UCLan graduate Adam Smith is celebrating after winning a prestigious prize for academic excellence.
Adam, who achieved a First Class Honours Degree in BA (Hons) International Tourism Management, has been awarded the Merlin Entertainments Prize 2014. This is awarded to the student who has demonstrated exceptional academic performance during their degree studies.
Adam explained: “Whilst working as an actor in a UK tour of the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe I decided I wanted another shot at university after an unsuccessful period at Salford. I’d never studied Tourism before and didn’t take it as one of my A Levels, but I had experience working in the industry and a passion for travelling which led me to look into tourism courses at many universities. I chose UCLan because the course stood out as they provided the opportunity to do a 48-week international work placement, which really appealed to me.
“The course was everything I wanted it to be and more. I was impressed that it involved management sector modules as well as tourism ones, as this helped open doors for me in my career. The course also offered great international trips, which were heavily subsidised and helped me have some eye opening experiences.
“The overall UCLan atmosphere is friendly and I’ve made some amazing lifelong friends within the course and in other sports and societies as well. As the class sizes are smaller than other universities I felt like I wasn’t just another number, but a person that all my tutors knew and I could go to them for help in any aspect of my university life which wouldn’t have been the case at bigger institutions.
“As part of my degree I undertook a 48-week placement at Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, Florida. This enabled me to gain invaluable industry experience to complement the theoretical content of my course. I feel this experience was not only the greatest year of my life, but also significantly enhanced my performance in my final year as I was able to contribute real life experiences to my work. During my final year of the course, I also worked and volunteered for Merlin Entertainments in Blackpool. They have an amazing variety of quality attractions within the resort and I’ve valued working with such a dynamic company.
“Since leaving UCLan I have managed to secure a graduate job with World Travel Holdings and Partner group Cruise118. My degree was paramount in attaining this job, as it has provided me with tourism and management sector knowledge, employability skills and has also allowed me to gain invaluable work experience through various volunteer opportunities and my placement year at Disney.
“My advice to other students is to take full advantage of the opportunities available at UCLan, go on as many trips as you can and see the world. After my first year I did a Camp America experience and loved it! I would also advise on going on a work placement, abroad or closer to home, as it really does make a difference when looking for jobs in the future.
“Looking back it was a bit of a gamble to choose the International Tourism Management course at UCLan as I had not previously studied it before, but I’m glad I did it as it’s turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made.”