Jae Hong Park

International student Jae Hong Park

Jae Hong Park had always thought of New Zealand as "heaven on earth" so he jumped at the chance to study in Christchurch when his agency in Korea recommended the food and hospitality school at CPIT (now Ara Institute of Canterbury).

Before starting his cookery programme, Jae took a foundation course in English at CPIT. "I have to be proficient in English so I can communicate with colleagues and customers in the workplace."

Jae says his course, which includes classes in hospitality and business communication "is helping me adapt to New Zealand more smoothly".

One of the things that has surprised Jae is how students and tutors here consider each other equals.

"There are no barriers between teachers and students," he says. "Students address their tutors by their first name, which at first seemed rude but speaking without honorifics isn't impolite in New Zealand, it's normal. Now that I'm used to it, it's encouraged me to speak out confidently whenever I want."

Jae also likes the teaching style here. "The tutors always smile and they give us enough time to talk with other students which makes the class more active. Students feel more comfortable and positive."

Jae has advice for other international students coming here. "Don't be shy. Approach your classmates first, it can make them feel relaxed and comfortable. Participate in activities as much as you can. It's a chance not only to meet other students but also to experience things you can't learn in a class or in other cultures."

Read more of our student stories.