Connie Manning is packing her bags for Los Angeles where, along with a handful of others, she will take up an Air New Zealand internship at the city’s international airport.
The 21-year-old from Taradale is thrilled about the opportunity for paid OE – “I’d be stupid not to be,” she laughs.
In all, Connie expects to be away 13 months – settling into California’s largest city, working at the airport for a year and then, as part of the internship, exploring the USA for 30 days as a tourist.
When she’s not working in check-in, ticketing and other areas of Air New Zealand’s Los Angeles operation, she hopes to take “little tiki tours here and there”, getting to know the country better.
Connie is one of 10 interns selected by the carrier for this year’s internship programme in America. She is also the first EIT student to have achieved the honour in the few years that the internship has been available.
To celebrate that, programme coordinator Nikki Lloyd – who suggested Connie apply – presented her former student with a suitcase gifted by the Eastern Institute of Technology.
Described as a model student, Connie was a “hero” in EIT’s marketing campaign. Her photo features in the brochure outlining the institute’s wide range of programmes.
As part of her two-year Diploma in Tourism and Travel, Connie did work experience at Jennings United Travel. Enjoying the job so much, she stayed on at the Napier travel agency for 18 months, finishing a semester through distance study.
“She was such a great motivated student that she just got on with it,” Nikki Lloyd says.
Connie returned to EIT in May last year to complete her IATA/UFTAA qualification.
Working in Los Angeles, she expects to gain an overview of what goes on at an international airport.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity and will be great on my cv.”
Overseas travel won’t be a totally new experience – previous trips have taken her to Australia, the Cook Islands, Mexico and the USA.
Applicants for the internship programme must be in at least their first year of study in a nationally accredited institute of higher education and have completed a year or more of relevant study before starting an internship.
Regarded as very employable, interns usually find work with Air New Zealand on their return from the USA.