Student Name: Alex Hunstone

Course: International Hospitality and Tourism Management

Hometown: Southport, England

Year of Course:  Year 4

About You

I’m 21 and from Southport, in England.

When I was younger I lived out in Saudi Arabia due to my dad’s job. We stayed out in the middle east for 7 years until I was 8. This meant that I went to school out there. This was one of the first reasons, for me wanting to travel with my future career, hence one of the reasons why I chose the course I did to study at QMU. Over the years I have travelled to many countries including, America, Canada and various countries in Europe.

Due to my course, I had a 9-month placement, which I spent in America working for Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. These were some of the best months of my life, especially linked to the fact I’m a massive Disney kid at heart. I then travelled around America for a month after my placement had finished. This made me realise that I love travelling and enjoy seeing different countries and cultures around the world.

When at home I am a Brownie Leader, for the 48th Southport Brownies. I enjoy this very much as I see the girls grow and develop over the 4 years they are a brownie. This has built on my leadership skills, but also allows me to revert back to my childhood of playing games and creating crafts.

As well as a brownies leader I am also an assistant helper at the Griffin Scout Group. I was a scout myself and it helped me make friends for life and provided me with some of the best experiences of my life. This summer we recently took them to Austria for 2 weeks on an adventure holiday.

Some of my other hobbies include Ballroom and Latin dancing in which I am a trained teacher in and playing my flute.

Since doing hospitality and tourism at college for my A-levels I knew I wanted to do something similar at university. Therefore, when choosing my university, I looked into courses which had both hospitality and tourism aspects. Qmu became one of my first choices due to the fact it offered a 9-month work placement in 2nd year. Once visiting the university, I knew I wanted to come here as it was small and on a campus which I wanted. I really liked Edinburgh as a city therefore it was a great university which was close to the city centre, on campus and easy accessible. I chose to study in Edinburgh as most course in England didn’t have the placement opportunity therefore I thought it would be more beneficial to me in the future if I chose a course which did give me industry experience.

Living Away from Home

I’ve lived in halls for the majority of my 4 years at uni due to various reasons, and they aren’t as bad as I thought they were going to be. I think the best part of halls is the people you meet. Your flatmates become your family away from home and make your uni experience even better. I know that from my various flatmates over the 3 years I’ve been in halls, I’ve gained friends for life. It is so handy living in halls as you can roll out of bed and go to class. Its close to musselburgh for food shopping and Fort Kinnaird for other shopping. I definitely make the most of the Fort especially now with the new cinema and restaurants.

 I’d say the top three items that I packed and I wouldn’t want to be without is:

  1. A good coat – its freezing up in Scotland especially if you’re not used to it – blankets as well are always used!
  2. Pictures of friends and family - I’m very much a home girl and love my family and friends. By having pictures of them from home made me miss home less and makes your room feel homelier.
  3. TV or laptop to watch TV – As much as you do work etc. for uni you also have lots of free time. One way to get the flat together and become closer is by using a TV to watch films etc. With my flatmates, we all liked to watch 'I’m a Celeb' therefore as I had a TV in my room we always congregated to my room every night to watch it. It was also good if any of use were having a down day as we’d all be there for one another.

Living close in the city is great, everything from the shops to the nightclubs, its been a great experience. I’ve had so many it hard to put them all into words. They will be memories I’ll never forget and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to experience them.

  1. Watching the Bonfire Night fireworks from on top of Carlton Hill. I went with my flatmates. You get an amazing view of the main fireworks as well as all the other fireworks displays that go on all over Edinburgh. Its busy but one of the best places to view them, easy to get to and best of all its free.
  2. The Christmas market. Edinburgh puts on a great Christmas market each year. You have to make sure you got to the bar and have a drink while watching over the ice-rink. Had many laughs watching other ice-skating.
  3. Rose Street – some of the best evenings I’ve had while in the city with family and friends happen down rose street. Going into the pubs along there you’ll experience fabulous service of normally traditional Scottish families. My family loved it especially at Christmas and new year. One of my favourite shops is shake away, not got one at home and love the fact I can chose any chocolate and get it made into a milkshake or hot chocolate.
"If your interested in hospitality and tourism, then go for it as it does focus on both aspects of the industry. Plus, the placement this course offers will defiantly benefit you after graduation when looking for a future career, as employer will see you have industry experience. The course also develops your management skills as well which is vital in the industry today."
Alex Hunstone

The Course

I didn’t attend and open day due to availability of driving up to Scotland with my parents, however the university were very good and showed me around when I came to see the campus on a weekend.

I would say the highlight of my course was my industry placement in Disney World. I love it so much that I plan on working for them full time once I graduate this year. Aside from placement 1st year was great. I am a very practical learner, therefore by having work experience at Edinburgh new town cooking school was an experience ill never forget and once that I learnt a lot from. The best bit was when we put on a James Bond evening for guests, it went down a success. We also went to a whiskey distillery and a beer brewery; as well as having a wine tasting seminar.

If your interested in hospitality and tourism, then go for it as it does focus on both aspects of the industry. Plus, the placement this course offers will defiantly benefit you after graduation when looking for a future career, as employer will see you have industry experience. The course also develops your management skills as well which is vital in the industry today.

After I graduate I plan to work for Walt Disney World on a programme they have in which I travel all over the world recruiting and teaching potential employees about Disney and the way in which they operate. Another career which I’ll be applying for is an air hostess with emirates as they too will provide a great way to travel the world.

Life as a Student at QMU

I have been a member of the QMU dance society and performed with them at a competition in Loughborough. I joined the dance society as I love dancing and thought it would be a great way to meet people other than those on my course. I loved going to the competitions and winning society of the year with them in 2012 and 2013.

I would say my top tip for making the most of student life, is trying to get involved in everything while at uni. Go to the fresher’s fair where you’ll be able to sign up for these opportunities. It will be the way to make friends and experience the best bits of being a student.

 

Story published 2016-2017