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Lea studied snowboarding and skiing last year as part of the Certificate in Adventure Tourism and Guiding(external link) and was about to go to Switzerland to work as a ski instructor when COVID-19 hit.
“Before Covid, I wasn’t planning on doing the second year of the adventure tourism programme as I already had a job offer as a ski instructor in Switzerland,” says Lea, “but after Covid stopped us going anywhere, I decided to stay and do the second year which actually worked out really well.”
Lea says the Diploma in Adventure Tourism and Guiding(external link) opened up a whole new world of adventure tourism options for her; even the ones she wasn’t so keen on.
“Everything was a highlight. There are so many new things I’ve now done, even climbing though I’m scared of heights,” says Lea, “and in summer we did sea kayaking which I absolutely loved.”
Lea was passionate about New Zealand even before she came to the country having completed her Bachelor's thesis on Māori tourism while studying for a Degree in Cultural Science in Munich, Germany.
After arriving in the country, Lea worked as a tour operator and was driving tour buses around New Zealand when she heard about the adventure tourism programme at NMIT.
“We were often booking clients for activities and I would talk to the guides," says Lea, “They all talked about this NMIT adventure tourism course and how good it was, so that was really the incentive for me to do it.”
She says the adventure tourism industry in New Zealand is very connected and a real advantage when it comes to finding a job.
“Everyone knows everyone in the industry, so it’s much easier to find work. I’m hoping to do sea kayaking guiding in the Abel Tasman National Park next summer although ultimately, I want to specialise in snowboarding teaching. It’s just great there are so many options in the industry.”