We had the pleasure of assisting Sara, in July 2014. She had approached Silver Fern Immigration at the recommendation of her work colleague - a former client of ours. Unlike, most of our clients, Sara had actually grown up in New Zealand. She attended secondary/high school in New Zealand as an 'exchange/international student', and eventually went on to complete her Bachelor of Education at the University of Auckland. Sara now works as an Early Childhood Education Teacher in the Auckland suburb of Pakuranga. We are very pleased to say that Sara was granted her Resident Visa in December 2014 a few days before Christmas and - just four months after we submitted her application. We caught up with Sara a couple of weeks ago to gain some more insight into her background and thoughts on New Zealand.
What did you love/enjoy the most about studying at Auckland University?
Especially with Bachelor of Education, the classes are quite small where you have the time to talk to the lecturer one on one rather than being in a big lecture room, writing things down off powerpoint. We were also provided with lots of hands on experience - building, arts, trips etc. which all came in handy when I joined the workforce. Simply everything we were learning at university linked and gave me a guidance of what I need to expect and what is expected of me as a teacher.
What do love/enjoy the most about your job as an Early Childhood Teacher?
I personally believe that you cannot be an Early Childhood Education teacher just for the money. You got to love them with your heart and they become part of your life just like how you become part of their lives and that is what I love the most about being a teacher. That there is love :)
What have you found challenging about growing up in New Zealand?
Well, the challenges changed from time to time but first of all, I just want to say there will always be ups and downs whether you're away from home! (That's what I used to think every time I was going through a hard time!)
But, the first challenge as soon as I got to NZ was of course the language barrier as I did not speak any English; and the discrimination. However, now I think of it I'm not quite sure if it was actually discrimination or a normal thing for 14 year old girls to not to talk to another 14 year old who cannot speak their language at all!
Towards the end of high school, cultural challenges were a little struggle for me because although I had no longer any trouble communicating with others in English there was always something that I just could not understand; and those things were something as little as 'How do people get full after having a bowl of milk and cereals for breakfast?’ (and that's probably because I grew up eating a very carby meal like rice) or 'Why do all the shops close even before 6?' or sometimes…'Why do people say hi to strangers on the street?’ But these things I believe will come to you naturally as you stay longer and start making KIWI friends!
Lastly, and probably the biggest challenge, which I'm pretty sure all Silver Fern clients are familiar with, was to finding a job without NZ residency! I understand that the citizens of NZ may come as priorities but it really frustrated me whenever I was declined from a job interview just because I wasn't a resident…And I really do feel for all of you who have just graduated or moved to NZ but like people say, dreams come true you just have to show them that you got this!
Where do you see New Zealand heading in the future in terms of education (at early childhood, primary, secondary and tertiary level)? Do you think NZ offers a good quality education?
The education system in New Zealand is very child-centred and it is one of the strongest advantages of it. Children/students are given the freedom to learn at their own pace and to express and create their desires. Before we see each child as A,B,C or FAIL we all first need to stop and think - what education really is, and who is it for. The New Zealand education system takes all of these factors in to consideration. And therefore, I strongly believe that there will be move towards powerful and meaningful learning.
What are your plans for the future?
I would love to go back to university at some stage and do further studies on teaching for children with special needs, as well as for those who have just migrated to the country; and need the emotional and academic support. This is a plan which I haven't yet quite figured out yet, but I would like to have my own family here and my own children. One day, when I meet the right one :)