt Brown.