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International tourism student flies in with a first class

17 December 2015

Amy-Louise Thompson

Ateka Desai overcomes adversity to graduate with top degree  

For most students graduation is an exciting and happy day, but for 25 year-old University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) graduate, Ateka Desai, it is so much more than that. Graduating with a first-class degree in international tourism, Ateka has come through a turbulent third year to inspire her tutors and class mates alike.

During her time at UCLan, Ateka suffered from depression and anxiety, which led her to taking a month away from her course. “It was a really difficult time for me,” said the former Blackburn College student. “I wasn’t sure if I would be able to complete my course, particularly with the grades that I wanted.”

 

“With her determination and the support we offer our students, Ateka completed her course with a first-class degree and developed excellent employability skills along the way."

Ateka credits her course leader Dr Carley Sutton as one of the reasons she was able to graduate. She said: “Without Carley I’m not sure I would be graduating. She was an incredible support to me and my family, even visiting me in hospital.”

Ateka came back from her time away stronger than ever and completed her assignments with exceptionally high results. Dr Carley Sutton said: “With her determination and the support we offer our students, Ateka completed her course with a first-class degree and developed excellent employability skills along the way which helped her secure competitive placements with national industry leaders.”

Having a foundation degree in disability studies and working with special needs children, Ateka found her passion for travel and the tourism industry whilst on a holiday to Germany with her sister. Her decision to join UCLan was based on the opportunities available to her whilst completing her degree which she took full advantage of by taking work experience with Merlin Entertainment and British Airways.

 

“A lot of people go through difficult times at university, but the help you need to get you through is right there. The mental health and wellbeing team were a great support to me."

Following graduation it is Ateka’s intention to enjoy some down time whilst waiting to hear about a possible management opportunity with a global food chain. Her ultimate goal is to open her own boutique B&B.

She added: “A lot of people go through difficult times at university, but the help you need to get you through is right there. The mental health and wellbeing team were a great support to me and I think more students should make use of the services available to them.”