Why did you decide to study Tourism Management at HZ University of Applied Sciences?
"For me the decision was not very hard, all my life I have been living in Zeeland and I feel a connection with the province. When I was in my last year of high school I visited plenty of other schools for open days, but such crowded schools in busy and remote areas did not really appeal to me. It felt good knowing the HZ is located at a place that is easy to reach in Vlissingen and works together with housing companies. Moreover, the HZ feels very personal. During open days the teachers are sincerely interested in you as a student, but also as a person. They try to make you feel at home and give you all the support you need."
Why did you choose this specific study programme?
"I am a fourth year student studying Tourism Management. The main reason I choose this route is that it is a very wide study. When I was in high school I was not completely sure about what I wanted to do in the future and which study would fit me. Tourism at the HZ offers you the possibility to discover your way in the tourism world. Additionally, the teachers were very personal and the open days were very appealing to me. Moreover, my high school had an evening in which students from all studies returned to the school and gave insights about their experiences. They convinced me to choose this study."
Can you explain what the study is about?
The study was very wide and focussed on all aspects of the tourism industry. The first year was focussed on theory. I learned about the world of tourism and marketing for example. In the first year I started my first internship at a company of choice, I chose to remain in the Netherlands. The second year is all about developing your vision and continuing building on the knowledge of the first years. Modules about digital technologies, human resource management and value creation are giving you a deep, new look in the world of tourism. In the second year you need to choose another internship. During the second year internship I would advise students to go abroad.
In the third year you start graduating already, firstly there is a theory module and the other half year you can do your minor. I chose the minor Digital Marketing, in Rotterdam. Many students went to countries like Spain and Germany, some even went to Canada or the Seychelles. In the fourth year you write your thesis, or a management article. Moreover, your graduation internship takes place. During this internship you test your knowledge of the tourism world for a company of choice. Because of lockdowns during year 1 until year 3 my sequence of courses was slightly different, but this did not affect my study."
What do you think of studying in Zeeland, the Netherlands?
"Studying in Zeeland was a very easy choice for me. For me, there is a perfect balance between cities and nature. Cities like Vlissingen and Middelburg are easy to reach by bike, and offer everything a student needs. There is room to find peace in nature, to make new friends at the beach and enjoy all the restaurants. Zeeland is unique with all its water and has plenty of possibilities with water sports, swimming and boat events for example! Because of all the tourism in Zeeland, I really felt like I was in the middle of the tourism world too and the step from theory to the practice was very small. I was able to find side jobs and internships in Zeeland, at companies in the tourism world. This was a huge advantage of studying in a tourism hotspot."
What is the most valuable part of your study?
"The most valuable part of my study was the projects for real life companies. In the first weeks I had to create a marketing plan for a theme park in Middelburg. Because we were being taught marketing at the same time we were immediately putting our knowledge to practice for a real life company. Every year we were supporting companies with our projects. Other projects consisted of developing a food truck for a restaurant in Renesse, setting up an entire maritime event that might take place in 2024 for a client and a market analysis for a museum in Vlissingen. In the beginning you visit the company and they present the problem to you. With a small group of students you start working on this problem and present the outcome in the end, that the company will use!"
Can you tell us something about your internships?
"Because I had to find my first two internships during COVID-19, the process went a bit different than usual. I gained the opportunity to do both internships at the same organization due to lockdowns. My first internship was at a beach restaurant in Dishoek. I worked very closely with the owners and supported them by working in the kitchen as a sous-chef. During those internships I discovered my interest in marketing and was able to execute my second internship at the same restaurant. This time I was working on promotional materials, like business cards and social media content planning, but also on marketing campaigns, product purchase and website improvements.
My graduation traineeship consists of a full time internship at a big hotel - and restaurant chain in Zeeland. In this traineeship I am partially responsible for the marketing and sales of this company. My professional end product was the content creation of seasonal magazines, combined with hotel and restaurant sales. Because I enjoyed my internship so much, and the company was satisfied with me, I was given the opportunity to become an employee for the remaining time of my study and perhaps after my study too."
What do you want to do after graduating?
"After my graduation I am planning to do an HBO-master in the direction of marketing and sales. Because the concept of HBO-masters is fairly new, the supply is low and so is the amount of choices. For this reason I might postpone my HBO-master for a year and start working at my internship company for a year after my graduation. The advantage of a master's degree is that you can do it anytime you want after graduation, so there is plenty of time to think about it."
What would be your advice to future students?
"My advice would be to do fun activities with your classmates. The HZ is a school with a lot of international students. For international students studying in another country can be overwhelming for them, but by conducting fun activities like going to the beach after school, or working out together, real friendships are being built. The school and the city have plenty of possibilities for activities like this. All students have the same goal in mind, graduating. By facing your journey together and by building friendships along the way your time at the HZ will be more meaningful and enjoyable."