AUT culinary arts student Ben Kwek is currently on the other side of the world, experiencing the magic of working for Walt Disney World Resort.
Ben began his Disney Cultural Exchange internship in January where he’s working in the Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom on the Frontierland stands and in Adventureland’s Tortuga Tavern.
Working with one of the world’s biggest companies is a unique experience that is opening up other opportunities, says Ben, who is one of 15 AUT students who were offered a 2017 Disney internship.
Interns work in operational roles within the Disney theme parks, resorts and recreational areas.
Ben heard of the opportunity through the AUT Employability and Careers team, and jumped at the opportunity to continue to develop his customer service, marketing and videoing skills while mixing with other cultures and experiencing life in America.
Disney Internships and Programs international recruiter Jill Jacobson says AUT’s progressive attitude and ability to adapt and change fits well with Disney.
“AUT understands the holistic experience that Disney offers and gets the message about that out to students really well. The quality of the students makes our relationship strong.”
She says participating in the Disney Cultural Exchange Program is an experience that can leave a lasting impression on students' lives.
“The training they receive is world-class, and they develop really strong communication, teamwork, multi-tasking and time management skills that transfer to any future career.”
Last week Jill was on AUT campus to interview students for the August 2018 intake of Disney Cultural Exchange internships.
“Traditionally Disney were seeing only students from business, and hospitality and tourism but now we’re encouraging students from other disciplines, such as sport and recreation, to look at the potential in the Disney Cultural Exchange Program,” says AUT employability relationship manager Vanessa Freeman.
“Students gain so many skills from the experience and it is a great to include on their CV. Also, once students are on the Disney database, many other options can open up to them.”
Hospitality senior lecturer and work integrated learning lead Yvonne Wood says the cultural exchange is the foundation for other opportunities.
“Like Air NZ, Disney is an aspirational brand for our students, and fits extremely well with hospitality and tourism.”