I started my hospitality and tourism career when I was 17 years young as a food and beverage trainee in a small luxury hotel in the heart of Cape Town, South Africa.
When I returned, I went to a three-year apprenticeship in a luxury five-star hotel in Hamburg, Germany. After the successful completion of this programme, I took the full advantage of my profession and threw myself into this exciting world to travel this planet as much as I possibly could until this day. For the last 15 years, I have been working in eight different countries on four continents, travelled another 51 countries around the world and for some reason, my bucket list is still getting longer. I have created a lifestyle combining my personal interests of cultural exchange and exploring our extraordinary planet with its enormous diversity of nature, landscape, animals and people together with a huge passion for working in hospitality and tourism to bring people closer together.
When I decided to study in the Degree Programme in Tourism at Lapland UAS, I had many expectations and was generally very excited about this new challenge and different chapter in my life. I expect from this programme in the next three years, to develop strategies in sustainable tourism. I believe it will become a very essential part in the future of this global industry and customers will search for climate neutral and green ways to travel. I would like to improve my presentation skills with modern tools and I am also looking forward to gaining more knowledge in entrepreneurship, business plans and marketing. At some point in my future career, I would like to open my own hostel to welcome and support young travellers from around the world and distribute my part to the international travel community.
Personally, I expect to enjoy my time in Lapland and explore the Arctic and its culture in all possible ways. I expect that living near the Arctic Circle would be a lot different compared to the places I have been living before. A place where people are surrounded by endless amounts of nature and wildlife, living in icy cold and dark winters, a period of endless days of warm summer when the sun never sets, the number one country in innovation and technology and referring to the world Happiest report in 2020, the country where the happiest people in the world live.
Reflecting the last seven weeks, I would say that my expectations towards my studies match with the reality of this programme. It is great to learn on a daily basis, sometimes from local entrepreneurs and experts of this industry for example from a guest lecturer but also together with other students in group projects, discussions and presentations. It is definitely the right field to study.
A great part, in my opinion, is that we students are very well connected with the teachers. The information we receive throughout the lectures are clear, mostly simple to understand and very easy to find on an online platform for self-study. As a new member of Lapland University of Applied Sciences, I can tell that our teachers are enjoying to educate their student and willing to support us during the study progress as much as possible.
The programme itself is designed very creatively with different challenging tasks. The general idea of this study is, that the students are active throughout the entire programme, learning from experience and study very close to the working life with real-life projects at the UAS or during trainings in local or international companies where students have the possibility to practise their skills. This was one of the main reasons why I decided to apply for this programme at the UAS. The university also acknowledges previous work experience of students which they can implement into their personal study plan and graduate on a faster pace. I am also looking forward to going on an exchange study programme that is offered to experience a different university, destination and culture.
- Simon, tourism student -
I am Imran. Born and raised in Pakistan. I graduated from Lapland UAS in 2015 and I am currently working in Clarion Hotel Helsinki as a night audit agent.
When I applied for Lapland UAS, I had already graduated from Commerce with a specialization in Accounting but at the same time, I wanted to travel abroad for further studies. I started to look for different study options in Finland because I had some friends who recommended me to study in Finland. I have always been mesmerized by the midnight sun and northern lights phenomena and always wanted to observe them. As soon as I knew that Finnish Lapland has the midnight sun and northern lights (keeping in mind I was not good at geography :D) I decided this is the place where I wanna be!
Lapland UAS has a very balanced study structure between theory and practical training. We had lots of on-the-field assignments, for example visiting tourist attractions and safari companies. This helped me a lot to learn about the local and international culture. It was an extensive and deep learning experience from contact lessons to group work and study tours. The teachers really own you here. I remember, my teacher tutor Ulla even helped me to find a job during my early days in Finland.
If you are planning to study in the tourism and hospitality field, I highly recommend Lapland UAS because here you have great opportunities to learn about tourism in a real environment. Rovaniemi is a small town that means easy to move around. I call it my Finnish hometown.
After graduation, I started looking for a job because I really wanted to stay here in this beautiful country. It was not easy to find a job without proper skills of Finnish. I was motivated to start my career as a hospitality professional, so I decided to go to full time language school and after spending there only 6 months I heard of a Norwegian hotel chain entering into the Finnish market. The next thought I had was ‘‘a job at a hotel in Finland means you need to have fluent Finnish skills’’. I had doubts and fears while I was writing the application for this job. But at the same time, I had passion and courage to tell the world that nothing is impossible if you have these two qualities.
I would also like to share my journey to this job. The company launched a big recruitment campaign in Helsinki. The first audition was to sell yourself to the employer within 2 minutes. Guess what? I did it! I made my way to the second round. Then after a week, we had a few online tests where I succeeded as well. This was the moment when I said to myself that I am gonna get this job. Then there was a 3rd round and after this final interview, I was selected to be part of the team.
My advice for new students is that have dreams in your life, work hard for them, never lose hope and live your passions, success will follow you! Cheers!
Imran Safdar, DPT-graduated