Students to get Disney experience

19:07, Dec 06 2012
timaru disney students
DISNEY-BOUND: Timaru students Elias Toa, Ashlee Quester and Billy McLachlan are off to Walt Disney World in Florida for a year of work experience.

Three Aoraki Polytechnic students are just one month away from living the dream, working at Walt Disney World in Florida, United States.

Billy McLachlan, Ashlee Quested and Elias Toa, who all study business and international tourism at the Timaru campus, will travel to the US on January 4 to begin their year-long contracts at the popular theme-park resort. They will be joined by Julie Popoviciu, 19, who studies at the polytech's Ashburton campus.

Billy will work in lifeguarding and attractions, Ashlee will work in merchandising and operations, and Elias will work in lifeguarding and merchandising. There will be two weeks' training on arrival before they start in their roles. Hostel accommodation is provided for the duration of the stay.

The three have recently returned from Auckland where they were issued their visas. It was approved on an unusual basis, they explained.

"(It) was approved on the basis we sang It's a Small World," Ashlee explained.

They said the process had involved a lot of paperwork.


"It's the first experience of an American organisation we've had," Billy said.

"It was intimidating," Ashlee added.

The process had made the whole experience suddenly seem real, Elias said. "You kind of realise you're going now."

Although it was an exciting adventure to be embarking on, the trio said there were things they would miss about home.

Not hearing their own accent, driving on the wrong side of the road and the different culture were all things that would make them miss home.

The weather would also be a factor, Ashlee said. "It's just hot all year round."

Being away from friends and family, and not being the legal age to drink alcohol, would also be challenging.

They have managed to get to know other Kiwis and Australians who will work at the resort through a Facebook Page that has been set up.

"Even though we've never met them we sort of click," Ashlee said.

"It certainly helps getting to know everyone."

The Timaru Herald