Masked balls, gondola rides and museum visits sound more like holiday itinerary items than lessons, but this is how students from The University of Queensland are learning their craft.

A group of 24 students flew to the ancient canal city of Venice as part of a UQ School of Tourism study tour, under the leadership of senior lecturer Dr Charles Arcodia.

He took the students for the Carnival of Venice, giving them a taste of both the attractions and planning involved in putting on one of the city's biggest annual events.

Students visited museums and art galleries, talked to staff at key hotels, took discovery walks, checked out glass-blowing and lace-making facilities and shopped for Italian produce.

Dr Arcodia said some of the students dressed in elaborate period costume to attend a masked ball, while others were involved in mask making workshops and intricate face painting sessions.

He is of his opinion that the event were authentic experiences for the students.It also serves a lot of relevance for the students as they are either from the event management, tourism management or art history faculty.

''We did the iconic things such as a gondola ride. As we did these things, we encouraged the students to be critical and reflect on the experience.

''It was not meant to be just a holiday. They had fun but they also learned from the experience.''

''It is a great opportunity to link formal education with something that is great fun. They did something that will remain with them forever. They will never forget the time they went to Venice.''  

 Students were busy writing reports and evaluations on the study tour, but Dr Arcodia said he had already received a lot of positive feedback.

The school hoped to make the tour an annual event.