What job could be better for student than the one which gives an opportunity to travel, meet new people, cultures and earn money. One of this kind of careers is a job of a tour guide. Twenty-four year old Milena Matiс, a student of Tourism enrolled in the Geography Faculty in Belgrade, tells us about it.
What was your motivation and what were your expectations to become a tour guide?
It all started when I saw an announcement for a school for Tour guides. I always wanted to travel, to see all those beautiful cities and meet new people, and this job this was my chance to do it. I had no expectations about it at all, because I didn’t know what exactly I should expect. I only knew that the job could be very interesting and my biggest motivation was my wish to travel the world. So I applied, and my life story started (laugh).
What skills do you use the most?
Not every person can be a tour guide of course. Even if it all sounds like “travelling, earning money and having fun”, it’s not. You need to be very responsible in the first place, because you have a group of people to take care of. You always need to be well prepared, to know everything about the destination, to be organized, punctual, and also to anticipate possible unexpected situations. You also need to be extremely patient and tolerant, because you work with a lot of different people. For instance, when something bad happens, when people are tired, or they do not get what they want, they can be very rude and make trouble, and a good tour guide should know how to resolve the situation. Many people who want this job are not aware of how difficult it can be. Therefore, a high degree of social skill is essential, as every employer expects you to be clever, interesting, and resourceful, and to get along well with the clients and know how to respond to conflict situations.
You are still at the University. How do you manage to be a student and prepare 4-5 tours a year?
Sometimes it can be very difficult to manage all these obligations, but the key is in the organization. If you are good at time management, everything is possible. I lead tours about four-five times a year, and the good thing is that they are not at the same time as my exam period. I’m very dedicated to both, but I think that when you love what you do, nothing is that hard.
How do you prepare yourself for a destination? What are all the things that you have to know, and what do you do when some something unexpected happens?
I do detailed research about each destination – history, sights and all dates about them, cultural manifestations, places to go out, restaurants, prices etc. I like to read about the experiences other people have had and their recommendations, you can find a lot of useful information that way. Unexpected situations are something that you can expect (laugh), but can’t be prepared for. The key is to be calm and think clearly about what to do and how to solve it. There is no such thing as a problem that can’t be solved.
Would you choose this job again, and what tips can you give to people who are interested in becoming tour guides?
If I could do it all over, I would choose this job again and again! This is not just a job, it’s an experience in life that makes you a better person, teaches you how to behave with people, and most important of all, gives you happy memories that will last a lifetime. Of course, as a job, it can be really difficult, so many things to worry about, but, on the other hand, there are so many positive things, as I’ve already mentioned. Tips that I can give somebody who is considering this job as a career would be: cultivate tolerance and patience, maintain positive thoughts and sociability, and of course, keep your love for travel!