Studying . . . on a tropical island

One Tree Hill on Hamilton Island was a great place to relax after work and watch the sunset with a $10 cocktail. Picture supplied
Catseye Beach.

Ruatoria’s Joseph Johnson talks to Andrew Whiteford about studying tourism and hospitality on a tropical island in the Whitsundays . . .

Student life isn’t just textbooks and classrooms for Joseph Johnson who lived and worked on a beautiful island resort for part of his study.

“Island life was awesome — you are literally living on a tropical island with white sandy beaches. How can you not like it?” says Joseph.

The 25-year-old former Gisborne Boys’ High School student from Ruatoria is in his second year of a three year Tourism and Hospitality Degree at Pacific International Hotel Management School (PIHMS).

As part of Joseph’s first year at PIHMS, he was placed on a six-month paid hotel internship at One&Only Hayman Island in the Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia.

It was an awesome experience for him and the highlight was “embracing island life and the beautiful beaches, snorkelling or swimming with sea turtles”.

At Hayman Island he put his studies on hold when he was offered a promotion as a team leader working on super yachts at the island resort.

He was there for another year until Cyclone Debbie hit, totally destroying and closing the five-star resort.

Joseph stayed in Australia for a further two years working on Hamilton Island and Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley.

“Meeting David Beckham was definitely a highlight — we just spoke about all the kangaroos but he was a really nice guy,” says Joseph.

Reality kicked in when “all the guests said I need to go back and get my degree as it automatically puts me at the top of the list and will help me progress in my career”.

“I didn’t want to be stuck at the bottom anymore,” says Joseph.

For his second year, Joseph will continue a combination of Practical Training and Business and Management studies at the PIHMS hotel campus in New Plymouth.

He will then be placed on another paid hotel internship in a top hotel anywhere in New Zealand or Australia before completing his final year of studies to gain his degree.

“Coming to PIHMS and working with the guaranteed job as part of the course helps you grow as a person.

“I was so shy and petrified before I started at PIHMS. Being exposed to new things helps you come out of your shell, and I am grateful for that.”

Escaping a beautiful tropical island

As crazy as it seems “living and working on a small island can be hard and gets a bit much at times as there is no escape from the place you live and work”.

In the Whitsundays, there’s no shortage of beautiful exclusive islands to escape to. You can either hire a boat for a day or get dropped off and picked up at the end of the day at the destination of your choice.

Hook Island an hour boat ride from Hamilton Island was definitely a highlight for Joseph.

“We would literally go there to escape the island with 10 friends for a day or two. It was better to relax away from the place you work, so you have a good work life balance.”

Once on the island, Joseph and his friends set up camp on the super-lush white sandy beaches, and hiked and explored the beautiful island and the many amazing look- outs and breathtaking views.

Gap year – Definitely do it.

“As scary as it might seem to go overseas, definitely do it,” says Joseph.

“I would recommend a gap year/working holiday to everyone. The experiences you have open your mind. It makes you a lot more aware of different cultures and other ways of life.”

The friendships he made with people all around the world was one of the highlights of his time overseas.

“Meeting new people is a whole new experience, ones you would never get if you stayed put back home.”

Not only is working overseas in the tourism industry a great way for the young New Zealanders to see the world and have a great experience, it is a very affordable way to do it.

Staff accommodation and food provided by Whitsunday resorts range from $120 to $290 per week including all expenses. This is especially good value as you are living right next to guests paying up to $16,000 per night.

Ruatoria will always be home

With cheap living, expensive hotel professionals are able to save much more than you would think on the island resorts. It’s not unusual for high-end guests to tip up to $2000 to an individual staff member. Some PIHMS students come back to New Zealand with over $25,000 savings after just eight months of being away.

Joseph didn’t have any negative experiences on his trip. The hardest thing for him was missing New Zealand food.

“Being away from home you definitely start to miss things.”

For some New Zealanders, its pies or pineapple lumps, for country boy Joseph it was the basics he missed.

“The Australian butter is just not mainland butter at all, the milk isn’t quite the same either so I started drinking almond milk,” he says.

After being back in New Zealand for three months, he still drinks almond milk and can’t go back.

Growing up on a cattle farm, Joseph also missed New Zealand beef.

“It’s frustrating eating out at a restaurant in Australia being served grain-fed beef.”

After Joseph completes his degree of Applied Hospitality and Tourism Management at PIHMS, he plans to work on the super yachts in the Mediterranean or Caribbean and further his management career in the tourism industry.

Ruatoria will always be his home though.

“Its always fun to go home and jump on a horse, shoot a deer or go pig hunting.”

But for the Ruatoria country boy, his future is travel, adventure and management.

