GoAbroad Interview

Rose Hunerwadel - Enrollment Coordinator

Rose Hunerwadel - Enrollment Coordinator of Alliance Abroad Group

Rose was born and raised in Chattanooga, TN. When she was 18 she moved to Hawaii, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in International Education from the University of Hawaii at Hilo. She has traveled to over 30 countries and lived abroad in South Africa, and Australia.

Maheno shipwreck on Fraser (K'gari) Island in Australia
Rose on a visit to the Maheno shipwreck on Fraser (K'gari) Island in Australia.

You participated in one of AAG’s programs before coming onboard as staff. What made you want to be a part of AAG?

The short version is I love traveling, and I love helping over people discover a new place. The long version would be that I really connected with my Enrollment Coordinator, we live in the same city now and hang out all the time! While she was traveling around Oz she stopped in to see how things were going with my job placement, and we got to talking about our aspirations in life. One of my biggest life goals is to someday run a global exchange office at a university. Basically, she told me that her visa was up soon and the job she was doing for AAG was really similar to what I wanted to do. She said she’d talk to her boss about hiring me to replace her when her visa ran out. I thought no way was this actually going to happen, but when I called her about a month before her visa was up she said I should come into the office and interview. I got the job in the Melbourne office, and when my visa ran out they transferred me back to the HQ in Austin, TX. It’s funny how things turn out!

You worked in AAG’s Melbourne office prior to moving to Austin, what was the cultural shift like from down under to Texas?

Honestly, the biggest cultural difference is the food. Not Australia to America, but going from a city with fantastic Asian food on every corner, to a city that is drowning in places to get breakfast tacos. Melbourne and Austin both have many amazing restaurants, but I have a friend in Melbs that has no idea what guacamole even is because they have so few Mexican restaurants, and if you don’t like Mexican food in Texas they will run you out of the state. However, they are surprisingly similar too. Austin isn’t like your average Texas city. It is very liberal and the live music capital of the US. There are cute coffee shops all over the place and hipsters covered in tattoos wearing ironic t-shirts everywhere. Melbourne is the events capital of Australia, and there are an equal number of coffee drinking, tattooed, hipsters. Both cities are awesome and I’m lucky to have had the chance to live in both.

What exactly does your role as Enrollment Coordinator at AAG entail?

My job is to be the participant’s advocate all the way from the day they apply for the program, to the day they land in Oz. I start by sending them an email welcoming them to the program. Then, I have a really in-depth conversation with them over Skype about what they want to get out of the program and how I can help them do that. I am their voice to the rest of the people who work on our program. I also act as a cheerleader sometimes, helping participants that are having a hard time with the interview process, or a nagging mom for participants that are not so good at getting things in on deadline!

Friends enjoying dinner in Townsville, Queensland.

Rose enjoying dinner with friends in Townsville, Queensland. Her Italian roommate even made lasagna from scratch!

In working with AAG’s approved applicants, how do you best prepare them for their work, teach, or intern programs abroad?

The most valuable things we do to prepare participants for our programs are resume optimization and mock interviews. We have the participant put their resume into our company formatted document, then we go over it and make sure that it represents them in the most positive light. Not everyone is great at writing resumes, we get that. We make sure the participant’s resume is the best it can be before we turn it into host companies. After their awesome new resume lands them an interview, we do a mock interview. The tips and tricks we give during this process are things the participant can take with them for interviews for the rest of their life. We really try to give the participant insight into how an HR Manager thinks, and the kinds of answers they are looking for. We don’t give our participants a script, but rather teach them how they can answer any question thrown their way with composure and poise.

What is the most fulfilling aspect of your job at AAG?

After a participant lands in Australia they are assigned a new coordinator. This is mostly because if they run into any trouble while over there it’s better to have on the ground support rather than someone in Texas on the other side of the planet. Because of this, I made a professional Facebook account which I share with my participants before they land in Oz, and tell them they are welcome to keep in touch if they want. The most fulfilling aspect of my job is surfing around on Facebook on my lunch break and seeing how many of my participants say how they are having the time of their life, or they just had the most amazing experience! One of my participants even posted this today. “Even when I'm having a rough day or life has me down a bit, I'm having a rough day in AUSTRALIA! Which, frankly, is pretty damn awesome.” I love being the person who helped them get to have this experience.