Millie Pike is relishing her first job in the travel industry.
A consultant at Best Travel Hastings, the 21-year-old had a week's "famil" in Fiji last November, staying at five accommodations. She most enjoyed the experience of seeing how villagers in the islands live.
"The focus for me is not just staying at five-star resorts and drinking cocktails by the pool. It's also interesting to compare the lives of ordinary people with what we have here in New Zealand and often take for granted," she said.
From Taradale, Ms Pike started studying for her Diploma in Tourism and Travel at EIT three years ago after finishing high school.
"I didn't know of any full-time job opportunities," she says, "and wanted a tertiary qualification."
Initially attracted to nannying or early childhood education, she became more excited by what the two-year diploma programme could offer her by way of a career.
Ms Pike's first taste of serious travel was as a Form 2 student on a week-long school exchange in Japan. She's also had three trips to Australia: to Sydney, Melbourne and MacKay.
Having lived in Hawke's Bay most of her life, she is looking forward to travelling more and exploring the big cities she loves.
"I would like to go everywhere," she says with a smile. "If I'm looking at a brochure on China, I'll think that's a great place to visit. And it's the same for brochures on other countries too."
For Ms Pike, one of the attractions of working in the industry is the many opportunities it offers for travel and gaining knowledge, although she admits she could have been more focused on learning at school.
"With no particular goal in mind, I couldn't see the point. But I did love studying for my diploma. At EIT, you get a good qualification in a good industry."
A highlight of the EIT study programme was a class trip to Rotorua.
"We stayed at the Novotel Hotel, did a site inspection of the Ibis Hotel, which is part of the same chain, went to Polynesian Spa, visited the Maori village at Whakarewarewa and attended a Maori performing arts show.
"I tandem bungy-jumped at Taupo but would never do that again. It scarred me for life!" Ms Pike said.
While she helps many clients keen to travel overseas, she added she believes it's also good to see your own country.