04 Sep 2014
Returning to study as an adult student was a huge undertaking that involved moving countries and parting from her family, but 33-year-old Coritta Gabiana Ruiz considers it has been worth it.
Completing a Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of San Jose - Recoletos in her home city of Cebu in the Philippines, Coritta was working in the four-star Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino in banqueting, waitressing and reception roles when she meet her future husband.
The couple applied to work on Norwegian Cruise Line ships as a way to work toward their goals. Married at the end of their first season, the pair enjoyed travel to Canada, US, Caribbean and Europe before Coritta became pregnant with their now 3-year-old daughter.
Being away from his family for nine to 10 months of the year on cruise ships isn’t the ideal lifestyle for Coritta’s husband, so he encouraged Coritta to enrol in a year-long Diploma in Hotel Management in New Zealand as a stepping stone to a better future for all of them. Her sister-in-law lived in Rotorua so it was a logical for her to study at Waiariki Institute of Technology.
“It’s been tough as I miss them both so much; thank goodness for Skype as I’m able to talk to them every day. I struggled at first, but all my tutors were welcoming, helpful and supportive . . . and I have learnt so much about leadership, management and protocols not covered in my original degree course.”
Rose Wood, Coritta’s tutor in Service Management and Hospitality Issues and Strategies, was particularly helpful.
“Rose was really aware that English was the second language of everyone on my course so made an effort to speak slowly, have course material accessible through e-learning, and always made time for us.”
Learning Advisor David Chemis also comes in for special praise as do library and IT staff.
Coritta is hopeful that her new qualification will enable her to gain a supervisory position within the hotel industry – and ultimately a management role. Apart from finding stable employment, the other short-term goal is gaining permanent residency so her husband and daughter can come to live in New Zealand. Then it will be Coritta’s turn to financially support the family as her husband wants to study for either a nursing or engineering qualification; hopefully at Waiariki if the right employment opportunity comes along for Coritta locally.
From a city of nine million people, it took Corrita time to adjust to Rotorua but now enjoys the quiet pace. She is particularly fond of Rotorua’s magnificent Redwoods, lakes, Māori culture and friendly locals.
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Page last updated: 02 May 2017