Student stories

RHED student at backpacker's inn in Brisbane, Australia

Jen Slater

Somewhere to Stay Backpacker's

The Recreation and Health Education Co-op Program has allowed me to work in a wide range of areas and places in the last few years. Right now, I am working in Queensland Australia’s Brisbane City, where I am working as a Trip Advisor and Receptionist at the popular Somewhere to Stay BackPacker's Hostel.

Somewhere To Stay is a family-run back acker’s hostel located in the West End of Brisbane. It is well known for being very laid back and welcoming, which I believe is its main objective. It is a great place to stay for people who are on a tight budget because it is the cheapest accommodation in town. One of the best assets to this hostel is its free bus shuttle. This shuttle picks people up from the main train station when people first arrive and then drops them off again when they are leaving. This shuttle also does regular trips to the city centre, state library and occasionally does day trips around the surrounding areas. Somewhere To Stay also runs a student accommodation so I would have to say that their target population is young academics along with the adventurous social budget travellers. As it is a family-run business, it is very important to them that we treat customers as people and not as dollar signs, so when it comes to selling trips and that kind of thing, we just try to get to know our customers on a more personal level. We get to know them in order to figure out what might interest them in a trip, rather than pushing them to join in on a trip that might not be well suited just to get the sale.

As the Trip Advisor/Receptionist here at Somewhere To Stay, I have a large variety of duties. Basically I am the face of the Hostel, whenever anyone has a question or needs anything at all; I am the usually the first person that they come to. Since most of the people staying in the hostel are young foreign travellers that are far away from home for the first time: I get a lot of questions about everything and anything. Because of this, it is important that I am approachable and understanding, in order to keep them comfortable and effectively help them.  

My day-to-day duties generally include, handling enquiries and providing information on local attractions as well as giving directions to those attractions or just directions for around the city, providing literature and information to guests concerning local and interstate travel routes, accommodation, fares, and travel regulation. In generally I would say that I make travel, tour, accommodation and related bookings along with reservations for current hostel guests.

This co-op experience relates directly to my studies in a lot of ways, for example: Organizing trips, working with people one on one, helping people in need, dealing with stressful situations, and providing useful information for people. Overall, it has been a great experience filled with variety and I learned a great amount.

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