20 November 2011

Hello to the New Zealand High Commission

After the application process was all over, I calculated that I had spent over 30 hours preparing for this one application and interview. By the time I finished the two-hour interview and practical test process, I knew all the preparation was worth it: my rehearsed answers gave me confidence but all flew out the window as I laughed and chatted with the interview panel, and actually enjoyed the practical test.

When I got the formal offer, Mark and I dropped everything and ran around the local stadium to work off the adrenaline.

For the last month, I've been slowly transitioning from work at TDB, closing out Peace Corps service, and preparing for our next year in Tonga. It's been a good process; although it involved pages and pages of forms to fill out and others to sign; pictures, medical, and police records for the visa process; it also included beautiful good-bye parties and ending Peace Corps ceremonies.

Mark has all this to look forward to in less than a month. He's just accepted an offer as the IT manager for 'Uta'atu and Associates, a well-respected management consulting firm here. This time, we weren't at home with the luxury of running to the stadium, so we jumped and yelled instead, in a corner at a friend's birthday celebration.

Today was my first day as (ready for the mouthful?) a Development Programme Coordinator for the New Zealand Aid Programme through the New Zealand High Commission-Tonga. The nervousness of a first day was offset by the fact that I wasn't walking in to a roomful of strangers. I actually knew most of the staff already, Tonga being as small as it is, and the prospect of working with who I knew to be great people had played some part in my decision to accept the job offer. I strolled in at 8:20, and started the day right with a fresh cup of local coffee and a chat with a coworker.

The rest of the day was basic introduction to the necessary office admin, and more interestingly, some of the programmes I'll be working on; mainly tourism and small business development. Other than directly supporting tourism, a lot of that work is also related to culture in development, heritage sites, handicrafts, marketing, and a handful of other subjects, and the small business side will deal with business training, mentoring, and SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) support.

A perfect match to what I've been doing these past two years, and a very interesting start for the time to come.


  1. Very cool Elena! I'm sure you're going to do an awesome job! Thanks for all of your career/resume help :)

  2. It sounds like the perfect job for you... I can't wait to hear more about it IN PERSON in January!!! :)


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