The eight interns also visited Fonterra and Callaghan Innovation where they heard from business leaders about how to make the most of their Asia experiences once they enter the job market.
At Fonterra, the interns heard from Fonterra’s director of human resources global manufacturing Rachael Regan-Paterson who spoke about the three years she spent working in Shanghai as Fonterra's vice president of human resources for greater China.
She encouraged the interns to continue to look for work experiences that took them away from New Zealand.
“When we look at careers these days…it’s actually about the experiences you acquire,” she said.
“...if you’re working for a large organisation, that idea of working your way up over a 20-30 year career is just so obliterated, it’s just non-existent, and, more importantly, what we look at now is people who have had broad experiences.”
The group also sat down with CEO of New Zealand Leaders Ben Marris who took them through an exercise to examine the reasons behind the success or failure of two imaginary New Zealand businesses and their experiences getting established in Asia.
The day culminated in an Asia After Five networking event hosted at the Foundation’s Auckland office. The event gave the interns an opportunity to share their experiences in Asia – from the little cultural quirks they encountered, to office life and travelling during their time off.
ANZCO Foods intern Tom Bone described being surprised about the relaxed atmosphere at the ANZCO office in Taipei, Taiwan, and being able to easily chat and joke with his colleagues and boss.
He said his internship experience opened his eyes and his horizons.
"By taking a chance on this kind of internship, you've really got nothing to lose and so much invaluable experiences you can gain from doing it.
"...if you can do it while still completing your degree, it allows you to look at university studies in a much different way."
The Foundation's director of business, James Penn, says the debrief day helped the interns to integrate their internship experiences with their tertiary education and leverage it for career development.
"It's important that the interns understand the value of the time they spent in Asia. Employers rate such experiences highly and the debrief day was designed to reinforce this in the interns minds - help to recognise all the skills they acquired during their internships and market them to prospective employers."