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Amanda Markwick

In September 2015, 18 year old Travel and Tourism student Amanda embarked upon an adventure of a lifetime to Finland as part of City College international partnerships’ Erasmus + programme.

“I wanted to experience something new and signed up after hearing other students talking about their experiences working in Europe with the College. I travelled to Finland and got to work as a banquet server and waitress in one of the top hotels in Helsinki, Hotel Kamp. It was a really amazing experience – I even got to meet celebrities like John Malkovich and the Finnish ‘Justin Bieber’!

“The biggest challenge was being so independent – doing things on your own for the first time. But I had so many lovely people around me that I settled in really quickly. We even had our own ‘secret Santa’ at Christmas so we wouldn’t feel homesick. The people you meet, they do become your family. You make friends for life – I’ve already been to Italy to visit the girl I was living with in her home town and she’s been here to Plymouth.

“There was a big cultural difference, but almost everyone in Helsinki spoke some English, so you could get by, and you come back with such an open mind. I’ve always wanted to travel and now I’m even sharing my experiences in my own travel blog. If I had the chance to do it again, I would – 100 per cent!

“It’s such a great opportunity for someone so young and I’m really grateful the College offers opportunities like this. I just want to encourage as many people as possible to go and explore!”