• PIHMS run career taster sessions throughout the school holidays in April, July and October for students who wish to sample what the course has to offer.
More information can be found on their website www.pihms.ac.nz

Ruatoria’s Joseph Johnson talks to Andrew Whiteford about studying tourism and hospitality on a tropical island in the Whitsundays . . .

Student life isn’t just textbooks and classrooms for Joseph Johnson who lived and worked on a beautiful island resort for part of his study.

“Island life was awesome — you are literally living on a tropical island with white sandy beaches. How can you not like it?” says Joseph.

The 25-year-old former Gisborne Boys’ High School student from Ruatoria is in his second year of a three year Tourism and Hospitality Degree at Pacific International Hotel Management School (PIHMS).

As part of Joseph’s first year at PIHMS, he was placed on a six-month paid hotel internship at One&Only Hayman Island in the Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia.

It was an awesome experience for him and the highlight was “embracing island life and the beautiful beaches, snorkelling or swimming with sea turtles”.

At Hayman Island he put his studies on hold when he was offered a promotion as a team leader working on super yachts at the island resort.

He was there for another year until Cyclone Debbie hit, totally destroying and closing the five-star resort.

Joseph stayed in Australia for a further two years working on Hamilton Island and Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley.

“Meeting David Beckham was definitely a highlight — we just spoke about all the kangaroos but he was a really nice guy,” says Joseph.

Reality kicked in when “all the guests said I need to go back and get my degree as it automatically puts me at the top of the list and will help me progress in my career”.

“I didn’t want to be stuck at the bottom anymore,” says Joseph.

For his second year, Joseph will continue a combination of Practical Training and Business and Management studies at the PIHMS hotel campus in New Plymouth.

He will then be placed on another paid hotel internship in a top hotel anywhere in New Zealand or Australia before completing his final year of studies to gain his degree.

“Coming to PIHMS and working with the guaranteed job as part of the course helps you grow as a person.

“I was so shy and petrified before I started at PIHMS. Being exposed to new things helps you come out of your shell, and I am grateful for that.”

Escaping a beautiful tropical island

As crazy as it seems “living and working on a small island can be hard and gets a bit much at times as there is no escape from the place you live and work”.

In the Whitsundays, there’s no shortage of beautiful exclusive islands to escape to. You can either hire a boat for a day or get dropped off and picked up at the end of the day at the destination of your choice.

Hook Island an hour boat ride from Hamilton Island was definitely a highlight for Joseph.

“We would literally go there to escape the island with 10 friends for a day or two. It was better to relax away from the place you work, so you have a good work life balance.”

Once on the island, Joseph and his friends set up camp on the super-lush white sandy beaches, and hiked and explored the beautiful island and the many amazing look- outs and breathtaking views.

Gap year – Definitely do it.

“As scary as it might seem to go overseas, definitely do it,” says Joseph.

“I would recommend a gap year/working holiday to everyone. The experiences you have open your mind. It makes you a lot more aware of different cultures and other ways of life.”

The friendships he made with people all around the world was one of the highlights of his time overseas.

“Meeting new people is a whole new experience, ones you would never get if you stayed put back home.”

Not only is working overseas in the tourism industry a great way for the young New Zealanders to see the world and have a great experience, it is a very affordable way to do it.

Staff accommodation and food provided by Whitsunday resorts range from $120 to $290 per week including all expenses. This is especially good value as you are living right next to guests paying up to $16,000 per night.

Ruatoria will always be home

With cheap living, expensive hotel professionals are able to save much more than you would think on the island resorts. It’s not unusual for high-end guests to tip up to $2000 to an individual staff member. Some PIHMS students come back to New Zealand with over $25,000 savings after just eight months of being away.

Joseph didn’t have any negative experiences on his trip. The hardest thing for him was missing New Zealand food.

“Being away from home you definitely start to miss things.”

For some New Zealanders, its pies or pineapple lumps, for country boy Joseph it was the basics he missed.

“The Australian butter is just not mainland butter at all, the milk isn’t quite the same either so I started drinking almond milk,” he says.

After being back in New Zealand for three months, he still drinks almond milk and can’t go back.

Growing up on a cattle farm, Joseph also missed New Zealand beef.

“It’s frustrating eating out at a restaurant in Australia being served grain-fed beef.”

After Joseph completes his degree of Applied Hospitality and Tourism Management at PIHMS, he plans to work on the super yachts in the Mediterranean or Caribbean and further his management career in the tourism industry.

Ruatoria will always be his home though.

“Its always fun to go home and jump on a horse, shoot a deer or go pig hunting.”

But for the Ruatoria country boy, his future is travel, adventure and management.

• PIHMS run career taster sessions throughout the school holidays in April, July and October for students who wish to sample what the course has to offer.
More information can be found on their website www.pihms.ac.nz

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you support the plan by Eastland Port to develop a second berth?