Student Spotlight: Susanne Weiland
As a child, Susanne Weiland traveled with her mother, father and siblings every summer, mostly camping across the U.S. and Canada. She would watch the National Geographic programs on television and dream of exploring those far-off places.
“Once I had my own children, my husband and I would travel several times a year throughout the United States, the Bahamas and Mexico by air, auto and cruise line and even short trips by rail,” she said. “To discover other cultures and lifestyles is an amazing education not to mention fun. To date, my children and grandchildren have the same love for travel as I do. My hope is to be able to continue traveling the world and to become a huge part in enabling others to expand their horizons and discover the world.”
Due to some life-changing circumstances, Weiland decided it was time to find a career that she loved, and that career was travel. With two children who both attended College of DuPage, and knowing the excellence of its Travel and Tourism program, she had an easy choice.
“I carefully planned out my curriculum, taking full advantage of all the wonderful courses being offered,” she said. “Each and every class offered was an opportunity to learn the industry and to practice the skills I have learned on my fellow students, friends and family before applying them to my future clients.”
Although changing careers occurred after her children were grown, Weiland said it’s how people deal with change that defines their lives.
“Sometimes things work out, sometimes they don’t, but throwing your hands up and saying I give up is the worst thing you can do to yourself,” she said. “College of DuPage, the instructors, the curriculum and the support of my classmates were invaluable tools, and I utilized them to the maximum benefit. I learned so much at COD. I made lifelong friends, both classmates and instructors. And at a time in my life when I wasn’t so sure I could do this, these people, this program and this school gave me the confidence to chase my dream and succeed. I wish I had come sooner!”
Weiland graduated with honors, having earned all five travel certifications offered by College of DuPage. She then completed her associate’s degree and worked at Travel Leaders of Naperville for several years as a travel consultant before opening her own company, Life’s Story Travel, where she specializes in helping group, multi-generational and family travel with an emphasis on destination weddings and honeymoons.
This continues her love affair with travel, and she follows in the footsteps of her grandmother, who passed away in 2013 at the age of 100.
“Her career took her all over the United Sates in hospitality management, and she retired well into her 70s,” she said. “She inspired me to travel as well, but not in the same genre. I spent several years fishing in bass tournaments mostly throughout the Midwest, hauling my boat behind my Suburban and often times sleeping lakeside the night before the tournament. Many people had comments regarding this activity and how it was not a women’s sport; those comments only fueled the fire in me to pursue my dreams more passionately, much as the comments did to my pioneering grandmother in the career she had chosen for herself.
“Never let anyone tell you that you cannot do something or that you are too old, too young or too whatever adjective used at you to dissuade you from accomplishing what you have in your heart to do. Make your path and start with educating yourself at a quality school. Many thanks to College of DuPage for jump-starting yet another career path for me.”
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