A HND Tourism student’s journey has taken her from college to university in only two years.
Justina Smulkeviciute (27) oridinally from Lithuania, but who now lives in Falkirk started her HND course at FVC in 2016 and after graduating in 2018 she has just started in third year of her International Business and Tourism Management course at Glasgow Caledonian University.
She said: “I was living in Fraserburgh, when I decided to go back to my studies. I spent three years by working hard, but as a young person I was looking for more opportunities and availability to travel more, so the north of Scotland was not the best place for this,
“I decided to move closer to Edinburgh or Glasgow and I chose Falkirk. I started to look for information about Forth Valley College and I liked the reviews. I applied for an NC Travel and Tourism course, and after interview, the lecturer decided to suggest a HNC/HND place. At the same time, I received a letter from another college, but I decided to go here because of the good reviews and the excellent location.
“At the college I liked the library and the librarians were very helpful. The first couple weeks were challenging, because I had never studied abroad before, but everybody was very helpful. All classes were on the same floor, one building and it made my life easier. The lecturers were the best. I am thankful for their patience and for their interesting stories from their real life and previous experiences. I think they encouraged me to fall in love with the tourism industry and to continue my studies. They were friendly, understanding and helpful.
“While at college I found loads of friends, and had a wonderful experience and I realised this was what I wanted to do in my life. I had studied before, but I was never happy about what I was learning. Now I am enjoying my studies at the university, because the Forth Valley College experience showed all the opportunities that could be available in the tourism industry. I also improved my knowledge about everything and become braver as a person.
“All the knowledge I gained, all the practice works, and visited attractions - by looking at them as an expert, not a tourist - improved my understanding about the tourism industry. At the college I got all the most important things and a base to build my future. I was not sure I would manage to get a place at the university or not, but my lecturers believed in me and encouraged me. And I did!
“I would definitely recommend the college and I have already as my cousin started has started her NC qualification and so far, she is very happy.
“I cannot describe how thankful I am for my lecturers. I wish them all the best. They were amazing. And for students at FVC … everything is possible if you working hard, believe and do what you need to do. To achieve your goals, you need work hard, but also, you need to have the right people around you. FVC is the right place with the right people.”