GoAbroad Interview

Anita Ng - Program Manager

Anita Ng - Program Manager

A four-week solo trip to Europe convinced Anita it was time to not only travel further and for a longer period of time, but to actually stay and live like a local outside of her home country. So after over six years of working in Vancouver, Canada, Anita packed up and headed for an adventure to Australia! Anita had studied and worked as an events professional, so Melbourne was her natural choice with its vibrant events industry and she loves everything about the city: amazing food, active people, and heaps of fun, unique things to do! Since joining the Alliance Abroad Group as Programs Manager, she is constantly evaluating programs and working with participants to make sure every program continues to exceed every participant’s expectations.

Anita meeting with participants in both AAGs WEA and Business and Events program at a funky local bar in Pyrmont.
Anita meeting with participants in both AAG’s WEA and Business and Events program at a funky local bar in Pyrmont.

Your background is in event management, how did you get connected to Alliance Abroad Group (AAG)?

I was chatting with a friend through playing ultimate frisbee together and she told me there was an opportunity to get involved with a fun and exciting job to do with travel, working abroad, and networking with people all around Australia – I jumped at the chance! I loved being a participant and working in Co-operative Education back home in Canada, and thought that this was a fantastic opportunity to also encourage others to broaden their skill set while working and living like a local abroad.

Our society continues to challenge each young professional every day and I strongly believe that the next most desirable experience employers are looking for are international work experiences that highlight someone’s capacity to succeed in transitioning personally and professionally in a drastically new environment.

Your role as Program Manager for AAG involves a lot of coordination, what does this look like on a daily basis in terms of your work in the Melbourne office? 

There’s always something exciting happening with all our key stakeholders involved, from partners, to employers, to participants, and even to the media wanting some more exciting stories! My role is actually really fun, and keeps me engaged in multiple industries to be on the pulse of what’s changing and developing. In fact, to even anticipate and forecast the needs of our clients. So, I’m in communication over email and phone with people all the time, if I’m not out on site visits or meeting our participants!

What makes an applicant a good fit for an AAG program?

Besides having direct, relevant, and recent work experience, an ideal AAG program participant will also be positive, responsible, and strive to do the best that he/she can during their internship. Someone who is keen to learn as much as possible, while eager to contribute to the company, would be an asset to any employer. 

You have extensive experience with social media, what role does this play in AAG connecting with participants?

Social media plays a critical part in connecting with our participants as this is a tool that they are comfortable using, and even prefer it over texting, emailing, or calling at times! It’s a great way to share stories, stay in touch, and even to start the conversation to sort out any concerns. In addition, it’s been a fantastic opportunity to have the participants build and contribute to a community with the other participants when they are in the same city to help and learn from one another. 

What kind of re-entry support or alumni programming do you have for AAG participants returning from their work, intern, or teach abroad programs?

We’ve created opportunities for reflective reports that encourage each person to deeply consider the impact of their internship on their life and career choices. With that, we can assist in tapping into where they’d like go or what they’d like do next, as well as offer assistance to connect them with their next step. Social media still is a great opportunity to connect them with others who have completed the program to think about where they’d like to venture next too. Furthermore, we have site visits and meetings in place to keep them thinking about how to effectively apply their internship experience and continue building their career!

What is your favorite part about your job with AAG?

Being a part of their dream come true. Yes, that’s pretty cheesy, but it took me seven years to finally realize my dream of coming to Australia and living and working abroad, so I can truly empathize how it can be exciting, overwhelming, and incredible...all at the same time. When each participant arrives, I get to relive that same fervor of exhilaration and I love it!