18 July 2017

The difference between studying in the Philippines versus NZ

Denise Torres
Filipino Postgraduate Diploma Student

Studying at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology (formerly known as Waiariki Institute of Technology) has been an amazing journey. The decision to come to New Zealand to study for a post graduate diploma in management – health strand (level 8) – is one of the best life decisions that I made.

I chose to study at Toi Ohomai in Rotorua mainly because of its location and the facilities based on the photos found on their website. I came to New Zealand with high expectations from the campus but the experience itself proved to be so much more than what was portrayed from the photos.

Studying a postgraduate diploma

The journey to achieving my postgraduate diploma was not an easy path. The challenges were accentuated by the fact that New Zealand is a foreign country for me, the education system is very different from what I was accustomed to. Another challenge is the fact that I have been out of school for the past nine years which was a struggle in itself even without factoring age into the equation. With these challenges in mind, I started to doubt my decision and myself.

New Zealand education compared with the Philippines

The education system in New Zealand is very different from the education system in the Philippines. In the Philippines, everything you need to know to ace an examination is always provided by the teachers with enough time to study. All learning times are done in a classroom setting and the examinations are mostly written multiple choice questions, remuneration or fill in the blanks. There were very few written assessments in essay or report format. In New Zealand on the other hand, there are certain amounts of time allotted for self-directed learning. Tutors are only there to provide guidance so that the assessments remain the responsibility of the student. The assessments are mostly essays and reports with a certain number of words to be met and a marking rubric that needs to be followed to a tee. Personally, I struggled with the fact that not all online sources are accepted as a credible reference in writing your essays or reports. This is something very new to me because, in the Philippines, this was not emphasized at least during the time that I was still in school.

Friends in New Zealand

Even with these said difficulties, I managed to finish my studies with the guidance and support of the faculty and staff at Toi Ohomai. The institution welcomes international students with great warmth and acceptance. They ensure that each student finds good accommodation. They also provide seminars that cover the basic things that students need to know to help them do the assessments right. During the time that I was with Toi Ohomai I never felt like a foreigner. Rather, I felt like I was home.

Bay of Plenty Steamers Rugby Team
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About the contributors
Denise Torres
Filipino Postgraduate Diploma Student

Denise is studying for a Postgraduate Diploma in Management, Health Strand at the Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology in The Bay of Plenty. She chose to study at Toi Ohomai in Rotorua mainly because of its location and the facilities based on the photos found on their website.