FEEDBACK FROM YURI FROM MOSCOW
One day in 2015 I strongly felt that I need to change my usual environment somehow, but wanted to do it in a different way rather than an ordinary short-term tourist trip. I always wanted to experience the life in another country by living and working there for a year or more. And I chose New Zealand as such country.
By that time, I already had a bachelor degree in Information Technologies and enough work experience as software developer in Moscow. But despite that, all my tries to find a job in New Zealand, not being in the country, had not lead to success.
One of my acquaintance, who by that time already moved to New Zealand by Silver Fern visa, told me that there is an interesting and just started project called Kiwi Education, formed by his friend Denis Vlasin. I decided to contact Denis and we agreed to meet at an exhibition about international education hold in Moscow at that time where Kiwi Education was represented. I met Anna Solodkova and Denis there. They told me briefly about life in New Zealand and advised some options for immigration specific for my case. After that meeting, I decided for myself that I want to try study in New Zealand on some graduation program with level 7 or 8 for one year. After successful graduation, it was possible to acquire a work visa and come to the country either with an open work visa or sponsored by an employer.
Unfortunately, I had no options to choose among popular schools to apply for in Auckland. The main reason was low IELTS writing score (5.5) that I had achieved with great efforts. I found some appropriate educational programs with level 7 in such institutes as WelTec in Wellington, Waiariki Institute of technologies in Rotorua and Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) in Nelson. Level 8 courses were the unachievable aim for me at that time. I thought the higher level of the program the more chances to find a respectful work after graduation. Luckily, as I realised later, it does not matter.
NMIT was standing out from the list of available institutes for me. Firstly, Nelson is the sunniest city in New Zealand and it is geographically located in the middle of the country. Secondly, I liked available courses and their description and there are studying many domestic students in contrast with Auckland and other big cities where a huge number of international students come from China and India. And the last reason, NMIT offers an internship in local IT company for 2 months after successful graduation. The only reason I had not realized is that Nelson is not a city where IT business is thriving. But looking ahead, there are exceptions from this rule.
OPINION ABOUT STUDY
Not having an idea about how educational process is organized in other developed countries before, I was pleasantly surprised. The main difference with Russian education is that students are constantly involved in the process, but not only during the end of each session Each course is divided into several milestones with specifying deliverables which should be done and attached to report. In my opinion, this process helps to prepare students to work efficiently right after graduation. Some courses were very familiar to me, but others helped me to fill gaps in my knowledge. For instance, I liked one course very much, which was about designing enterprise level databases, interesting and useful. But in contrast with that, there was not enough practical courses related with developing mobile applications. In overall, I am quite happy with my study at NMIT.
I would like to pay attention to accommodation options. I had decided at once that for me is better to live in New Zealand family – so called homestay. It may seem expensive in comparison to renting a room at the campus, but there are more benefits eventually.
Firstly, it’s a good language practice – you will get a good understanding of the country and life from standpoint of one specific family.
Secondly, you will find more time for studying, which otherwise would be spent on cleaning, washing, shopping and preparing food.
And finally, your homestay family will constantly care of you and will offer you options for your leisure time. I think I was very lucky because I had been living in a family of a former professional chef with Irish roots! Each day he tried to indulge students with new delicious dinner. Each birthday was accompanied by meal which I can describe as a feast with desserts and homemade beer.
LEISURE FOR STUDENTS
Unfortunately, I had known late that institute has a special department that takes care of students, which called Student Association. They provide free lunches for special occasions and what is more valuable organize weekend sightseeing tours. And it’s not only hiking trips, but rafting and kayaking as well. This is all a good opportunity to meet people from different cultures and enjoy beauty of NZ wildland.
OPINION ABOUT COUNTRY
I will not be original if I say that New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries. What I most like about the country is a combination of mild climate, sea, mountains and a lot of ways to explore this mysterious environment. I am very excited the fact that during the winter time you can enjoy many blooming plants outside, and what is more surprising is that flowers grow not only on the ground and bushes but on the trees as well.
JOB FOR STUDENTS
Students can work 20 hours per week and 40 hours during term breaks. Many students as usually apply for work as baristas, waiters, shop sellers, etc. Although it might be a good experience and a way to earn extra money, it is important to not overestimate one’s strength. I already had a work experience and tried to find a job in my field, but it was not easy because of lack of appropriate job vacancies in Nelson.
I am writing this review two months later after graduation. I have successfully achieved my graduation diploma and passed IELTS exam. Probably it will be useful to apply for residency later. I also found a job during my second semester of study. One of my tutors introduced me to the owner of local IT company and after graduation, my boss offered me a job contract. So, I am back at Nelson again and working already. I enjoy springtime and awaiting sunny summer.
In this section, I put parting wishes related with my whole review.
- Try to not choose too many subjects for each term, otherwise, you might be overwhelmed by new information and homework. During the first term, I signed up for four subjects and it was very hard for me. In addition, I had a problem in comprehending language at the beginning. Domestic students use slang a lot and speak very fast. Fortunately, teachers tried to use plain English and speak slowly for international students’ sake
- The life in New Zealand is expensive. I can compare prices in Nelson with Moscow level, but Nelson is a provincial city, not a megapolis. Fortunately, there is a flue market on Saturday where you can buy almost everything including farm products and much cheaper than in shops.
- Be careful with summer sun and don’t forget to renew your sunscreen lotion frequently, especially If you have moles. At the beginning, I did not care too much about sunscreen and part of my moles get darker, but fortunately, everything worked out.
- In November 2016 I first time experienced a strong earthquake with magnitude 7.5. Fortunately, there were not many people affected, but the coastal road near Kaikoura where heavy damaged and were under reconstruction for a long time.
- Local people, which are often called Kiwi, are very sociable. If you have an introverted mindset or not sociable enough, don’t be surprised if completely unknown people greeting you or start casual conversation in public places.
I would like to express my gratitude to Denis Vlasin, Anna Solodkova, and Evgeny Savelev. You helped me a lot with the decision to start this journey. I am very grateful for your advice, patience and empathy! I wish your team great success and keep further helping people to achieve their dreams on the way to the marvellous New Zealand!