16 August 2018

Enjoying the Kiwi lifestyle

Linley Boniface

When Vinutha Haridhasan came to New Zealand to study, she was surprised to discover that many Kiwis left work at 5pm.

“I worked in India for three years before coming here, and the working environment was very hectic,” says Vinutha.

“You might start at 9am and work till 9pm or 10pm, six days a week. Sunday is a day off, but you’re so tired you spend most of it sleeping.

She says she’d always wanted to learn a new hobby, but never had the time in India. Now she’s about to start salsa lessons.

Vinutha came to New Zealand in March 2017 and is studying for a Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Accounting at Victoria University of Wellington. She aims to become a chartered accountant in future.

She has found the Kiwi style of learning very different to the way she studied back home.

“In India, it’s a matter of memory – if you memorise something, you pass. If you don’t understand what you’ve memorised, no-one cares,” she says.

“But in New Zealand we have group presentations, individual assignments and essays. You go at your own pace, but you’re expected to understand everything.

“It’s a good way to learn, and it will help me when I get a job because I’ll understand what I’m doing.”

Vinutha, who is from Chennai in southern India, chose to study in New Zealand after a close family friend who had been studying aviation here told her how welcoming Kiwis were.

She spent her first month in a homestay, instantly forming a close bond with her homestay family.

“My homestay family was amazing. It was one of the most beautiful months of my life, and I cried when I left,” says Vinutha.

“They’ve told me that if I ever feel homesick, I can go and see them.”

When she’s not studying, Vinutha goes to the gym, takes zumba classes or volunteers at Victoria’s fruit and vegetable co-operative. Working at the co-op has helped her meet people and make new friends, she says.

“Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community, and makes me feel that I belong.”

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About the contributors
Linley Boniface

Linley Boniface is a contract writer for Education New Zealand. She is based in Wellington, her favourite city in New Zealand. A former journalist, Linley spent a year in Montreal, Canada, as a secondary school student.