Every year a number of EIT students get the exciting opportunity to study abroad. Travel and tourism student Neelam Dadrah together with business students Jazz Singh and Grace Rocard are the latest to win a scholarship to go on an adventure packed trip through Vietnam. The six-week tourism and hospitality management study tour is hosted by the Dong A University in Da Nang and the Giles Brooker Group.
Neelam has given us a little insight into her eventful life. Four years ago 23-year-old Neelam moved from Punjab, Northern India, to Hawke’s Bay. Her parents had been living in New Zealand for 20 years. While Neelam’s brothers were born and raised in Hawke’s Bay, Neelam and her younger sister were born in India. They were brought up by their grandparents and then went to boarding school.
Being reunited with her parents was wonderful, however, the first steps in a new country were anything but easy. “I just embraced every new challenge telling myself that it would actually bring me further,” says Neelam. “I had my ups and downs, but I took everything as a lesson.”
After Neelam finished high school, she decided to study travel and tourism at EIT. She started at certificate level 3 and is now about to complete a diploma. She also works part-time at a café in Hastings. The decision to study tourism didn’t spring from nowhere. “I have been travelling half of my life, also thanks to my sport. These experiences shaped my personality and interests.” Looking at the delicate young woman it’s hard to believe that Neelam is a Karate Black Belt. Growing up she repeatedly won Indian national martial arts titles.
The permanent motivation to achieve seems to accompany Neelam throughout her life. She says that she had only two days to apply for the scholarship and was overjoyed when she found out that she had been selected. “My success as a student is also owed to my tutors Nikki Lloyd and Karen Banks. Without their wrap-around support I wouldn’t have been able to get this far,” she says.
In January, while her whole family will travel to India to celebrate Neelam’s uncle’s wedding, Neelam will embark on her journey to Vietnam.
“I’m so excited. By then I will have finished my diploma and I can’t wait to see Vietnam, pick the brains of tourism experts and to learn more about the industry,” she says. During her stay the students will visit tourism and hospitality companies, meet with government trade and commerce officials and also get the chance to catch up with local tertiary students.
Asked about her dream career, Neelam doesn’t have to think twice. She wants to work as a flight attendant for Air New Zealand. Neelam hopes that the internship at Napier Airport which is the next thing on her to-do-list will enhance her chances for her ideal job.