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Making learning work around her world

Four cities, three years, two countries and one new family member: NorthTec learner Anna Marina John makes learning work around her world.

For NorthTec learner, Anna Marina John, studying towards a New Zealand Diploma in Business online is just one of many adventures she has experienced over the past few years.

Anna moved from Chennai, India, to Hamilton with her husband in 2017. Before emigrating to New Zealand, Anna was putting her Master of Applied Psychology into practice as a school counsellor and student services coordinator.

Anna applied for a number of roles when she arrived in Hamilton but found it difficult to land a job, despite her impressive resume.

“The employers who did contact me mentioned my lack of experience in New Zealand,” she said.

When Anna and her husband moved to Dargaville, where there were even fewer jobs in her line of work, Anna decided that it was time to retrain and transition into a new career.

Anna had recently given birth to her first child, so she needed a flexible study option she could work around her family commitments.

A natural ‘people person’, Anna chose to study towards a New Zealand Diploma in Business (Human Resources Management) online via the eCampus NZ platform. This allowed her to continue her studies without interruption when she moved again – this time to South Taranaki.

Anna admits that she lacked confidence when she began studying.

“Education in India and New Zealand are very different. In India, we focus more on memorising information, but in New Zealand, it is about whether you can apply the information you’re learning. I was not very confident at the start and wondered if I would be able to cope with the transition, especially with a young baby. I began studying when my baby was four months old. Everything was new,” she said.

Anna credits the support of her online facilitators for helping her adjust to New Zealand’s approach to teaching and learning.

“All the facilitators have been very supportive. Each of them has their own unique ways of supporting learners,” she said.

Throughout her learning journey, Anna has enjoyed exploring how what she is learning can be applied in the workplace.

“The courses are teaching me about the current working environment in New Zealand. It’s not just theoretical information. Even the assignments give you that space to think and improve. This study has made me feel more confident that I’ll be able to get a job,” she said.

Anna has managed to find a routine that works for her and her child, now fourteen months old.

“A lot of people told me my baby would sleep through the night at six months, so I thought I’d get more time to study then. But the nights without sleep continue! I study mostly at night, which is how I manage,” she said.

Throughout her learning journey, Anna has found that the way the courses are structured helps her to keep up with her studies and stay motivated.

“The way the courses are designed encourages you to keep going. That, and the facilitators’ support, makes a real difference for people like me,” she said.

Anna feels that she has learned more about New Zealand through studying here.

“Studying has really helped me with my confidence. I haven’t just learned about HR, I’ve also learned about New Zealand and the bicultural perspective. To get the opportunity to study here has been really empowering. Even though I have a master’s degree, I just keep learning so much in each course,” she said.

Anna plans to finish her studies and continue to look for work in South Taranaki. Her main goal is to gain experience in New Zealand’s workforce, and she’s open to internships to kickstart her new career.

And how does she feel about her move to New Zealand?

“I’ve had a really good time here. Everyone is so friendly and helpful. Knowing that it’s so safe here has allowed me to drop my guard, and I like the relaxed lifestyle. Studying has been a really great opportunity for me.”