Sonia Beck – Transitioning from European to Irish Tour Guide with Portobello Institute
Travel & Tourism
Sonia Beck from Kinsale, County Cork was working as an actress and had 20 years of experience as a tour manager working for an educational travel company in Europe when she decided to gain her Tour Guide qualification at Portobello Institute.
“I had planned a relocation to Ireland following the pandemic and decided to begin a journey into becoming a qualified tour guide working in Ireland.
“Portobello Institute’s course was the best advertised online and was a useful length of duration. The initial communication was friendly, flexible and helpful. In addition, the course was offered online for most of the duration due to the pandemic, which was really important as I was to be based in Kinsale,” she said.
Sonia followed her passion by completing her tour guide qualification.
“I was able to follow my passion for learning about history, culture and heritage as well as my desire to learn specifically more about Ireland and Irish culture, as a new resident.
“My time studying at Portobello was great fun – entertaining, stimulating and challenging. Jim Dempsey’s brilliant guidance, storytelling, knowledge bank and mentoring skills. Plus the support and camaraderie of the other students on the course were really encouraging.
“The course was a great resource for someone stepping into the Irish tourism sector. The materials provided were excellent. There was a wide range of abilities and experience on the course. I had worked extensively as a tour manager but had limited knowledge of Irish Geography, History and Culture. It gave me a really good starting point for continued study,” she said.
With this qualification under her belt, Sonia is now more confident in her role as a tour guide in Ireland.
“It has given me the confidence to accept work with Excursions Ireland as a guide, and through ATGI accept Extended Tours of Ireland. I would have been reluctant to do so without the grounding that the course gave me and feel like I can gradually build on a solid base. It has enabled me to ask the right questions moving forward,” she said.
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