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New in town . . . Waitaki District Council interns Amelia Guibbal (20), of Reunion Island, and Niek Broekman (23), of the Netherlands. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

The first group of interns have arrived at the Waitaki District Council as part of its new internship programme. An initiative of council chief executive Fergus Power, the programme was created to entice domestic and international university students of a high calibre to Waitaki to carry out projects that would otherwise not be undertaken. Reporter Daniel Birchfield asks two overseas interns some questions.

Q: Where are you from?
Amelia Guibbal: Reunion Island, which is a French territory, but I’ve been in France for three years because I’m doing my studies in Lyon.

Niek Broekman: I’m from Linde, in the Netherlands. It’s a really small place in the countryside with only about 350 people.

Q: What brings you to New Zealand?
Amelia: It’s part of my university programme. I do half of my semester at university and the other half as an internship, so I came here to do that. I wanted to go to New Zealand and I was lucky enough to find something.

Niek: I was looking for an internship and I could have actually done it in the Netherlands, but I wanted to go abroad. I did an internship in Tanzania – that was four years ago. I wanted to go abroad again and I chose New Zealand for two reasons: the nature and the activities you can do here, and secondly, it’s an English-speaking nation and I want to improve my English.

Q: What are your impressions of the Waitaki district so far?
Amelia: People are really welcoming and really nice and friendly. They’ve really tried to make us feel comfortable and to help in any way possible. It’s such a professional environment and friendly environment here (at the council), unlike France, where it is really serious. In France, you are not friendly with your colleagues, whereas here it’s like a family.

Niek: Quite the same as Amelia, I think. People are very nice. It’s the same in Holland .. but work and friendship are separate. When you’re here, people are saying, ‘You should come over at the weekend’, so you go over and have a beer or something. I like it.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Amelia: I guess I will keep on travelling. I’m doing my studies in travel and international relations. I guess I’ll be somewhere in the world, but I don’t know where. Maybe New Zealand, but I would like to keep on travelling because I don’t know what I want to do.

Niek: I’m studying civil engineering, so I hope I will be working in civil engineering at a civil concreting contractor. I don’t really mind what kind of contractor. I hope to be in project management by then.