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Be inspired: “Disney was just the beginning”

Posted on 01/07/2020 by

ITC graduate Michelle Coutts reflects on her experience living and working at Disney World.

When life throws you challenges and curveballs, some people see them as a setback – others see them as a learning opportunity and a chance to grow.

ITC graduate Michelle Coutts is definitely a glass-half-full person, who looks for the bright side in life.

Like many people across the world, Michelle’s life was changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

She was meant to spend another six months living and working at Disney World – one of her lifelong dreams – but instead she found herself back on a plane to New Zealand sooner than expected. 

Although Michelle would have loved to stay at Disney World for longer, she is so grateful for the experience and knows it was just the beginning of her exciting journey.

She was also incredibly impressed by Disney’s professionalism and communication when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, which only raised her opinion of the company.

“Disney has done their best with every decision they have come across in this situation. We are always in the loop with what is happening,” she explains.

Michelle also credits ITC with preparing her for her time at Disney World, as well as arming her with many other skills she knows will be invaluable as she looks for her next job.

“ITC helped me a lot in relation with how to interact with people from different cultures in a variety of situations – exposing me to different people from around the world. I also gained confidence in public speaking, problem solving, quick thinking, and cultural sensitivity,” she says.

Michelle is still in touch with many of the friends she made on the exchange, and is actively looking for her next role.

“I still stay in close contact with everyone via video call, messenger and zoom. I am incredibly grateful for every single friend I met in America. They made my Disney cultural program what it was, a dream come true,” she says.

“I am also grateful for my family for organising my trip home so diligently with the tremendous help from Michele Cadman our travel agent. I have been updating my CV with my Disney world experience and hope to find another dream opportunity soon.” 

Michelle is in contact with ITC Employment Consultant Nicky McCutcheon, who is actively helping her look for her next role. 

Nicky says she’s so impressed with Michelle’s attitude and how far she has come since she started studying at ITC.

“She has overcome one of the most challenging times and always had such a positive attitude. She handled her return with such maturity, knowing that ITC was here to support her and also make sure she returned safely,” says Nicky.

“Michelle (like the other girls who experienced this amazing opportunity) has come such a long way from when we first met her, she was fairly quiet and introverted but now she is so bubbly, confident and such an inspirational young lady who wants to share her experience with others,” Nicky adds.

Ending a trip of a lifetime early is never easy, but Michelle’s attitude is certainly something we can all be inspired by.

“I am forever grateful I took this step outside my comfort zone. I have made lifelong friendships, had amazing coworkers, and grown into a better person.”

For more inspirational stories like Michelle’s, follow ITC on Facebook. 

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