It's not every day that students get to turn the reef and rainforest into their classroom but it's been the reality for tourism graduate Gypsy Busato.

Nineteen-year-old Gypsy is now one step closer to pursuing a wanderlust-filled life after gaining a Diploma of Travel and Tourism Management (SIT50116)

"I want to travel the world and I thought it would be great to study travel and get a career in the industry," Gypsy said.

From her first day at the TAFE Queensland Cairns campus, Gypsy said she knew she was on the right path.

"After starting the course it definitely reaffirmed that travel is what I want to do. The course totally inspired me and made me even more passionate about pursuing a travel career."

"Following our unit on tour guiding, I became really interested in becoming a guide — it wasn't something I'd thought about before."

Gypsy said it had been great to learn from teachers who have heaps of tourism and travel experience.

"We can all read stuff from a book, but learning from teachers who have years' of experience to share is where you really pick things up."

"It has been inspiring hearing their stories and to know that we share the same kind of passion."

"My teachers have so many industry connections and arranged amazing learning activities outside of class, like spending a day at the Great Barrier Reef and visiting a wildlife park."

Each year at graduation a tourism and travel student who shows dedication, hard work and team spirit receives the Jillian McKenzie Award. Jillian, a former TAFE Queensland teacher, was a passionate advocate for tourism studies who loved sharing her industry experience with her students. Sadly, Jillian passed away in 2006.

Gypsy's dedication to her studies earned her the 2019 Jillian McKenzie Award.

"I didn’t expect an award at all. I’m over the moon about it, to receive that sort of recognition is incredible."

Tourism teacher Ian Marsh nominated Gypsy for the accolade and said she is a very deserving winner.

"Gypsy always stands up first for group work and assessments and she is attentive, constructive and encourages others in the class," Ian said.

"Gypsy's enquiring mind and her positive approach to learning are among her best attributes."

Find out how you can turn your passion for travel into a rewarding career.

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