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How to use your travel course to see the world

To travel is to experience, and when you’re experiencing you’re creating memories. For Holmesglen graduate Melissa Hanlon, her tourism career started with a similar aim.

She followed a study pathway that moved her forward and allowed the opportunity to become immersed in the travel industry. Melissa started with a VET Delivered to Secondary Students course before progressing to the SIT50116 Diploma of Travel and Tourism Management.

The result? Melissa now works as a Character Attendant as part of the Disney College Program in Orlando.

So, how did Melissa go from the classroom to working in Florida?

She found something she loved and followed it

“I had a dream to travel and experience new cultures – a passion for hospitality, a desire to constantly be on my feet and be surrounded by fresh faces,” Melissa explains.

Travel and tourism is an industry of rich diversity. Melissa dreamed of exploring careers as a flight attendant, a travel agent, front desk and cruise operator, and; even, an adventure tourism professional.

She then found the right course to achieve her goals

"The VET program, in particular the tourism course, gave me an insight and introduction into the industry. I was able to create skills and experiences that helped me get casual jobs while studying in school,” Melissa says.

A career starts from the moment we start trying. Melissa was able to use her course to build her CV.

“Fortunately, it gave me a head-start for when I completed school because of the work experience and networking opportunities that were involved.”

A career is all about taking your chances

Melissa sought the Disney College Program, which is an internship program run by The Walt Disney Company. From Holmesglen to Orlando, she has worked as a Character Attendant. Her roles include providing

  • Guests with information about show schedules, character locations and visitation times
  • Audience control, including handling challenging guest situations; ensuring the safety of character performers and guests
  • Show quality and character integrity
  • Cleanliness and order in work locations

While all of the roles give Melissa skills and new experiences, in the bigger picture they also provide her with a sense of purpose.

“My role encourages me to focus on creating life-long memories by interacting with guests, even by simply being a cultural representative and sharing Australian culture.” 

…And, what advice does Melissa have for future students?

“I recommend taking advantage of all the opportunities that you can only take while studying a course including; internships, student exchanges, work/study abroad, and volunteering.

“To have an overseas experience; not just a short holiday, where you are immersing in a different culture, opens so many doors,” she says.

Find out more about our travel and tourism courses.