After getting back from our International Field Trip in Indonesia I had about 24h to do my laundry and say hi to my parents. There was no time for a jetlag since the next trip was already waiting for me. Fasten your seatbelt and get ready for takeoff! Next destination: Marrakech.

Once I heard that besides HBO students, university students were also allowed to apply for the Reiswerk Studenten Challenge, I immediately knew what I had to do. Looking back, sending in a videopitch in which you promote yourself, was really the easiest thing to start with. But you never know, if you don’t try.

During this six-day conference I experienced what it means to work in the travel industry and discovered the career opportunities it has to offer. Something very different from the scientific theory and research in my daily studies. Hands-on!

Together with 63 other outstanding students from all over the Netherlands, divided into teams, we brainstormed to develop an innovative business concept which we presented (pitch) to the crème de la crème of the Dutch travel industry. TUI, Transavia, RIU Hotels, Sunny Cars and Daytrippi were all present to see whether they could adopt and implement one of the ideas developed by the students, in their own company.

But that wasn’t all. Besides the main assignment we did challenges in the city center of Marrakech (photo & bargaining challenge), set-up a press release in front of a camera (!) and collaborate the best we could to earn the most points to win the team award. All in all, as the name suggests, it was quite challenging.

Normally in the BSc Tourism, you get to decide who you want to work with. That way you often already know what you can expect and what competences the others have. At the Reiswerk Studenten Challenge I didn’t know anyone in advance, so I was quite out of my comfort zone. Fortunately I am good at adapting and get along with others easily. So collaborating with my new team members  was not a problem for me. However, as I was so focused on my team and the assignments, I did not fully show externally what I personally stand for. While others were actively networking: sharing information and exchanging business cards.

I’m very happy I got this amazing opportunity to get a glimpse of what is currently going on in the dynamic tourism industry, and to learn more about myself and how to deal with certain situations. Moments of self-reflection, a college tour with Arjan Kers (General Manager TUI), and quad biking were some of the other highlights of this trip. In the end, new friendships were made and I’m sure we stay in touch as we might be of value to eachother in the near future.

A big thank you to all who contributed to this unique experience!

Written by: Nike van der Velde

RSC17 Nike team photo