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Patricia’s journey to be a hotel General Manager


When Patricia Romanillos left her home in the Philippines and moved to Australia, she felt confident she would be welcomed with open arms.

"Australians are very open to cultural diversity," she says. "They're very open to people from different cultural backgrounds, so I felt that I would be learning productively while being in a nice community."

Currently, Patricia is studying the SIT50416 Diploma of Hospitality Management with TAFE International Western Australia (TIWA) at the South Regional TAFEBunbury campus.

She quickly settled comfortably into the laidback lifestyle this regional area has to offer. As she used to live in a busy metropolitan city centre in the Philippines, Patricia has found that studying in a regional area has been a welcome change of pace. Providing the right balance of hustle and bustle with opportunities for relaxation, she calls Bunbury the "perfect fit."

Not only has Patricia discovered contentment in her new home, but she has also found great fulfillment in her course. "The experience has been very rewarding," she says. "With the hands-on training, I feel like I'm really getting the quality education that I'm looking for. In the course, you get the support and guidance to know if you're doing things right or how you could be doing things better."

According to Patricia, the sources of such guidance have been many. First, she explains, the lecturers have done an excellent job of providing practical support. "It's the exact right balance of letting you learn on your own but, at the same time, giving you the guidance that you need."

Much of the support she has received is from the international student support services staff, who work diligently to aid international students throughout their educational journeys. The staff host weekly workshops to check in with students, offer advice on assessments and answer any questions they may have.

"The campus even participated in a welcome event with the Mayor of Bunbury at the beginning of the academic year. It was a meet and greet for all the international students. Our student services officer brought us to the Mayor's office where he did a welcome speech, gave us goodies and afternoon tea," adds Patricia. "To me, that was quite special."

While TIWA offers a diverse range of courses for international students across various disciplines, Patricia knew that the SIT50416 Diploma of Hospitality Management was the right path for her. Having worked for years as a front of house manager in the hotel industry, she was seeking an opportunity to refine her skills and advance within the sector.

"My goal is to become a hotel general manager one day," she explains.

Though she acknowledges that the hotel industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, Patricia says she is confident the sector will bounce back stronger than ever, giving her ample opportunity to achieve her professional goals.

Her confidence in her future success is in large part thanks to her coursework. According to Patricia, SIT50416 Diploma of Hospitality Management touches on all the key components required to succeed as a hotel manager, including recruitment and rostering processes, induction practices, event and meeting management, staff performance monitoring, customer service development and budgeting. "Those are definitely the skills that I need to attain my goal," she says.


Patricia's message to future TIWA international students hoping to further their education in Australia is to embrace the experience as much as possible in the academic, professional and personal aspects of life.

"Having that immersion in a new culture is very enriching. Not just academically or professionally, but as an individual. Enjoy the whole experience," she urges. She adds that students shouldn't hesitate to seek guidance when needed, whether it's from student support services, friends or even lecturers: "Don't be shy to ask your lecturer for advice or help if you need it."

Patricia concludes by reminding international students of how important it is to step outside their comfort zone to fully reap the benefits of studying abroad. "It might be uncomfortable at first," she shares, "but when you fully embrace the experience, you'll be surprised how much you learn. Enjoy everything Australia has to offer."

To develop strong links with industry to succeed in the future employment market, choose TAFE International Western Australia (TIWA) for globally recognised courses delivered by dedicated lecturers with industry experience and connections. Check out the wide range of courses that TIWA has to offer and detailed information on the application process. You can apply to study with TIWA by completing an online application.

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