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Follow the journey of Leo, embarking on an unknown journey as an international student in New Zealand

Hong Kong is the place where Leo’s story begins. A 19-year-old teenager, who wants to explore the world, challenge himself and face his fears in a foreign country.

An opportunity beckons

After the final school year examination, Leo became a lifeguard in private swimming pools. Whilst waiting for this high school exam results, he thought about his future. He thought he didn’t like studying that much, and “was not one of those A grade students who knew career that they wished to follow.” He felt unsure of his life purpose and destination. He saw many of his friends settled in their chosen career whilst he was panicked for the future.

He started to talking with his parents and friends and the best piece of advice from them was: “If you never go out, you never know how big the world is. If you decided to explore the world, leaving the country will not be the scariest; the hardest part is saying goodbyes. Just follow your feeling, and if you feel this is the right path, go for it. You are the master of your own journey.” 

After the conversation, a seed was planted in his mind about the great idea of overseas study. Leo started to realize there could be more opportunities outside of Hong Kong. At the right time in his life, Leo attended an expo about international education, hosted by IDP.

Exploring international education options 

The education consultants at the expo warmly welcomed him and enthusiastically showed him the opportunities of studying in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Ireland. There were so many universities, courses, and scholarships that he could choose. For each study country, there were consultants to explain further, sharing their expertise and personal experiences. They came from similar backgrounds, were also international students and Leo had been able to make a strong connection and feel their empathy for his journey.

Leo mentioned that “New Zealand was one of the most attractive international education locations because of its beautiful an unique natural environment.

There were a lot of outdoor activities that he had never tried before, like, bungy jumping, caving, skydiving, jet boating, and ziplining! The consultants explained in detail about the regional differences in Auckland, Waikato, Christchurch, or Tauranga. Each region had its own specialities that could charm potential students.  For Leo, he wanted to go to a place that allowed him to focus on study as well as exploring a natural environment.   

He chose Waikato and enjoyed having his own car, driving around on weekends, visiting the spectacular regions like the Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, and Auckland.  For students who are excited about city life in another country, Auckland is a fantastic option and has many benefits too.  

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Because Leo’s result from the final exams was not ideal, IDP had referred him to the IDP IELTS training, helping him to improve his English. This is another pathway that can help applicants to achieve their desired destinations. At last, the University of Waikato had offered him the Bachelor of Management Degree, and Leo’s mind opened to the exciting, global business world. After receiving the university offer, it took roughly 2 months for Leo to apply for his visa. And his journey had begun in New Zealand.

Where is Leo now?

We caught up with Leo recently, he graduated with flying colours from his Bachelor of Management degree at Waikato and has been working in Spark New Zealand as a Unify Frontline Sale Representative. He is learning quickly different skill sets from multiple customer service touchpoints, like retail, call centre, live chat, & in-home setup.


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His proudest moment during studying in New Zealand was attending different competitions such as the New Zealand Start-up Boot Camp, and the 44th Waikato Management School Case Competition. He highlighted if you have a goal in mind, you should go for it and make it come true. 

In our conversation, Leo described New Zealand as the place where the angels lived. His most surprising moment in New Zealand was the first step out of Auckland airport. He was shocked by the beautiful natural environment that he had experienced. The combination of the mountain, the lake, and the sky in New Zealand looked like an artist’s painting. He could not believe his eyes! 

His trip to Queenstown was one of the most memorable experiences that he has ever had. The fresh air and natural environment were another level of beauty in New Zealand.

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His advice to you if you are thinking about international education, is to go for it! Have an appointment for free with IDP and learn more about this exciting experience of growing personally and professionally as an international student.

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