Nina Green studied abroad with ISA in Dunedin, New Zealand in Spring 2016. Nina was an ISA Global Ambassador before graduating from the University of San Diego. Nina returned to New Zealand after graduation and worked as an Account Executive in Auckland. She has also studied and volunteered in Switzerland with BBC’s new radio collaboration, FIRE. We reached out to Nina to learn more!
1. What was it like working in Public Relations & Digital Marketing in Auckland? What did you learn from this role?
I absolutely loved working in Auckland. It was my first proper job in my field out of university and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. It was a small company, which meant that I was able to learn about the industry as well as many different sides of the business in a very personalized way. My day to day job involved meeting with clients who needed help with messaging, both online and print. I was responsible for writing press releases, website landing pages, email newsletters, and article pitches for local and national media. I worked directly under one of the founders who was was an incredible mentor and helped me improve my writing tremendously. I never would have had the same one-on-one career development if I hadn’t started with such a small company. I also occasionally did projects with the other founder who taught me the digital marketing side of things, like the ropes of SEO, email marketing, and building websites, which are all important tools I use in jobs today.
2. Did studying abroad prepare you for working there? How did studying abroad influence you?
When I studied abroad in New Zealand, I was in Dunedin, which is in the South Island. I lived in a suburb outside of Auckland, which is in the North Island, while I was working. Dunedin is predominately a student town whereas Auckland is a much bigger city. Studying abroad in New Zealand prepared me for certain cultural and lifestyle adjustments. Having experienced different dialects, foods, modes of transport, and student life helped me transition very quickly to working life. Even though it may not seem like a huge adjustment from using American English to British English, that was the biggest thing that my university in Dunedin prepared me for. During my job at the PR/Digital Marketing company, I was constantly writing official copy that needed to not only be correct, but use the appropriate regional language and spelling. Writing my university essays definitely eased my transition to writing professionally in New Zealand.
3. How is working in New Zealand different from studying there?
When I studied there, I was living an average student life. I went to class during the weekdays and went on road trips or camping on the weekends. When I started working, I was exposed to the business side of things in the country. For example, there is a huge AI/Smart Tech industry that I hadn’t noticed before. I learned about the trademark “kiwi ingenuity” that inspires entrepreneurs to find unique solutions to major problems.
There is such a stark contrast between the way things operate back home in LA and New Zealand as a whole. Los Angeles is almost the size of the entire country of New Zealand, which is why things work the way they do in the country. There’s a much smaller gap between elected officials and the public. I’d say 6 degrees of separation turns into about 3 or 4 in New Zealand. For example, I could call the New Zealand Herald (#1 daily national newspaper) and speak to an editor to pitch a story and have it online by the end of the week. In LA, where the LA Times is incredibly hard to get in contact with, I would have never had that opportunity. My clients were often top-level executives and CEO’s in their companies, although you’d never know because of their friendliness and willingness to help you in any way. This work environment prepared me for pitching articles, speaking with high-level officials, and navigating the communications structure of a country. Also, working in Auckland made me realize what a close-knit country New Zealand is. There is so much love and support in the country.
4. How did you get involved with BBC’s radio collaboration called FIRE? How were you involved and what have you learned?
I first got started reaching out to different online publications in Switzerland and New Zealand with story pitches. I wasn’t paid, but being able to see my ideas being published was incredible exposure. I did this until I had a pretty nice portfolio of published articles. Everything from travel and tourism articles to technology, charity, and concert reviews. I am still in the early stages of freelance and do not always get paid because I am still building my writing skills, but the experience is allowing me to grow and improve. My goal would be to continue working in this area until I am able to work remotely so that I can work while traveling and explore more of the world!
Check out Nina’s personal website and website portfolio:
Nina’s team bio from FIRE: https://roundthefire.com/nina