• May 8, 2019
Disney Cultural Exchange Program representatives visit AUT offering an experience of a lifetime for students and graduates. Photo: Pixabay
Today, representatives from Disney have visited AUT to invite students and graduates to apply for their international exchange programme.
Part of a wider cultural exchange initiative, Disney World Florida welcomes over 10,000 international participants every year.
Those eligible include anyone that has completed 12 years of study, is a current full-time student at a university, TAFE or polytechnic institution, and is acquiring a bachelor’s degree, Diploma or a Certificate.
Joe Iglecia-Scholi, a representative from the Disney Australia & New Zealand Cultural Exchange Program, said working at Disney World offers unprecedented opportunity as the largest entertainment company in the world.
“You’ll be prepared for a global career, working in the United States. You’ll learn about working in a global community from the worlds’ industry leaders,” he said.
Through this six to twelve-month program, participants are taken through a training program called ‘Train the Trainer’.
“You will learn transferrable skills, learn how to prepare food, food handling, problem-solving, teamwork, cash handling, all things you can take outside of Disney World and transfer to jobs all around the world,” Mr Iglecia-Scholi said.
Arguably more valuable is the chance for networking, Mr Iglecia-Scholi said.
“There’s 75,000 cast members. You’ll be able to network with Disney leaders, fellow international program participants and gain those connections that can help you back at home or long-term in a career with Disney.
“You could find yourself working at any of Disney’s 11 theme parks, on one of the four Disney cruise ships or any Disney division such as ESPN, ABC or Marvel,” he said.
“It’s very important to remember that our business at Disney World is entertainment, that’s what we do, we entertain, we create happiness by providing the finest in entertainment.”
Fortunately, for exchange participants, this doesn’t exclude them.
“We provide a range of benefits and fun things to the exchange participants,” Mr Iglecia-Scholi said.
These include experiences like the “Starlet Splash” and the winter formal dance.
“We buyout Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park and bring you in. Last time we had about 5,500 people that came along, there’s free food, giveaways, all sorts of fun things like that,” he said.
“[For the winter formal] we rent out a huge ballroom, it’s a great time - free food, dancing and 5,000 of your closest friends.”
Shannon, a recent graduate of AUT with a Bachelor in International Hospitality Management said customer service was something she had always wanted to do.
“I’ve always loved Disney, so I saw this as a great opportunity,” she said.
A recent participant in the exchange program, Ben Kwek, said the experience improved his life skills.
“During the experience, I grew in so many areas, I learned how to interact with the guests and learned to go beyond that, to stretch my imagination and think what else can I do.”
After beginning their recruitment process in Christchurch a week ago, Mr Iglecia-Scholi said he and his team have visited and interviewed a number of hopeful candidates throughout the country.
Today marks the beginning of the interview process in Auckland and the last stop of their New Zealand trip.