Tapiwa Shoko in the Centre for Health and Science

Student leader reflects on the power of community and connections

June 13, 2023

From Classroom to Career: Tapiwa Shoko

When Tapiwa Shoko, also known as Taps, began searching for post-secondary opportunities, Vancouver Island University caught his eye due to the hands-on learning opportunities available. Taps, from Harare, Zimbabwe, graduates from VIU this June with a Bachelor of Hospitality Management. He is currently working as a student ambassador and for VIU Residences and exploring future options.

What made you decide to attend VIU? 

I was looking at a place that offered my program and gave me both in-class learning as well as practical training. VIU’s Discovery Room is a fine-dining restaurant where we get to learn the skills that come with being a hospitality professional.

What did you enjoy most about studying at VIU? 

The community. As an international student who didn’t know anyone here, the VIU community really welcomed me with open arms. I was able to get involved and make lots of connections with friends and peers.

Were you involved with any extracurricular activities at VIU during your time here? 

I was a community leader for the student residences in 2021. That same year I volunteered to be part of the Vancouver Island Leadership Conference and then later got the role of vice-chairperson of the same conference in 2022. I am also still working as a student ambassador. The student ambassador job includes touring potential students around the campus, making videos, running seminars and writing blogs, among other things.

Did you use any VIU services to explore career opportunities or get connected with employers? 

The Career Studio launched at a good time for me. It has given me resources to help with my job search and the weekly career fairs in March gave me an opportunity to look for potential work. My program also has a co-op facilitator, who helped us get our summer internships.

What’s next for you after VIU? 

I’m looking for opportunities that will allow me to expand and grow in the field and industry that I value and cherish. I am confident that the skills I have gained at VIU have prepared me adequately for the workforce ahead. I am opening up my options for now and seeing where my opportunities take me.

What will you miss most about your time at VIU? 

I will miss the community, the connections and my professors. Life was a little more bearable knowing you had the support you needed to succeed and keep pushing.

What career are you considering? 

I am passionate about event management and coordination. This is something I have had the privilege to dip my toes into and so I’m looking into getting more into it. However, I’m also open to other occupations as well. 

How do you think that your time at VIU has prepared you for your career of choice? 

I have in-class knowledge of event management and also worked as a vice-chair and volunteer in organizing a leadership conference. I believe these tools have helped me gain a better understanding of what the industry is like.

What is your dream job?  

I really want to end up in the operations department of a hotel. I see myself looking into and analyzing the day-to-day operation of a hotel. The dream is to work for Marriott Hotels as l admire that hotel chain and what it has accomplished over the decades.

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