Grad spotlight 2022: Kazakhstan native is turning her passion for travel into a career

This article was published on: June 21st, 2022

Yuliya Poplavskaya

When Kazakhstan native Yuliya Poplavskaya, 20, graduates from Niagara College’s Tourism Management – Business Development program this week, she will carry with her memories and lessons that were both rewarding and valuable.

“For me, college was a gate to the world of being more mature and responsible for my life decisions,” she said. “Graduating can be a metaphor for actually stepping into that new chapter of life.

It wasn’t a typical college experience. COVID-19 made it impossible to start classes in person, and Poplavskaya said it made it easier to acclimate to the world of post-secondary education.

“I had the whole support of my family and financial security during that challenging time,” she said. “I had an opportunity to still get an education in the comforts of my house to then graduate and enter an industry that is desperately needing professionals.”

Her love of travel and of meeting people from all over brought her to NC, and it’s what will help her explore and appreciate the world going forward.

“I always was a fan of geography and different cultures and cuisines,” Poplavskaya said. “I find such massive inspiration talking to people from abroad and grabbing tips and advice from them if I ever visit their country. I also believe that in order to find and establish yourself, one has to experience how it is to live elsewhere. A person is a mix of every culture out there.”

What is Yuliya Poplavskaya up to now?

We caught up with Poplavskaya ahead of her convocation ceremony to find out what she’s been up to since completing her studies.

After spending several memorable months at a co-op placement at Blue Mountain Resort near Collingwood, Poplavskaya joined The Ritz Carlton Toronto team and is enjoying a different type of work environment.

“It was an eye-opening first couple of weeks since I never worked for the luxury brand before,” she said. “I am excited for the future opportunities as I know that I want to get involved, volunteer within a company, and participate in activities that were not possible due to the pandemic.

“Niagara College has substantially helped me to enter the world of hospitality and to even get a job at a great company right after completing my studies. We will see how the future turns out, but for now I am building on what I am good at and making connections with industry professionals.”

Congratulations to Poplavskaya and to all graduating students this week!