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How the Disney Cultural Exchange helped this graduate find her confidence and her future career

Posted on 31/05/2023 by

Taylor Still had an unforgettable time with the Disney Exchange Program.

Recently, we’ve been catching up with ITC graduates who were accepted into the Disney Cultural Exchange Program.

This is a fantastic opportunity where students can head overseas and work in various roles for this world-renowned brand, earning valuable work experience, meeting people from around the world, and enjoying a huge international adventure all at once.

But what happens next?

In the lead-up to the next Disney intake, we’ve been checking in with graduates who took up this opportunity in a series we’re calling ‘Adventures after Disney’.

Today, we’re sharing our interview with Taylor Still, who was part of the 2018 program. Read on to learn more about her story, and what she’s been up to since!

​​What was your fondest memory of ITC?

My fondest memories of ITC was probably jumping off the harbour bridge as well as making some really good friendships.

If you could give any person considering applying for the Disney Cultural Exchange Program any advice for their application, what would that be?

In my Disney cover letter I put down all of the sporting teams I had been involved with to show how I worked well with others. I feel like that gave them a sense of the energy I’d bring into their company. 

What were you most nervous about before embarking on your Disney adventure?

I was probably most nervous about moving to the other side of the world by myself. I was 18 at the time and had never gone anywhere other than Australia in regards to leaving New Zealand so this was a very big step for me. 

I know there will be many, but if you could let us know the top highlights of your experience almost 8 years ago?

All the friendships I made were most definitely the highlight for me. I was fortunate enough to live with amazing people during my program. I lived with my friend that I studied with at ITC as well as 4 strangers from NZ, AUS and USA that quickly became some of my best friends. All 6 of us used to hang out all the time and we all still chat almost every day. Making friends with people from all over the world was such an amazing thing. I still speak to the friends I used to work with over there and it’s so awesome to know I have many connections with people from all over the world. 

Did Disney change you at all? If so, how?

I’d say that the Disney experience changed me. When I left I was quite unsure of myself and didn’t have a lot of confidence but when I came back I was a lot more mature and had more independence. 

How did your experience better prepare you for the workforce on your return?

When working for Disney most of my shifts were 10-12 hours long. So those long days and nights of working on your feet definitely prepared me for full time work. Also the crazy atmosphere of Disney taught me how to deal well under pressure. 

What has your career pathway been in the last 5 years?

When I came back from Disney I went straight into hospitality work for almost a year while I got on my feet. I worked at a luxury lodge up in Helena Bay where I attended to guests from all over the world. After that I moved to Hamilton and started my hairdressing career. I learned that I loved working with people and making them feel like the best version of themselves. Disney definitely prepared me for long hours on my feet in the salon as well as how to deal with  busy and stressful situations. 

Where do you see yourself in the next 5?

In 5 years’ time I would love to be a successful hair stylist with potentially by own salon. I do still love to travel so I’d love to do more of that in the future also. I have been over to Europe and travelled through Rome, Denmark as well as London so I do still have a great passion for traveling. I would love to be able to do it more as well as doing hairdressing so that’s probably my biggest goal.

Study with ITC 

ITC isn’t just somewhere you can earn a qualification. It’s also somewhere you can go for a step up in the industry, as we constantly seek opportunities for our graduates, whether that’s the Disney Exchange Program or work in the industry. And then, we stay in touch and cheer you on throughout your career – even offering an Employment Consultant to help connect you with jobs long after you graduate!

Get in touch to learn more about our courses, the Disney Exchange Program, or where a qualification with us might take you.

Campus Study – college@itc.co.nz 0800 TOURISM (0800 868747) or https://www.itc.co.nz/contact-us/

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