10 October 2019

What Made Studying in New Zealand Different to Japan | Study With New Zealand

Mikuru Oka
Japanese high school student

I left high school in Japan to come and study in New Zealand at the age of 17 to help improve my English and to find out what I was interested in.

I left high school in Japan to come and study in New Zealand at the age of 17 to help improve my English and to find out what I was interested in.

Practical and experiential study

One of the advantages of studying at a New Zealand high school is the wide range of subjects you can take. Once you achieve standards in mathematical and literacy skills, you can study whatever you want based on your interests. This has made me curious and motivated to study.

Many high school students probably think that what we learn in high school classes will never be useful in real life just as I did before coming here. However, it is not the case in New Zealand as you will find that what you learn in class is much more interesting and inspiring because the style of learning is practical and experiential.

For example, in geography the class visited Franz Josef Glacier and witnessed the impact of cultural and natural environments on the glacier and on the life of people in the area. In mathematics, we learnt to not only memorise equations but we also learnt how to apply them to a computer programme in a work situation.

These ways of learning have allowed me to see how what we learn in class can be used in real life situations.

Support and asking for help

Studying in English has been challenging and required me to study a lot harder than my other classmates. I couldn't have completed my two and a half years of study without the support of the people who helped me.

Teachers at AGHS always answered my questions kindly and supported me to gain academic achievement – I achieved NCEA level two and three with excellence endorsements. My amazing friends have made my life in New Zealand more exciting and created lots of lifelong memories. The International Director and the Homestay Coordinators at school always cheered me up and put me in a positive mindset, which helped me to take chances and overcome challenges.

For future international students, make sure you ask for help if you need it and express what you think and feel. There are people there to help you but make sure you appreciate and respect them!

Diverse and multi-cultural

New Zealand is the small country with less people than Japan where I am from, but it is filled with exciting and amazing opportunities. Being an ambassador for Christchurch Educated International Student Association was one of those opportunities that I was able to experience.

As an ambassador, I got to meet people from all over the world. Through the association’s activities, I discovered why diversity benefits us all and how different cultures and values can coexist. Diversity allows us to have broader viewpoints and make unbiased judgments – many of the frictions which occur between different cultures and values can be eliminated through discussion.

My experience at Christchurch Educated has influenced my decision to study political science and economics at university in Japan with a focus on immigration and how people from different cultures can coexist.

My ‘choice’ decision!

When I left high school in Japan to come to New Zealand I was only one year away from finishing. It may have been a little bit unusual but now I can confidentially say that my decision was ‘choice’ (a New Zealand word for excellent)! Now I can be very proud of myself and of what I have learnt by deciding to study in New Zealand.

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About the contributors
Mikuru Oka
Japanese high school student

Mikuru Oka came to Christchurch, New Zealand in July 2014 to study at Avonside Girls’ High School. She will be graduating from the high school this year and going back to Japan to study political science and economics.