5 July 2024

Life as an International Student in Wellington | Study With New Zealand

Quinn Pham
Bachelor of Commerce majoring in finance and international business at Victoria University of Wellington.

One of the most exciting things about being an international student is being able to explore a new city and everything it has to offer. This means finding the right study destination is just as important as finding the right course or education provider. Of course, everyone has different interests, but every place has something to offer.

We asked Quinn Pham from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to tell us why she chose Wellington, New Zealand as her study destination.  

Quinn has recently completed a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in finance and international business at Victoria University of Wellington. She spent the first half of her studies at Victoria University of Wellington’s faculties within the University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and has moved to Wellington New Zealand for the last half of her studies. This is all possible because of the THE UEH – VUW BCOM Joint programme which has been offered to Vietnamese students since 2002.  

Find out more about the Global Pathways available to you.

Beyond the fact that study destination for this programme is pre-determined, Quinn had other reasons for choosing Wellington, New Zealand instead of alternatives.  

"Originally my Mum told me that I should try New Zealand because it is a beautiful and peaceful country. I heard Wellington is not too crowded and not too busy, unlike where I lived in Ho Chi Minh City - I was really looking for a little bit of a change."

"Moving to New Zealand was a big step since I did not know anyone here, but I have made friends who also transferred here through the joint programme with me.  Even though it is a struggle being away from home, I have friends to share the experience with me, which makes it a little bit easier."

What does a regular day of studying look like?

I live in Mt Cook which is a 30-minute walk away from the Victoria University of Wellington business school, or a 15-minute bus ride. This means that I can take my time getting ready for the day, as it does not take long to get to campus.

I spend most of my time during the academic year at university, either in lectures, or tutorials, or even the library. Even though some of our classes are recorded, I find it more interesting to go to class. I think it is easier to concentrate when everyone around you is also studying.

I love going to the library here, it is so nice to be in and makes me want to spend time studying. There is lots of space to study, with high ceilings and so much natural light, you can easily forget that you are in the middle of the CBD. Victoria University of Wellington’s Business School is located across the road from the New Zealand Parliament Buildings, which means there are also many corporate businesses and businesspeople in the area.

What other opportunities has studying at Victoria University of Wellington provided you? 

When I am not studying myself, I also a tutor a first-year economics class, which requires some extra attention. The good thing is that it is a mathematics-focused course, which means teaching and marking is easy since there is only one right answer.  

In New Zealand, students attend tutorials alongside regular lectures and classes to supplement their learning. Tutorials are classes run by a tutor (someone who teaches in a university, polytechnic or school) for a small group of students, usually to discuss in detail a specific topic, class or lecture. A tutor is also a helpful person to turn to for advice and help related to the course they are teaching.  

Quinn is involved with DreamMakers and the Vietnamese Students’ Association in New Zealand (VSANZ), where she serves on the executive team. They are currently organising a career summit (happening soon on July 13) for Vietnamese students and recent graduates to explore the boundless possibilities of their degrees through hands-on workshops, inspiring speakers, and practical guidance.

Victoria University of Wellington also offers a unique programme called Wellington Plus which is an extracurricular service and leadership development programme. It aims to connect students with the community, provide leadership opportunities, and develop social responsibility and employability skills. Quinn has recently completed this programme thanks to all her extracurricular activities, including tutoring and volunteering.

What do you do in your free time? 

I really like hiking trails, and there are so many to try across Wellington. One of the reasons I chose Wellington, was because of the natural landscape so I have enjoyed exploring it all, especially during my summer holidays. My favourite walk so far has been the 9km Paekākāriki Escarpment Track just outside of Wellington. The walk had ocean views, farmlands and even swing bridges.  

I also like food. Since Vietnamese cuisine is still my favourite, I have enjoyed looking for foods which remind me of home. I have found a few places which serve familiar food such as banh mi and noodle soup.  

What do you not like about Wellington?  

“The wind.”  

Wellington is known as the Windy City, and it generally lives up to its name. It is a consideration for many people in deciding what activities they do. The wind also means the ocean which surrounds the city stays cold throughout the year. Even during summer, the water is very cold. 

“When I leave Wellington, the things I will miss the most are my friends and the ease of everything here. Right now, I can very easily commute across the city using public transport, or simply walk. Public transport is very reliable too, which makes things very easy. I think when I move to a bigger city, these are the things I will miss the most. “ 

To discover even more about what makes Wellington an incredible place to live and study, click here for more information.

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About the contributors
Quinn Pham
Bachelor of Commerce majoring in finance and international business at Victoria University of Wellington.

Quinn has spent the first half of her studies at Victoria University of Wellington’s faculties within the University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and has moved to Wellington New Zealand for the last half of her studies.