31 August 2016

Realising my potential by studying in New Zealand

Kiana
Vietnamese high school student.

Kiana, from Viet Nam, shares her experience of studying at Hillcrest High School, Hamilton.

At the age of 9 years I packed my suitcase, and came to New Zealand by myself for the first time. The trip was to visit my sister and to get a taste of New Zealand.

After getting off the long flight, I was greeted by my sister and her ex-host family – who are now our friends and like our second family. The visit lasted three months before I had to return to my schooling in Vietnam. Every day after that, I made it my mission to convince my mum to let me come back but this time, permanently.

It finally happened when I was 13 and I came back and started my high school education. I started in the South Island but decided to move up to Hamilton to live with my sister, who had a job at Fonterra.

Before coming here, I had no idea what I was interested in. I thought that I would probably be an accountant like my sister. However, thanks to my programming teacher, Mrs Baker, and everyone else at Hillcrest, I realised that what I really wanted to be was a computer programmer.

At school I also participated in university programmes, got into community youth groups like Raise Up, tutored other students and sports. I even learnt about cricket, becoming cricket mad, just like all other New Zealanders, after witnessing the Black Cap’s breathtaking cricket performances.

And finally, my sister told me to warn you all about the ice creams, they are dangerous. So delicious, you will keep eating them!

At school I also participated in university programmes, got into community youth groups like Raise Up, tutored other students and sports. I even learnt about cricket, becoming cricket mad, just like all other New Zealanders, after witnessing the Black Cap’s breathtaking cricket performances.

And finally, my sister told me to warn you all about the ice creams, they are dangerous. So delicious, you will keep eating them!

Kiana has now graduated from Hillcrest High School with an excellent academic record. She gained national qualifications, NCEA Level One, Two and Three with Excellence Endorsements and is now a full-time student at the University of Waikato. She is also working part-time at ‘Gallagher’, a prestigious, global company with a Head Office in Hamilton.

Following on from the regional and national scholarships Kiana has been awarded, she has also received a Google scholarship (Junior Anita Borg Scholarship). Kiana hopes to gain an internship with Google. She is still keeping active in sport and is involved in ‘Girls Inc’, a group promoting Computer Science to female secondary school students.

Kiana feels continuing at university has opened up many opportunities and possibilities for her. She believes anything is possible, as long as she is willing to work for it. Kiana has shown by her accomplishments to date that she is definitely prepared to work at an extremely high level and an exciting future is ahead.

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About the contributors
Kiana
Vietnamese high school student.

Kiana, from Viet Nam, shares her experience of studying at Hillcrest High School, Hamilton.