My story of being an international student ambassador
Hi, my name is Neville and I am from India. At the time of applying to study in New Zealand, I was working as a counsellor in my hometown – Goa. One thing that I remember at the time was having a lot of questions: what is life in NZ like, what are the people like, is it easy to find part-time work? The list was endless.
Websites and university publications could only provide me with so much information. In fact, the questions I had were best answered by people who had actually lived in New Zealand and had first hand experience of living and studying there. I was fortunate enough to find some kind people who were either friends of friends or employees at New Zealand institutions. They were really helpful in providing me with the information that I needed.
So, after I arrived in Christchurch, I was really keen to find a role where I could not only help by sharing information with prospective students but where I could also help new students settle in a new country and city.
I was extremely lucky to find such an opportunity through Christchurch Educated. When I arrived in New Zealand in 2014 Christchurch Educated had just started their first international student ambassador programme. There was no way that I could not apply to be a part of it, so I did and was delighted to be taken on board.
Christchurch Educated also works with institutions such as the University of Canterbury, Lincoln University, UCIC and ARA where we run social events for international students at various times throughout the year. Additionally, we put on our own events like movie nights, an international culture show and games. These events help international students meet new people and make friends.
"But the highlight for me is that through Christchurch Educated I have found many of my best friends for life."
As ambassadors, we meet and greet new students as they arrive at the airport. We also visit secondary and tertiary institutions at the start of the academic year to welcome international students and give orientations on life in Christchurch and the opportunities available through Christchurch Educated.
"Being an ambassador for Christchurch Educated has given me the perfect opportunity to connect with and to help international students in Christchurch."
Being a student ambassador had enriched my time here in Christchurch by allowing me to share my knowledge of living and studying abroad with other students. I have also gained invaluable experience in event management. But the highlight for me is that through Christchurch Educated I have found many of my best friends for life. Through Christchurch Educated I have found my sense of connection and belonging to the wonderful garden city called Christchurch.
About the contributors
Neville Rodrigues is from India and is studying towards a PhD in Health Sciences at the University of Canterbury. His area of study is counselling for people who have refugee backgrounds. Prior to coming to New Zealand Neville worked as a student mentor and counsellor. Neville's favourite place is Akaroa, “nothing beats sipping some French coffee and taking a walk on the harbour on a sunny or rainy day.”