Learning to live independently
Stephanie Xie was visiting New Zealand with her family four years ago when her father suggested she consider studying here.
“We’d looked at the UK, the US and Canada, but my parents thought New Zealand would be a good choice because it was closer and safer,” says Stephanie, who is from Guangzhou in Southern China.
“My Dad thought it would be the perfect place to study because everyone in New Zealand is so down-to-earth and friendly.
Stephanie was also attracted to New Zealand by its three-year Bachelor’s degrees, and chose to study at the University of Auckland because of its strong international rankings.
Now in her final year of studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Education, Stephanie says her biggest challenge has been learning to live independently.
“When you live with your parents, you rely on them much more than you realise. I’ve had to learn how to do everything on my own, from doing my own laundry to buying utensils,” she says.
But it’s amazing how much you grow by becoming independent.
She says adjusting to studying in New Zealand has been made easier by the University of Auckland’s excellent support for international students, and by her inspiring lecturers.
Joining university clubs has helped her to make friends. Stephanie belongs to a photography club and to First Year Experience, a group that helps new students quickly integrate into campus culture.
Stephanie also volunteers as a mentor to high school students who need extra study or social support. “It’s really rewarding. We help each other out – I learn a lot from the students I mentor,” she says.
In the weekends, Stephanie enjoys going to the beach or exploring the Auckland region.
“I love the fact that in New Zealand you can drive for 40 minutes and be somewhere completely different. There’s always lots to see,” she says.
Stephanie is considering post-graduate study after she finishes her Bachelor’s degree. Her long-term goal is to work as a psychologist in New Zealand.
About the contributors
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.