Graduation 2017 Case Study: Liliana Lopez Dhal

Spanish-born Liliana is 35 and moved to Scotland in 2012. In 2014 she studied Level 6 Tourism with English at the college and progressed on to the HND Travel and Tourism course. She was awarded the Principal’s Award for Academic Excellence in Tourism and Hospitality for being an inspiration to her fellow students.

What made you choose Edinburgh College for your studies?
I wanted to improve my preparation into the tourism industry and seek the different possibilities available. Edinburgh College was ideal for me because it has dynamic lessons and very supportive staff.
What were you doing before starting at the college?
Two years before starting the course I moved to Scotland and worked as a waitress to improve my English.

What has been the best thing about studying at Edinburgh College? Any highlights?
I was very happy with my Edinburgh College experience. It felt like a home from the first day. I have got to know some great people, especially my best friend Jesus Mariano Sancho, who I spent many long hours studying with, drinking lots of coffee and motivating each other.

Did you face any challenges before starting or during your studies? How did you overcome them?
I didn´t receive any financial support during the course so I had to work while studying and I jumped into the tourism sector where I had to undertake lots of training and work long shifts.

After finishing the first year of the HND I found out that my fiancée and I were expecting a baby and that was a major challenge. The baby was due in the middle of the second semester of the course. I really wanted to finish my HND while learning as much as I could from the course. Despite the huge change in my life, I took maternity leave from my job and used every hour I had to study and prepare for exams and reports. My fiancée was responsible for cooking me lots of varied and healthy meals which helped my energy levels. My mother also came over from Spain for three months to help with looking after the baby while I studied, I couldn’t have done it without her.

If you could give one piece of advice to a student starting at the college now what would it be?
The support that the lecturers give is great. I would advise students to get the most out of their lecturers as well as all the resources available in the library.

What are your plans for the future? Are you going on to further study or into employment? What is your end goal?
I have been working as a tour guide around Scotland since spring 2016. This winter I will spend some time in my hometown while exploring new ideas and job opportunities.

Do you have any messages for the lecturers?
I have to give a big thank you to Lorraine, Nina, Kirsty-Ann, Jenny, Caroline, Ken, Deborah, Dean, James, Ryan. One of the main reasons I felt as welcome as I did while studying at Edinburgh College was thanks to the support of my lecturers. I take with me a bit of wisdom from each of them and they made my lessons and studies more enjoyable.

Looking back, if you could do one thing differently what would it be and why?
I would go on all the school tours that I had to miss.

What are you most proud of that you have achieved while studying at Edinburgh College?
I’m most proud of achieving grade A’s in both of my Graded Unit projects and receiving the Principal’s Award.

I am also very happy I had the courage to apply for tour guide jobs after acquiring great knowledge about Scotland and growing in confidence thanks to the college.

I am immensely proud of becoming a mum while completing my studies and advancing my career.

What made you succeed at Edinburgh College?
It was the right place and the right course at the right moment.