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Alumni student, Johanna is turning her love of travelling into a career

Student operating professional video camera at TAFE campus

If you’re an international student, you probably have an interest in travel. But have you ever considered turning travelling into a career? This is exactly what Johanna Faber decided to do. 

Tourism is an industry that comes with some serious job perks. Plus, with the world opening up again, there’s never been a better time to get into tourism. We spoke to Johanna about her journey to studying the SIT50116 Diploma of Travel and Tourism Management with TAFE International Western Australia (TIWA).

The desire to travel

Johanna was born in Germany and grew up in a small village near the city of Cologne. She discovered an interest in exploring the world when she had the opportunity to travel through Europe with her local choir group. After high school, Johanna wanted to continue to explore the world so she jumped on a plane to Australia.

“I decided to come to Australia on a working holiday visa and I fell in love with the country, the people and especially the lifestyle.” Johanna says.

When Johanna’s visa came to an end, she realised that she wasn’t ready to leave, and decided to investigate furthering her education in Australia.

“The idea of being able to build a career based on my passion for travel and tourism was very intriguing. The industry offered me the opportunity to form positive customer experiences, present destinations and cultures that I feel passionate about, all while working in a diverse industry.”

Studying in Perth

Johanna had to decide where she should live and study in Australia, but she says this was the easiest decision to make.

“I have visited all the major cities on the mainland. Perth offered me a unique combination of city life while being surrounded by landscapes and nature, which is extremely important to me.”

Johanna knew that she wanted to undertake a course that focused on practical skills and quickly discovered that TIWA provided the type of training that she was looking for.

“I consciously chose a training pathway over university. I’m a hands on person and the TAFE Business Simulation Program met my needs perfectly. Perth campus, North Metropolitan TAFE offered me an exceptional student experience, a recognised pathway, credits for university entry, networking opportunities and first hand tourism experiences.”

It’s these first-hand experiences that Johanna speaks so highly of.

“Our lecturers did their best to get us involved in the tourism industry as much as possible. We did regular industry field trips to places like Rottnest Island and the Swan Valley. Our lecturers would invite us to attend tourism networking events to get in contact with people from the industry. We were also offered volunteering opportunities to get some first hand experience of what working in the industry would be like.”

A woman smiling during a tandem sky dive with a male instructor on a bright sunny day.

Challenges and successes

Despite finding motivation and encouragement from her community, Johanna experienced first hand the challenges that COVID-19 posed to her industry.

“Finishing my course during COVID-19 was difficult. During the first year of my diploma I was working as a travel consultant in a travel agency, doing exactly what I wanted to do — helping other like minded individuals and backpackers from all around the world explore Australia. Unfortunately, due to the impact of COVID-19 our office had to close down.”

But Johanna didn’t let these challenges prevent her from succeeding in her studies. After completing her diploma in December 2020, Johanna was named a 2021 Ambassador of the Year (International Student of the Year) by North Metropolitan TAFE, and the WA Training Awards’ International Student of the Year in 2021. Since then, Johanna has started a new role with The Ritz-Carlton, Perth.

“Working in hotels has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. So, my new position finished off a very exciting and eventful year.”

Life in Perth

Now that Johanna has completed her studies and has settled into her work with The Ritz-Carlton, she has been making the most of life in Perth.

“I love to have breakfast at one of our amazing cafes and beautiful beaches. I go horse riding in our bushlands and swimming in the summer. If I have two to three days off work, my partner and I pack our camping equipment and explore all the beautiful places around regional Western Australia such as Lane Poole Reserve, the South West region and Sandy Cape.”

While Johanna is planning to further her education in the future, she is enjoying the stage that she’s at now.

Johanna says, “I am very happy where I am now. My new job fulfils me and I’d like to grow in this field and company. I want to go on an extended holiday. I’d like to see a couple of beautiful places that have been on my list for a while now and see my family.”

Advice for future international students

Johanna advises anyone considering studying at TIWA to take advantage of all of the free student support that is offered through external study agencies and TIWA. Also, most importantly, to choose a course that you’re enthusiastic about.

“Being an international student is not easy. We all deal with stress, homesickness, and doubt at some point of our journey. Studying subjects I’m passionate about has helped me keep going in challenging times.”

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