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The 18-year-old Nelson student says most of her days were spent outdoors doing a wide range of adventure activities.
“You’re away for the majority of the week and you go all around the South Island, it’s just an incredible experience really.
“Every day you’re either rafting, whitewater kayaking, rock climbing, canyoning, sea kayaking, tramping and in the winter snowboarding and skiing.”
Shania studied Adventure Tourism and Guiding at NMIT. The two programmes available to study prepare students for a career in the booming adventure tourism industry in New Zealand and abroad.
She started with the New Zealand Certificate in Outdoor and Adventure Education (Level 4) and progressed to the Level 5 Diploma a year later.
Shania grew up on a farm and developed a passion for the outdoors during her time at Waimea College and Nayland College in Nelson.
After doing Student for a Day at NMIT, she was so excited about the Adventure Tourism programme that she left school a year early to do it.
She says she gained a lot of practical skills and also learned a lot about leadership, communication, safety, and risk management.
“It’s physically demanding and sometimes mentally demanding, but you learn so much about yourself and the personal growth from just one year is amazing,” she says.
“We’re around people 24/7 so you learn how to cooperate and get along with people. You also learn how to adjust and be flexible, and so many life skills. I also learnt how to cook.”
There are plenty of opportunities for students to upskill and Shania received her New Zealand Snow Instructors Association (NZSIA) Snowboard Instructor Certificate (Level 1) and a New Zealand Raft Association (NZRA) Raft Guide Certificate (Grade 3).
She was also the recipient of the 2019 New Zealand Outdoor Instructors Association (NZOIA) Tertiary Award for students that show great potential as an outdoor instructor beyond their studies.
“This is what I want to do with my career now,” Shania says. “I’m so passionate about the outdoors and not only that, I learned a lot about protecting the environment. It’s made me realise a lot of things that we can do to help and make other people more aware of the outdoors.”
Shania says the tutors at NMIT worked really hard to encourage and help students to ensure that everyone is succeeding.
“The tutors are the best teachers I’ve ever had. They weren’t like normal teachers, the tutors share their knowledge with us but we also teach them things. It feels very much at an equal level, they respect us as much as we respect them.”
Her advice to anyone thinking about studying adventure tourism at NMIT?
“Do it. It’ll be the best year or two years of your life. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had."