Gbenewa Phido

MSc Tourism and Hospitality

After struggling with work, Gbenewa Phido decided to finally take her love of travelling a step further and enrol at the University of Sunderland in London. She tells us about the course, studying at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic and her plans for the future.

The modules are so empowering, I’ve honestly learned so much.   

“All my life I’ve loved travelling. It’s something which is just a part of me. I have the drive to experience other cultures.

I think that’s one of the reasons I came to the UK from Nigeria originally, the passion to try something new.

It’s also the thing that led me to apply to study at the University of Sunderland in London, first on the BSc (Hons) International Tourism and Hospitality Management course and now for my MSc in Tourism and Hospitality.

It helped that I got a First Class Honours in my undergrad too, of course!

The confidence boost inspired me to want to know even more about the industry and the masters was the perfect way to do that.

When I first moved to this country, honestly, I struggled. I didn’t find it easy settling into British life.

But eventually, I got a telecommunications job in a big multinational company. Sadly though, the business collapsed in the financial crisis, and I was made redundant.

That’s when I got my first experience of working for myself. I set up a hairdressing business and loved it.

But, honestly, I found it really difficult managing a company by myself while also raising four children.

I knew I needed to do something else, something for me. While living in the UK my passion for travel grew stronger.

I found myself going all over the world, just to experience something exciting and new.

That’s how I started getting interested in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry.

Mixed with the work situation I found myself in, it just seemed so exciting to start studying.

I was lucky with my choice of where to study because my husband had already graduated from the University of Sunderland in London, and he strongly recommended it.

It helped that the course had everything I wanted to know about the industry too.

The modules are so empowering, I’ve honestly learned so much.

My favourites have been the skills-based ones like Gastronomy, which helped me understand everything I can do in the food industry and Digital Technologies in the Visitor Economy where I found out how to set up an online business.

I also really liked learning about Service Quality and how to bring in customers, plus the hospitality management module itself where you get a wide background on running things like hotels and restaurants.

My degrees are definitely going to help me achieve my goals.

All those modules have opened doors to areas of the industry that I want to explore further after I graduate.

I like the idea of working with the tourism departments of different African countries, consulting for hotels and restaurants to encourage their growth and, hopefully, set up my own business.

I’ve studied at the University for a while at this point, so I’ve experienced what it’s been like learning in the classroom and trying to do the same online during the pandemic.

When the lockdown started, it was hard to study just because I have a house full of children.

But eventually, I set up a work routine and settled into the experience.

That being said, I really miss connecting with my friends on campus. I’ve been the Class Representative for both my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

I got the chance to sit in on meetings with lecturers and present the needs of my colleagues.

I miss the experience I had in my first course, talking with people in person, helping them, working for their interests.

I’m really glad we’re starting to go to on-site classes again, I just can’t wait until we’re all back to ‘normal’.

Don’t hesitate to apply to the University. The lecturers are so friendly, supportive and encouraging, the courses are detailed and informative and it’s just a great place to be.

The secret to achieving success in your studies is to stay focused and be ready to read everything you can.”

Want to follow in Gbenewa’s footstep? Take a look at our Tourism, Hospitality and Events courses now.

You can also register your interest or book a personal consultation to find out more.

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