Alumni Spotlight: Isabelle Wasike – The budding of Virtual Tourism
I am currently editing my research on “Virtual Travel Experience: COVID-19 crisis as a disruptive force to the nature of travel in the tourism industry”. My degree is MSc in Tourism Development and Culture (Tour DC). It is an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s Degree programme with three mandatory mobility periods at the University of Glasgow (Scotland), University of Malta (Malta), Lund University (Sweden), and University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE) in Portugal. Students have the freedom to choose between Lund University and ISCTE for their third mobility. There is also an optional summer school that takes place at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. My graduate experience is founded on my graduation from the Bachelors of Tourism Management degree programme in 2017.
Tell us more about your journey so far.
Currently, I am at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. I attend my classes virtually and later in August I will defend my research thesis. My travel across Europe has been intriguing. The sites are amazing and the history dates back for centuries. I have had flight cancellations and numerous Covid tests. I can say I am becoming a well-seasoned traveler. One of my highlights was in December 2019 when I visited home before the lockdowns began. I miss my family and value every moment we keep in touch.
Who are some of your mentors?
Strathmore University community for sure. I called it my family away from home. The incredible faculty, such as Dr. Fredrick N. Oduori played a pivotal role in helping me secure the Erasmus Mundus scholarship. Some former classmates who make me want to be better include Eve Lucky who worked for KATA (Kenya Association of Travel Agents) and is currently promoting unforgettable travel services such as excursions and weekend getaways in her own travel company called Dynasty Expeditions. Another is Dibblex Lesalon who runs an insightful travel podcast called Boots on the Ground. The conversations range from wildlife conservation, biodiversity preservation to climate change.
Above all, my parents, both scholars, have taught me the value of education. It is the one thing that I have at my disposal now. My call is to ultimately work hard but above all take advantage of the opportunities that come my way while still enjoying discovering the diversity in my area of study. I see my parents go beyond the call of duty because they are passionate about what they do.
What are some of your fun memories of SU?
Interesting, I miss the exam period. Everyone is so quiet and into their books. Most conversations were reduced to whispers as we all tried to lock in what we could before the exams. With the dress code, I can say I have no challenge finding something to wear now. Then of course the cafeteria, I can still smell fries as though I’m in the queue waiting to be served. Umm! The masala chips were much-welcomed awesomeness in the cold July months.
What else have you been able to do to diversify your area of study?
I did not appreciate the benefits of a foreign language until I left the country. However, I am glad I furthered the French I learned in Strathmore at Alliance Francaise where I did the B1 and B2 levels. As we all look to advance in education, I would encourage everyone to keep an open mind. The pandemic presented a blank slate for many and it is up to each of us to see how we can fill the gaps presented to us. Join me, Isabelle Wasike, as we discover virtual tourism in depth. Did you ever think that you can travel in the comfort of your own home? That is where tourism is going. It is not only cheap but also opens us to a world of infinite ventures with no need for a passport.
This article was written by Annete Karanja.
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