Kelsen Findlay remembers the sense of awe he and classmates had at the start of their degree that one of their peers had scored an internship at Saatchi & Saatchi, Auckland.

Now, the 21-year-old, who has just completed his studies in graphic design, is headed to Manhattan for work experience at the advertising firm's New York offices.

"It's ridiculous," he said. "It's pretty surreal ... I'd quite like to spend a couple of years overseas, and this is a step into that, to bring back some experience to New Zealand and change the way I think about what I can do."

He is one of nine Auckland University of Technology students who have been awarded a new set of scholarships for US work experience.


The interNZ scholarships provide three months' work experience inside a global organisation based in New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco.

Rebekah Smith, 20, is considering a career producing music videos after majoring in video production - and is now off to Los Angeles to work at Paramount Recording Studios.

Losi Sa'uLilo, 25, will be in New York in time to see the New Year's Eve Ball drop at Times Square, and working at Play Rugby USA.

After studying sport and recreation, she will combine rugby with sports education, health, academic and community development.

Other recipients will head to The B Team, Kiwi Landing Pad, Red Antler, Public Restaurant, Zolfo Cooper and Westpac Americas.

AUT vice chancellor Derek McCormack said the aim was to extend the programme to other countries. The first round of funding was raised at the Al Gore, Global Leaders dinner in 2012.