26 October 2023

Learning About New Business and Social Connections in New Zealand | Study With New Zealand

Ryan Chow
Business Management and Media at Auckland University of Technology (AUT)

I was raised in Canada, but I decided to study with New Zealand because it’s a well-rounded study destination with a great balance of everything I felt I needed as a student. From its pristine environment to its globally recognised education systems, New Zealand has everything a student might focus on.

I am currently a student at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT), majoring in Business Management and Media; a great combination of subjects which allow me to further develop my interests.

I found great potential in the sector I work in and have also enjoyed traits I have only found in New Zealand thus far, like its ease of doing business and launching new enterprises, as well as networking within an open-minded environment.

I found a passion for the not-for-profit sector too, launching the “New Zealand Youth Film Festival Presented by The New Zealand Herald” during my sophomore year. I found a huge variety of networks and support frameworks which were conducive to business entrepreneurship and further encouraged me to pursue turning my business into a success.

One thing which I have tried to take advantage of during my time in New Zealand are the networking opportunities which present themselves in the most unexpected ways. This is why I signed up to the “Kiwi Ambassador” programme offered by Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao.

I was pleasantly surprised when I was offered an opportunity to join several other international students on a trip to Rotorua, in the central North Island. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to meet the participants on this trip, many of whom I am now friends and keep in touch with on a regular basis.

It has been very pleasant to get to know students on similar journeys from other countries and their individual ways of looking at life from different cultural viewpoints. Perhaps being exposed to different cultures and experiences is the biggest networking opportunity as an international student.

Yamika, Gabe, Ryan and Daniela at the Redwood Forest in Rotorua

Similarly, I appreciated the opportunities to get to know more about local Māori customs, heritage, and history – not to mention also getting to enjoy Māori cuisine and learning more about the Māori way of thinking.

One of the key takeaways for me is the convergence of cultures that can be observed in a country like New Zealand. Yes, it is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean; far away from everything but there are still little bits of home available to everyone.

I found my own little bit of home at the Redwood Forest, where Californian redwoods have been planted. Although they are very small in comparison, seeing them reminded me of my visit to California when I was younger. Rich with history, we got to learn a lot about them during our “Night Lights” walk high up in the treetops.

The ‘Night Lights’ walk amongst the trees

Beyond this, other similarities are New Zealand’s climate and environment, with its gorgeous lakes. I enjoyed how laid-back locals were as well, which made the trip pleasant and absent of any stress.

The more ‘normal’ parts of the trip resonated a lot with me too. Whether it was trying New Zealand-made Gelato and Ice Cream or singing along to music in the car, I was reminded that food and music is universal. Five of us in a car all from different countries and backgrounds singing Taylor Swift and Bohemian Rhapsody at the top of our lungs was testament to this!

In between karaoke songs

If anything, it has made me want to road trip and see more of the country; not only to see things that are completely new, but also to celebrate things which are so similar.

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About the contributors
Ryan Chow
Business Management and Media at Auckland University of Technology (AUT)

Originally raised in Canada, Ryan is in New Zealand to study for a Business Management and Media at Auckland University of Technology (AUT).