I'm starting this post by saying I'm a second-year tourism management student specialised in sales and marketing.
Before I started studying tourism, I already had a rather good understanding of the field as I've been very interested in it for ages, but thinking it now, I've certainly changed as a traveller since then.
My hotel experience will never be the same, I will never be able to step into a hotel and simply relax. Nowadays when I step into a hotel I immediately put my imaginary goggles on and start to evaluate the customer service, the way the brochures are displayed and if all the amenities are matching to the reservation webpage. It sometimes is a pain in the ass to know the ''behind the scenes'' as you start unintentionally think how the things could be done better and pretty much forget that you came here to relax.
On the other hand, I learned how hard pleasing people (especially on holidays) actually is. Having to conduct surveys on the streets, trying to make people approach a fair stand and convincing them to do something I can guarantee that customer service in any field is not easy. Therefore, I've become a lot more friendly and smiling when checking into a hotel or when greeting the person at the check-in. Next time when you are boarding on an airplane, give a chocolate bar and a smile to the staff and watch their day turning to a much better one.
Then the second thing I've noticed is that I'm a lot more aware of my rights as a customer. This doesn't necessarily correlate only to being a tourism student but also that I've become a lot more interested in the legal issues when it comes to the field and travelling in general. I know when I have a right to compensations and it has become a lot easier to identify those shady businesses doing shady things.
Whenever I can, I choose the local services. Unfortunately, in many popular destinations, there are severe problems with mass tourism destroying the environment or locals' employment. The big chain hotels tend to have a negative input for the locals' life. Having to research about the subject I've become more aware of the consequences of my actions as a traveller, and I've learned to evaluate whether something is a good thing for the people nor I should just skip it for the sake of not harming the local communities.
I learned that everything that happens in the world affects everything. When I hear a big new, I automatically think and reflect how it can possibly have an effect on tourism. In a short matter, I'd say I learned a lot of critical thinking.
Being a tourism student you learn a lot of useful tips and tricks that you can not only use in your future work but also on your free time travels. I know when it is the best time to book my flights, which destinations are in and what prices I should expect.
Overall studying tourism has given me confidence and certainty to reach high and do the things I love. I could not see myself in any other field. It is my passion.