Island internship immerses students in eco-tourism | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Island internship immerses students in eco-tourism

USC tourism students are being offered the opportunity to expand their learning and career prospects though an internship on World Heritage-listed K’gari-Fraser Island.

The University has partnered with eco-tourism resort Kingfisher Bay to provide selected students with work experience in a range of areas, from resort management and visitor experience to working as eco-rangers.

Lecturer in Tourism, Leisure and Event Management Dr Vikki Schaffer said the internships allowed students to enrich their learning and gain an in-depth appreciation for the challenges and opportunities associated with World Heritage tourism.

“The partnership with Kingfisher Bay Resort is mutually beneficial as students can share their growing knowledge, experiences and skills,” she said.

For USC International Tourism student Jamen Gallagher, the placement evolved into a full-time job as resort eco-ranger on the world’s largest sand island.

“The internship gave me the opportunity to learn my trade through the language that I understand best – experience,” he said.

Jamen, who moved to the Sunshine Coast from Malang Indonesia to study at USC, was one of two students to complete an internship at Kingfisher Bay earlier this year.

Environmental and sustainability enthusiast Kate Whitaker also seized the opportunity to work as a resort ranger on the island.

Kate, who graduated from USC recently with a Bachelor of Tourism, Leisure and Event Management and a faculty commendation for academic excellence, said she gained considerable insights into eco-tourism in a World Heritage Site.

“I learnt a great deal and the experience allowed me to clarify the type of career in tourism and sustainability that I plan to pursue,” said the 23-year-old who is working in biological and sustainable agriculture on the Sunshine Coast.

The internship added to an impressive list of experiences Kate gained during the degree, including field research into sustainable tourism practices and policies on Fraser Island and a study of community and tourist beliefs and behaviours in the Kingdom of Tonga.

Dr Schaffer said USC and Kingfisher Bay planned to increase the number of students taking part in the integrated learning experience each year.

USC’s three-year Bachelor of Tourism, Leisure and Event Management is offered at its Sunshine Coast and Fraser Coast campuses.

The University will hold Open Day at its Sunshine Coast campus at Sippy Downs on Sunday 22 July with a free bus service available for Fraser Coast residents who would like to attend.

— Clare McKay 

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