Lavinia Constandache, who is in her final-year of the course in Hospitality Management with Tourism, has won a prestigious award by the Institute of Travel and Tourism (ITT). The Bella Rangel Callan Student of the Year Award celebrates high calibre students in the industry.
This is the second time a Portsmouth student has scooped the award, which has been running for 10 years, and it represents the first time an institution has won consecutively.
Lavinia, 22, who is from Romania, was selected for the award for her hard work, passion and dedication to the travel and tourism industry. Despite studying in a second language, taking extra courses and working to enhance her career opportunities, she graduates this month with a first class honours degree.
She said: "I always wanted to study abroad and I chose Hospitality Management with Tourism because I was looking for a combination of business management and people management. I wanted to develop my critical and analytical thinking and my understanding of human resource management and organisational behaviour.
“Apart from the theoretical and practical knowledge, the most valuable thing I learned was about how working in this industry we are able to influence people’s minds, feelings and memories. In the future I’d like to run my own business and while I’m not sure yet what it will be, it will definitely be about people and creating lasting memories.”
Lavinia spent her placement year in a restaurant in her home country of Romania where she undertook several roles including management positions to develop her skills. The placement year was especially valuable, she said.
“I’ve loved my time here and the course has far exceeded my expectations. I’m now ready for the next step in my education and personal development and this September I will start a Masters in Digital Marketing, also at Portsmouth.”
Jennifer Johnston, course leader of the Hospitality Management programmes, said: “Lavinia is a very hard-working student who has really engaged with university life including undertaking several additional courses to enhance her employability skills. She has proven herself to be a passionate and determined individual and I wish her all the best.”
Lecturer in tourism, Liz Sharples, who submitted both award-winning nominations, said she is delighted. “We were awarded the Institute of Travel and Tourism accreditation last year and it’s gratifying that our students have been recognised for their hard work two years running."