Case Study

Kelsey Stephenson

Sunderland, UK

BSc (Hons) International Tourism and Hospitality Management


Kelsey Stephenson's placement year in the USA was life-changing as she went to Austin, Texas where she grew as an individual but mostly grew her confidence and she realised that being adventurous is an important part of her life. Kelsey is looking to take part in a second internship in the USA and work at a supervisory level to gain some experience before coming back to Sunderland and apply her knowledge.

The reason I chose to study in Sunderland is because of the recommendations I was given by other students, I was given positive feedback for all courses within the University and the success rates of the business school.

I saw that it was one of the best within the UK and I instantly knew I would grow and learn whilst having fun and the main reason what attracted me the most was the optional placement year and as soon as I heard that I would have a chance to travel in the USA whilst studying I knew it was an opportunity of a lifetime.

The best aspects of studying Tourism and Hospitality Management at Sunderland are the wide variety of modules to part take in. They allow learning whilst on field trips. I had the chance to study dark tourism in 2nd year and travel to Prague, I gained knowledge and facts you cannot learn in a classroom. The range of topics you learn whilst studying amazes me and although they all link together they differentiate and keeps the classes interesting.

Because the University offers a range of topics it has allowed me to gain knowledge in all areas of the tourism and hospitality sectors but also helped me become more confident in my work and helped me develop skills that will help me in the future.

I would certainly recommend the University to other students so they can grow as individuals and enjoy the experience of learning at an academic level with the staff who will guide you to where you want to be. They are so helpful and give the greatest advice that no one else can give you for university life.

All the different facilities come together and often organise social events and events to help with employability such as placements. It also offers a wide range of facilities to cater to all needs such as the gym, climbing walls, libraries and catering facilities. I am glad I was given the chance to study in Sunderland. I could not have had a better experience elsewhere.

My advice to students looking to study in further education is that I recommend doing a lot of research on what each university has to offer. This could be from what facilities they have or how they help with employability. Each university has something that stands out from the others.

The University of Sunderland can offer everything a student could need while studying and can offer the most inspiring advice when needed. The open days give future students the best opportunity to allow non-students to take time out and visit the University to see what is available and speak to some of the staff members to make the decision making that little bit easier.

I also recommend having a good idea of where you want to be whilst researching university opportunities. If you don’t have something you are extremely passionate about or not quite sure what course you want to part take in, it is extremely important to understand that having an interest in the course you want to study affects your work and is ten times more interesting if you are passionate about it. I have a strong passion for the hospitality sector which made Tourism and Hospitality Management perfect for me.

Most of all, just enjoy the experience with Sunderland and create friendships with other students. This will enhance any student experience and make the decision of studying with Sunderland worthwhile.

My career aims are to work up into hotel management, I believe that my passion for understanding the importance of customer service will impact massively in the hotel industry and will help me progress to higher roles. I have big aims to hopefully graduate with a 1st class degree and aim to give my best in all opportunities available. 

The placement year contributed to my studies and helped me put the studies I previously gained knowledge about to practice. It also impacted massively on the work I put in for the final year. I have progressed a lot since coming back and it really is paying off in my studies and I could not have expected anything more after having the experience I’ve had with the help from the University staff for the last four years."

Published 2 April 2019

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