Jakub, who is originally from Poland and now lives in Belfast, completed both a Level 2 and Level 3 Extended Diploma in Travel and Tourism at the College’s Newtownabbey campus.
“When I arrived in Northern Ireland in 2013, I wasn’t able to speak a word of English and, now seven years later, I am a distinction-level student,” he said. “So much of this is down to the incredible support and encouragement I have received during my time at Northern Regional College.
“My time at the College really has been amazing and it has changed me in so many positive ways. I used to be very shy, whereas now I am so much more confident – not only in terms of my English language skills, but also in my ability to interact with others and even to present in front of my class or an audience.”
Jakub said his teachers at his school had urged him to stay on to study for AS and A-levels as they felt he would n’t receive the same level of support.
“Nothing could be further from the truth. My lecturers couldn’t have done more to help me and I really appreciate their support and belief in me.
“Doing the Level 2 Diploma in Travel and Tourism at Newtownabbey campus and then progressing the Level 3 qualification was absolutely the right choice for me. I’m now moving on to university and I know that the valuable knowledge and employability skills that I developed during my time at the College will really help in the future.”
Students studying travel and tourism at the College complete a number of additional qualifications to improve their employability in the industry, including WorldHost Principles of Customer Service and OCN Level 2 Tour Guiding.
The Tour Guiding course culminates with a final practical assessment which because of the lockdown, was done virtually.
Jakub presented a virtual tour of Belfast’s Linen Hall Library to his tourism lecturer Karen McLeod who assessed his performance.
“It was quite surreal experience to give the tour via Zoom when neither of us was actually in the building,” said Jakub “but Karen had prepared us so well in advance that we knew exactly what to expect and how to do our best.”
Looking ahead, Jakub would like to be a travel writer but his immediate plans are to study International Tourism Management at Liverpool John Moores University and study abroad during his placement year.
Congratulating Jakub on doing so well, Karen McLeod, said that he was an excellent ambassador for the College and should be really proud of all that he has achieved.
“Jakub is incredibly driven and committed so I’m delighted to see him doing so well – his success is even more impressive when you consider that just seven years ago he had no English,” she added.