Catching up with a 2018 Disney Exchange Program alumniPosted on 24/05/2023 by Hayley Clark
In 2018, Aunima Haque was one of a number of ITC graduates who was accepted into the prestigious Disney Exchange Program.
This exchange invites young graduates to work in a number of roles at Disney, where they earn valuable skills and experience. Many students use this time as a launching pad for a career in tourism in travel, which is why we have been catching up with some of them.
We’re looking forward to the next Disney intake this year, and leading up to it with a campaign called ‘Adventures after Disney’. Last week we spoke to Emma Morris, and this week we have a new graduate to interview!
This week, we chatted to the lovely Aunima Haque. Here’s what she had to say about her time at ITC and Disney, and what she’s been up to since!
What was your fondest memory of ITC?
My fondest memory would probably be both the famil trips! They were not only a great experience but I also made some great memories with people I’m still close friends with.
If you could give any person considering applying for the Disney Cultural Exchange Program any advice for their application, what would that be?
Be confident, it’s easier said than done but showing a little confidence goes a long way. Also make sure to be yourself, the Disney reps are trying to get to know you to see where you would suit in the parks.
What were you most nervous about before embarking on your Disney adventure?
I was probably most nervous about moving overseas “by myself” and living, working in an another country. Although, once you’re there with your friends and new roommates and colleagues all the nervousness goes away.
I know there will be many, but if you could let us know the top highlights of your experience?
There are so many highlights, if I had to pick a few it would be meeting some of my closest friends, me and my roommates still talk weekly to this day!
Another would be getting to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks EVERY night from work and going the parks whenever I wanted. The whole experience was truly magical!
Did Disney change you at all? If so, how?
It definitely did, I went over there quite shy, reserved and not very confident. Disney pushed me to be brave, extroverted and confident so I too can create some magic for guests and I’ve carried that confidence and bravery with me to this day which has really helped in my career and life so far.
How did your experience better prepare you for the workforce on your return?
It prepared by teaching me how to work with different types of people and interact with different types of guests. It also taught me how to create a work life balance, when you’re working long hours it can be hard to take care of yourself physically and mentally and the older I get the more I realise the importance of taking care of myself.
What has your career pathway been since?
My career pathway has been all over the place since Covid. After level 5 I moved back to the states to be with family and was the assistant manager at a boutique wine and spirits store. I then returned home to now work at one of the top health insurance providers as a customer service representative and team knowledge specialist.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
The future is uncertain and I prefer to not plan (career wise) as the world is constantly changing but I do hope one day I come back to the tourism industry (hopefully work at Air New Zealand) as that’s always been my passion, but right now I’m enjoying my role in health insurance and can’t wait to see where it takes me.
Study at ITC
ITC provides students with qualifications in the travel and tourism industry, and support for finding experience and work here in New Zealand and overseas. Many of our graduates go on to work in travel and tourism, but the skills you learn with us can help propel you in all sorts of jobs.
Whether you know you want to work in tourism, or if you just want to get started with a qualification that will serve you well no matter what you do, we can help. Get in touch to learn more about our qualifications, and how they might take you on an international exchange to work at Disney!
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