Ever wanted to ditch the hustle and bustle and jet off to paradise? SCU Buzz host River sat down with Sophie, an Associate Degree of International Hotel and Tourism Management graduate from The Hotel School who lived, worked and studied at the Hayman Island campus in the Whitsunday Islands.
What was it like to be studying, working and living on Hayman Island?
It was really good. They capped our hours at about 20 hours a week when I first started and I think in the first year that's so important, so you could prioritise your uni work. I started in housekeeping for about eight months. And then in the second semester, I transferred over to food and beverage with the intention of just getting a feel for everything and intending to move over to front office. But I absolutely fell in love with food and beverage and haven't looked back since.
What kind of units do you study as a part of the Associate Degree of International Hotel and Tourism Management?
There were a few subjects that I found really helpful. We had one called Hospitality Services Management which had the Servqual model. It's about a perceived service quality versus the customer experience. I think about that almost on a daily basis in my job now. Our risk management course was super helpful as well. We also did restaurant reviews in our food and beverage operations class. And one of my favourite subjects was Conventions, Exhibitions and Events. That was probably the most real-world experience that I had because I wanted to go into events management. We had to do a bid plan and a bid proposal, which was super detailed, and we had to come up with a scenario and execute a fake expo or conference in a different country. We had to come up with accommodation options, potential exhibitors and sponsors, do floor plans and plan field trips for all the guests and it was real-world experience that really helps me in my day to day life.
What was the living situation like?
They offer twin rooms, which is great. And they buddy you up with someone who's also in The Hotel School. So, you've got similar lifestyles. All accommodation you do have to pay for but it's heavily subsidised. And food as well. We had a staff diner, which gave us a buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. In our staff village, we had a little shop that you could buy extra food from as well.
What is your favourite memory from your time at Hayman Island?
I think it's just the culture of the island itself. We only had about 300 to 400 staff so you work together with everyone. Everyone knows each other. It's just such a tight knit community. All of the students were just so supportive and we'd always help each other when studying. It was just a really nice community there.