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Student story

Quynh Nguyen

20 July 2023

"I believe it was one of the best decisions I have ever made..."


Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Primary)

Primary School teacher, Beckenham Te Kura o Pūroto

A passion for inspiring and educating children has led Quynh across the globe to become a primary school teacher in New Zealand.

"Teaching is not an easy job, but once you have the passion, it's half of the battle," she says. "I want to get to know children from different backgrounds such as Pākehā, Māori, Pasifika, etc, and to have the ability to change their lives."

Quynh had been teaching in Hanoi, Vietnam for a few years before deciding to further her career with more training, which lead to her UC's Primary Teaching programme in New Zealand.

"I thoroughly enjoyed what I had learned, which wasn't only about teaching. It was also about life-long learning as a teacher and as a human being, which, to me, is extremely important. It is fundamental and vital for continuously growing and being better. In short, I believe it was one of the best decisions I have ever made."

The programme's focus on New Zealand"s unique bicultural values in the classroom was a wonderful way to connect to her own roots in Vietnam.

"With an overnight trip to a marae, course content that had te reo language and tikanga Māori culture embedded in every module and so on, I could only feel and see so much connection between Māori and Vietnamese culture. It felt just like home, which gave me another reason to love staying in New Zealand."

Her degree also included placements in New Zealand schools alongside practising teachers, and careers support through events such as Principal's Day, and CV writing workshops.

Alongside the curriculum, Quynh recalls the teaching community at UC and New Zealand in general as being one of her fondest memories.

"It was so lovely to have met other teachers-to-be like me and shared our ideas and beliefs for our teaching philosophy. Everyone supported one another and was really friendly. The lecturers were super helpful and went the extra mile to ensure we were doing well with our programme," she says.

"At work, everyone in the school from the principal, deputy principal, syndicate leader, to other colleagues are super friendly, helpful, and down-to-earth. I never had to feel all by myself when dealing with a challenge, as everyone is willing to help and support one another. And we all like to have a good laugh."

Being in a new environment has also helped her personal development and sense of wellbeing.

"New Zealand may be a small country, but its magnificent nature makes even me, a person who doesn't really go out much or going on road trips, try to find any opportunity to go explore and marvel at its beauty. The South Island is magnificent with its beautiful nature and lovely people, there are just so many things to explore in such a small country, which made it easier for me to feel less homesick. I love the beautiful gardens and how easy it is to get to the beach by bus.

"Coming from a very crowded city of almost 10 million people, I have always dreamed of living where it is not too crowded but not too remote either, and Christchurch was a perfect option. I'd bet that anyone who comes to Christchurch will find something they love about this city. Kei Ōtautahi tōku kāinga ināianei | Christchurch is my home."

Now starting her New Zealand teaching career, Quynh looks back fondly on her overall learning experience and highly recommends the programme to other aspiring teachers.

"I wish I could have had more time as a student at UC. It was such a time that I would never forget," she says.

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