Office Manager and Consular Officer, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Vancouver, Canada
Bachelor of Communication Studies in Digital Media
Being able to work overseas straight after graduating has been an amazing opportunity, says communication studies alumna Ayaka Archer who works at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) in Vancouver.
“I initially came here through the AUT Internz International Scholarship Programme, which gave me a chance to see what’s out there and live on the other side of the world. My internship was really varied, and I got to do market research for New Zealand businesses considering exporting to Canada, copywriting for NZTE’s information databases, and helping the team with events. I also covered for the office manager and answered consulate enquiries because the Vancouver NZTE office also doubles as a New Zealand consulate.”
When her internship finished, Ayaka happily accepted the role of office manager and consular officer at NZTE.
“My first year in the role involved market research, organising events for New Zealand exporters, and providing consular assistance to all the Kiwis travelling in British Columbia. When the pandemic hit there was a huge uptake in consular work which took priority for the majority of 2020. After a year and a half there are still many consular enquiries, particularly around MIQ as well as interest from Canadians wanting to visit New Zealand.
“As North America has slowly started to enter the new normal, business as usual activity has somewhat returned. Earlier this year I worked on the Sauvignon Blanc Day influencer activation, where NZTE partnered with New Zealand Winegrowers to promote New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and other premium Kiwi products. It’s been great to be able to tap into the skills I learned as a communications student and to apply these to my role.”
Prepared for the world of communications
She has always been interested in communications, says Ayaka who came to AUT from Christchurch.
“I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the communications industry. I chose to study at AUT because it offers a diverse range of practical papers and it provides an interactive approach to learning. Being in the centre of New Zealand’s biggest city also means that there are opportunities everywhere and having a degree from AUT really helps you get a foot in the door.”
What you learn is very relevant to what is happening in the world around you, she says.
“In our classes we talked a lot about the media and technology, and our course material always reflected what was currently happening around us. It’s very valuable having an up-to-date understanding of the industry.”
Advice for other students
Make the most of every opportunity AUT throws at you, Ayaka advises other students.
“The three years of your studies will go by very quickly, so make sure you say yes to any opportunity that comes up.”
Ayaka certainly followed her own advice, and some of her favourite experiences at AUT were because she took up opportunities that presented themselves.
“One of my highlights was participating in the Common Purpose Global Leader Experiences workshop hosted at AUT. At the end of the week-long workshop, our team pitched our idea of how to increase civic engagement to a panel of pretty influential judges in both the public and private sector. It was a great way to meet people from many different backgrounds and it also benefitted my personal development.
“Another highlight for me was working as a taura kaiwhatu and as a peer mentor. Being able to pass on everything I had learnt throughout uni was really rewarding.”