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Student Case Study

Female graduate smiling in front of the Derry Girls mural

Daria Hrywniak

Course: Foundation Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management

Meet Daria who decided to study Travel & Tourism at NWRC as an alternative to traditional A-Levels. She says having the opportunity to travel the world via the College's fully-funded international programmes gave her invaluable work experience in the industry.

I completed two 3-month work placements in Belgium and Fuerteventura with the Erasmus+ programme. I was so grateful for the opportunity as it allowed me to gain valuable industry knowledge and experience. I’ve currently been offered a 6-month position in Turkey as a Holiday Rep with TUI.

Age: 23


Where are you from?

I am originally from Poland small town Krapkowice but I live in Coleraine.


Previous Education before you came to NWRC?

I previously studied Level 3 Extended Diploma in Travel and Tourism at Northern Regional College and then the Level 3 Administration Business Professional at NWRC.


Why did you choose to study Travel & Tourism at NWRC instead of doing A-Levels?

I decided to study Foundation Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management at NWRC as my passion has always been the tourism industry. I wanted a degree with the possibility of work-based learning which NWRC offered. I had a lot of flexibility around the work as the course was 3 days a week which allowed me to continue my part-time job along with my studies.


Tell us more about your course at NWRC

The Foundation Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management has been an incredible journey for me with already having a great passion for the industry. It has allowed me to gain valuable knowledge and skills that I will carry with me wherever the journey takes me.

Within the course, I was able to learn different aspects of the travel and tourism sector, including exploring different destinations, gaining insights into customer service and marketing strategies, learning about local entrepreneurs and how valuable they are for our industry, and understanding various dynamics of the industry itself.

One of my highlights during the course was the Work-placement module which allowed me to gain a much better understanding of working in the industry itself while being abroad. The support and help received had been incredible.

Within this course, I gained a better understanding that the Tourism industry is far greater than traditional travel agencies and simple packaged holidays. The industry has so much to offer in areas such as adventure tourism, cultural tourism, sustainable tourism, solo travellers and so much more. This has allowed me to look broader outside of the box which is why one day I would love to become a Tour Operator specialising in niche tourism which may not be as popular or have as many agencies offering different varieties of travel needs.

The Foundation Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management has taught me the necessary knowledge and skills to thrive in the industry. It has helped me to open my eyes to the view of the industry as some people may think it’s an easy industry to be in however there is much more to it.

Overall, this course has allowed me to have an incredible experience. It has broadened my love for the industry even more, expanded my understanding of the Tourism sector, and opened my eyes to a multitude of career opportunities. I will be forever grateful for the knowledge and skills which I have gained during my studies.


What was the best thing about life at the College?

Some of the best things about studying at NWRC is the support you receive from the lecturers and staff, no matter what path you may have chosen or problems that may have occurred while studying either personally or at college. NWRC offers a wide range of support to every individual. I am very grateful for all the support I have received in my studies as without the help and understanding I would not be able to be where I am. Not to mention the smaller classes which mine had, gave all students more time to learn and progress.


Did you take part in any work placement/learning as part of your course?

I had been very fortunate to partake in 2 placements during my study.

One of which had been through Foyle International which the college itself had been working with. I partook in a 3-month work placement with the Erasmus+ programme in Fuerteventura as Hospitality Trainee.

My second work placement had been offered directly through college which was a part of my work-based learning module. I was fortunate to attend a 3-month work placement under Erasmus+ in Leuven, Belgium in Irish College. This particular placement to this day I am grateful for the opportunity as it has allowed me to gain much valuable knowledge not only regarding the industry but living abroad alone, learning the much needed where life can take you if you allow the opportunities not to overcome the fear you have.


What did you do afterwards?

After I had finished my Foundation degree, I began to travel. I travelled to Portugal right after attending a 2-week NexGen course in Barcelona. I also started my first job within the industry working for TUI as a holiday rep in stunning Lake Garda in Italy over the summer.

I was also very fortunate to be put forward to compete for the 2023 NITravelNews 'Travel & Tourism Student of the Year Award'. I could not comprehend the gratitude I felt to be in the Top 3 students of the year. Meeting such incredible people who are as passionate about the industry as I am has definitely been the highlight.

Daria pictured at the 2023 NI Travel & Tourism Awards
Daria pictured at the 2023 NI Travel & Tourism Awards


Would you recommend your course to other students?

Absolutely! Based on my experience with NWRC I could not recommend a Higher Education course enough.

I did not have an easy way to get up to the point of joining NWRC. However, I had always felt so welcome with the support of the lecturers and staff within the college. The supportive environment, some friendships I had made along the way had created an incredible journey for me.

The experience I had during my time at NWRC was exceptional. The college has provided an engaging learning environment that included practical application of knowledge. The college ensured a well-rounded education and the curriculum had been designed thoughtfully to equip students with relevant skills to prepare for life outside of college as even after graduating college offers support.

I will forever be grateful to the truly amazing tutors at NWRC for their passion, dedication, and truly great approach. They had gone above and beyond to provide support inside and outside of the classroom.

I know that if I need any support I will still be able to receive their assistance and advice which truly speaks volumes.


Plans for the future?

As of now, I am currently planning my first solo trip to Thailand with more to follow. I would love to take some time travelling before deciding fully on my future. I am also planning on taking a few more seasons working for TUI. Currently being offered a 6-month position in Turkey as a holiday rep in April 2024.

In the future, I would love to share my knowledge of travel destinations and hopefully become a Tour Operator specialising in niche tourism. I would love to create travel packages catered to all but also focus on solo travellers as there are so many great adventures to be had but not always they are catered for solo travellers which is becoming more and more seen.

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