UWTSD Tourism graduate tells how travel and studies transformed her confidence


A student from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) has told how her studies expanded her horizons and transformed her life.

Masters student Rhian Cook wearing academic robes and a mortar board for her graduation photo.

Rhian Cook, who graduated this week with a first class MTour Masters in International Tourism and Events, enjoyed her course so much that she is now determined to work full-time in the hospitality industry. She credits her lecturers with giving her the confidence to study at master’s level following a break from education.

“I was extremely nervous to get back to education and really didn't expect to achieve any grades above 60 percent,” she says. “I was genuinely dumbfounded when my first assignment come back graded at 75 percent, and from then on my lecturers worked with me to ensure these types of grades become my expectation and not a one-off.

“They also pushed me to believe I was good enough to pursue my master’s degree and gave me the confidence I needed to transfer to the MTour, which was one of my best decisions as I am graduating with an overall first.”

She credits her lecturers with helping her to achieve the best results possible throughout the course.

“My lecturers have been an integral part of my academic success and personal development over the past two years,” she says. “They know my strengths, weaknesses, ambitions and fears. They know the little quirks I have that make me who I am and how best I learn. They have worked with me to make me the best version of myself I can be.”

Her 2019 field trip to Malaysia and Singapore had a particularly powerful impact on her, opening her up to experiences she would not have had without UWTSD.

“How many people can say they have taken the helter-skelter down the stairs in Air Asia's HQ, spent a day marvelling at the beautiful Hindu celebration of Thaipusam at the Batu caves, dressed in Islamic clothing and completed 'wudu' at a regional Mosque before witnessing the call to prayer in a serene and beautiful building, or swam on top of the airport in Singapore? It’s a definite highlight of not only my university experience, but my life.”

She says her studies made her want to know more and learn more about the industry and the world, with the Consultancy Project enabling her to experience the world of business while still studying.

“It gave me the opportunity to go into a real business and use my problem-solving skills,” she says, adding that she is delighted that she chose to study at UWTSD.  

“My only regret I have about my university experience is that I did not join UWTSD at the beginning of my academic career,” she says. “Looking towards the future, I am going back to South East Asia this September to travel for three months. I plan to throw myself into every opportunity and have time to reflect on my next chapter in life.

“On my return I hope to gain a graduate position somewhere in the UK or overseas to gain enough capital to become my own boss. I see my future in the hospitality business - I would love to own a backpacking hostel in Wales, preferably Swansea.”

Rhian’s tutor Jacqui Jones said that she is delighted she achieved a first-class degree.

“Rhian has thrived on the travel opportunities on the programme taking part in field trips to London, Malaysia and Singapore,” she says. “This has allowed her to develop a passion for travel.

“As the UK has recently launched the Tourism Sector Deal, Tourism Management programmes at UWTSD are designed to help address the industry skills gap and shortages in potential future managers. These programmes are designed to help students develop their professional industry skills to become the leaders of the future and give students the opportunity to experience the industry through a range of exciting placement opportunities in UK and around the world as well as international field study trips, providing students with the opportunity to see behind the scenes in the industry and network with international tourism leaders.”

Further Information

Rebecca Davies

Swyddog Gweithredol Cysylltiadau â’r Wasg a’r Cyfryngau

Executive Press and Media Relations Officer

Cyfathrebu Corfforaethol a Chysylltiadau Cyhoeddus

Corporate Communications and PR

Tel: 01792 483695
Mobile: 07384 467071
Email: Rebecca.Davies@uwtsd.ac.uk