Sabethyelle Grivicich – Advancing Her Tour Guiding Career from Brazil to Ireland
Sabe Grivicich held a degree in tourism from Brazil when she moved to Ireland to work in a language school. Now, she is a Student Activity Manager at a growing English Language School and a private tour guide.
After experiencing a guided tour on a trip to London, Sabe knew that she wanted to be the person guiding the tour. She gained her Tour Guide qualification at Portobello Institute.
“Back in Brazil, I started working in a student exchange agency giving operational support to the students and also delivering to them a presentation about the country they were going to travel to.
“I achieved some goals at this company and got a trip to London as an award, so I visited Europe for the first time and could experience my first guided tour. I loved the experience and decided I wanted to be the person showing the city to visitors, so back home I started the national tour guiding course,” she said.
Sabe decided to move to Ireland and pick up her career which mixes English language learning with student exchange, and she knew this was her opportunity to pursue tour guiding at the same time.
“I decided to move to Ireland. I was able to work full-time from the beginning, I worked in a few day tour companies and operators until I started working for language schools.
“At the first school, I was at the front desk, but the pandemic came and the chance for me to move to activities never came. I got another job dealing with accommodation in another language school and to be able to move to activities, I decided to look for the tour guiding course as at some point, I knew I would work as a guide,” she said.
With her background in tourism, she knew that the best way to become a tour guide in Ireland was through gaining the qualification and training from a reputable provider.
“As a professional in tourism, I understand that to be a proper and serious tour guide, the course is required, especially if I would work talking about a place that was not familiar to me, not where I grew up. I knew I had to and still have to study and do my best to understand Irish history, language, and culture and be able to find connections to explain all this to tourists from all around the world so they can have the best experience when visiting the Emerald Island,” she said.
She needed a course that she could study while working full-time and would give her the qualification she needed to work as a tour guide.
“I chose Portobello Institute because it was one of the few providers in Dublin that meet the criteria for the Fáilte Ireland Industry Qualified Tour Guide Directory, which means that it is a serious institution. Also, the time of the classes was perfect in a way I could manage to keep working on my full-time job at the time while doing the course,” she said.
While studying in English was a challenge, Sabe says that the course has given her newfound confidence and even inspired her to learn Irish.
“Sometimes I had difficulty understanding specific meanings or trying to discover if the teacher was talking about a person, a place or an expression in Irish, this actually motivated me to start learning Irish with Duolingo, but at the same time, being able to finish the course gave me more confidence and made me fell in love with Ireland even more!
“I love how now I can find an explanation for details I see in buildings on the streets of Dublin, or how I can talk about the history of the city to friends, family and even Irish that don’t know much about their own country. I also love always finding something related to my hometown or country here in Dublin that makes me feel at home too,” she said.
She says the best thing about studying at Portobello Institute were the people she met and the experiences she has had as a result of studying this course.
“The best thing was meeting amazing people in my class, we still keep in touch and help each other every time someone needs help. I also keep in touch with Jim, our mentor, that is always open to sharing new things – we went to Bealtaine Fire Festival together last year and it was such an amazing experience! I would also mention again, the fact that I feel more confident with my English and my career as a tour guide in general.
“I believe this course was the right one for me at that time because it was happening during a pandemic, and I could manage studying and working at the same time. The price of the course was affordable too, compared to the other options at the time,” she said.
Not only was this the right course for her, but it has also helped to develop her career by branching into activities in her current role working with students and helping people to have their dream experiences. She describes what her role in organising trips entails and how much joy it brings her.
“My background with a degree in tourism, experience abroad working or on holidays, and living with different cultures for a while gave me the resilience that is needed to work with people’s dreams during their holidays (that might be planned for years) or study exchange, or even just a weekend trip.
“I knew that studying was important for me to reach my dream of living abroad for good and being able to keep working in my area. Also, I believe we should work with what makes us happy and organising trips to me is priceless!
“My mission is to provide interesting and unique activities around the country and even Europe, so they can have a complete experience living abroad in their countries.
“Every day I have the challenge of dealing with partners from venues, bus companies, and tourist attractions to book events and activities, so I keep practising the service a proper tour guide needs to do to keep updated about everything happening in the city.
“At the school, when I have the calendar ready, I need to promote the events to the students and since they all have different English levels, it’s a challenge to make them understand the idea of how they will gain joining to the activity/event.
“I have also the liberty of creating walking tours for the students and testing the route to see if it’s interesting to maybe offer the tour in a private way with some small adaptation,” she said.
Sabe enjoys combining all of her experience and knowledge in her current role and keeps her ambitions alive to have her own tour company in future.
“I usually get bored of doing always the same thing, but organising trips for students and tourists is always different and studying about a city/destination is always interesting as things are discovered and new connections can be done, so yes, I guess I always wanted to have a role where I could do all I do today. I still might have my own tour company through, but yes, today I am happy where I am,” she said.
Feedback from her colleagues and clients tells her that she is on the right career path, following her passion and fulfilling her potential to work in tourism.
“I have heard nice feedback from colleagues and clients (the students at school), saying I am passionate and patient with what I do. It might be because I like knowing new people, helping them find out what they would like to visit and do, discovering new places and stories and sharing with my friends, family, and people around.
“I was a very shy person as a kid, but I discovered that tourism makes me break the ice and helps me keep open to the unknown, so I always have butterflies in my stomach doing my job and I love it as it keeps me alive,” she said.
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