Meet Nang from Singapore, studying tourism, hospitality and event management
Published 15 Nov, 2023 · 7-minute read
Hi, my name is Nang Moe! I’m from Singapore and I’m studying a Bachelor of Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management at The University of Queensland. Keep reading to hear about my experiences and how my time at UQ has helped me prepare for a future career in this exciting industry.
Why did you choose to study the Bachelor of Tourism, Hospitality and Events at UQ?
Back in 2015, I travelled to Japan with my family. Being young and curious, I was amazed by the way of life in Japan and the cultural differences. The food was amazing, the people were so kind, and I was able to learn more about the culture and traditions of the Japanese people. Since that trip, in every country I’ve visited, I would strive to learn more about the culture and way of life of individuals in that country.
Growing up in Myanmar, Burma, I felt as though there were many parts of my home country that could be developed to become tourist attractions, just like the places I visited overseas. This was why I decided to pursue a career in hospitality and events.
I first started working in the service industry at the age of 15. My parents were the ones that encouraged me to start working during my school holidays to gain valuable working experience for my future self. My first official part-time job was as a waitress in a hotel restaurant. I loved taking care of guests, ensuring they had a pleasant dining experience while getting the opportunity to meet people from all around the world. It was so interesting to be able to talk to people who have had such different experiences from myself. I believe it was from then on that I realised I liked to make a difference in someone's day and that I’d have the opportunity to do so as part of the hospitality and service industry. It’s not always easy and some days drag on much longer than others, but the rewards are so fulfilling it makes the hard days pass by in a flash.
After completing a diploma at the Temaek Polytechnic in Singapore, I applied for the Bachelor of Tourism, Hospitality and Events program at UQ because of its ranking among Australian universities and because of its location in Brisbane. The structure of the degrees at UQ seemed like an overall great fit for me, with internship opportunities, social activities, hands-on lessons as well as face-to-face engagement with industry professionals. I have thoroughly enjoyed all the courses I have taken so far, including both hospitality and events electives.
Do you feel a sense of belonging in the UQ community?
There is a wide variety of clubs and societies to join at UQ. I’ve met some of my best friends through the Singapore Society (UQSSS), The Association of Filipinos and Filipino-Australians at The University of Queensland (FILOZUQ) and UQ Thai Students Association (UQTSA). There are many events such as balls, networking nights, game and movie nights as well as study sessions where you can socialise with other members.
While I was born in Myanmar, I also spent a lot of time growing up in Singapore. The international clubs at UQ really bring individuals together and give me a feeling of home. Some of the friends I’ve made at UQ have grown to be my closest friends. It’s amazing that even in a foreign country so far from home, my friends make me feel less homesick.
How has your time at UQ helped you prepare for your future career?
UQ has equipped me with the knowledge from courses and skills from hands-on experiences for my future jobs. Skills such as communication, problem-solving and critical thinking are essential to any job in the industry.
As the Secretary of the Tourism, Hospitality and Events Society at UQ for a year, I have had the opportunity to speak to many industry professionals as well as fellow peers through various networking and social events. An example would be during our society's Industry Networking Night, where my committee and I invited around 10–15 industry professionals from many different companies, including the Queensland Government, Hyatt, and Marriott. The night was filled with Q&A sessions, finger food, and engagement with my peers from the Bachelor of Tourism, Hospitality and Events program and Master of Tourism, Hotel and Event Management. It was a great experience and just one of the events that allowed me opportunities to network with individuals in the hospitality industry.
I was also a mentor for a group of new students who had just joined UQ through the Get Set Mentoring Program. Although it was slightly difficult to meet up face-to-face with some of the new students who had just arrived in Brisbane, it was really heartening to see their faces on the Zoom calls we would do as they shared their stories of missing family and friends back home.
One of my career goals is to open a tour agency of my own. I really believe that by starting with the overseas internship experiences or global exchange programs that UQ offers I can start preparing to achieve my dream goal.
What’s a memory of your time at UQ that you’ll treasure after graduation?
Apart from my Secretary role in the Tourism, Hospitality & Events Society (TH&E) which has provided me with many opportunities to visit attractions and host networking events, I have also participated in a dance showcase during my time in UQ. Street Groove, which is a dance society at UQ, has a showcase every year during which dancers perform in choreographed pieces. As a formal Chinese dancer of 10 years, I decided to step out of my comfort zone to perform in a piece that was a different genre to what I was trained in.
I learnt so much from the core team, choreographers as well as from my fellow dancers. This dance community had the best energy and the most wonderful people, and the practices leading up to performance days were filled with laughter and joy. When the day of the performance came and we finished our two shows, I was overwhelmed with pride, joy and sadness. Happy that I did my best and put on a great show after months of training yet sad that I would no longer be seeing my team every Sunday morning. The bonds we created through dance and the memories we shared are forever etched in my heart.
UQ's bright, vibrant campus and the people in it made my university life complete. Not only are the tutors and lecturers here great, informative and patient, the student advisors, counsellors and Careers and Employability team are amazing in all they do and really do their best to enrich students' lives.