A local 23-year-old has touched back down in Hawke's Bay after a high-flying year away working as an intern for Air New Zealand at Los Angeles International Airport.
EIT Diploma in Tourism and Travel graduate Danielle Randell, 23, was one of eight selected for the American scholarship, after a rigorous application process.
"We flew over as a group in a 777-300, which was so new it had only about its third flight," she said. "In my job, I learned a lot about different passenger aircraft."
Her role encompassed "pretty much everything" associated with check-in at one of the world's busiest airports. Dealing with many nationalities, she helped passengers with their luggage, directed them to connecting flights and shuttles, boarded them on flights and ensured they found in the right seats.
With her fellow interns, she was housed in a hostel about half an hour's commute from the airport.
During her time away from Napier, where she grew up, Danielle managed to see other parts of the US. A favourite was Las Vegas, which she visited three times with different friends.
"It's just like the movies. The hotels are amazing and I loved the lights at night. It's like an adults' playground, and it really does never sleep," Danielle said.
She also enjoyed San Diego and San Francisco, coastal cities where she found she could walk just about everywhere. At the end of her stint, her fiance Ash Fritz travelled from Napier to meet her and the couple holidayed in Hawaii before returning.
She is now working for Air NZ at the Hawke's Bay Airport.
Danielle said her diploma studies also gave her the grounding she needed in the travel software used by Air New Zealand flight bookings.