Charlotte Roberts-Swain knows a thing or two about turning dreams into reality. Since graduating from The International Travel College of New Zealand in December 2014, she’s worked on superyachts and at Disney World – and this is just the beginning of her exciting tourism career.
She’s currently travelling in Indonesia, but she generously took some time to write to us about her experience so far. Below she shares some advice for people looking to follow in her footsteps.
Make the most of opportunities
Charlotte discovered ITC at a high school careers event, when she was in year 12. Her travel teacher then sent her on a one-week ‘Tourism Taster’ course with ITC tutor Mel. She went jet boating, visited Explore Auckland, and got a behind-the-scenes tour at the Hilton Hotel. After the week was over, she knew she wanted a career in tourism.
With this knowledge in mind, she applied for a scholarship to study at ITC – and you guessed it, she was successful.
“If you get the chance, DEFINITELY apply for the scholarship that ITC offers to its students,” she advises.
The moral of the story? Make the most of the opportunities that present themselves to you. You never know what you might achieve.
Work hard, play hard
Charlotte’s next piece of advice is to ‘work hard, play hard’. Studying at ITC can be an incredibly fun, social experience – she met two of her best friends at College. However, it’s important that you put just as much time into studying as you do socialising.
“With my group of friends we made a deal that we would try and make the year with no days off,” says Charlotte.
“The tutors would say ‘100% attendance and you will have your dream job’, so we did just that.”
Charlotte adds that the excitement of graduation is well worth any long days or hard study sessions. What’s more, the environment prepares you for life in the ‘real world’.
“Studying at ITC was non stop, but it gave me an insight to what the working world is like. You will grow up, you will find yourself. You will work hard, it will have its perks, by the end of the year you will wonder where the time went. You will go to graduation, dress up, take photos, receive your certificates and have the time of your life.”
Don’t be afraid to reach for the stars
If you want something, don’t be afraid to reach for it. Charlotte’s dream was to work at Disney World, and this dream came true shortly after she graduated in 2015. She spent six months living and working there as a lifeguard – a special experience that she will cherish forever.
“You created magic for the old, the young, the wealthy and the poor, but you also helped me to create magic for myself,” Charlotte writes in a blog post, titled ‘An Open Letter to the Disney College Program’.
“Dreams really do come true. You made me believe in myself and accomplish everything that I wanted to do. You made me feel a type of happiness that I have never felt before, and you taught me how to share that with the world.”
Keep in touch with your tutors
Charlotte’s last piece of advice is this: don’t forget to keep in touch with your tutors and the ITC team.
“Once you gain your qualifications you will be set free from campus, and you will feel like you are on your own – but you must never forget that ITC has still got your back,” she says.
She advises everyone to keep checking their campus Facebook page, as this is where many new job opportunities are posted. She also suggests getting part-time work as soon as you graduate, even if it isn’t your dream job – that way you are earning money while you look for your big break.
“Looking for the right job will take you awhile. Get yourself out there, go and meet new people, make connections, keep working on your CV and remember that a job interview or a trial is the perfect way to see if that is the place you would like to continue your life story.”