Ara Institute of Canterbury’s reputation as arguably the best place to study nursing in New Zealand attracts many international students. One of them is Jordan Zheng who’s now in the third year of a Bachelor of Nursing degree.
Jordan previously studied undergraduate nursing in China but says current nursing education there lags significantly behind Western countries. “So I made up my mind to study nursing overseas. A lot of people recommended Ara to me. They said Ara is open and tolerant, vibrant and world-class, and its graduates are sought after by employers.”
Jordan discovered early in her studies that the learning style at Ara is very different to what she was familiar with in China. “In China, most of the time is spent with the tutor talking at the front of the class with the students learning passively. Here the style is self-motivated. We have learning objectives, but I decide what I want to learn and how. Tutors here care more about our ability to learn and how we solve problems, rather than how much knowledge we can memorise. Pure theory doesn’t make a good nurse – subject-based experience does.”
Now in the final year of her degree, Jordan is feeling well prepared for a career in nursing. “Ara ensures you get real-world experience by offering massive workplace training opportunities, especially clinical placements. These make sure you’re work-ready when you graduate, with skills and knowledge, and most importantly, valuable industry connections.”
These hands-on learning opportunities have been a highlight for Jordan. “You get lots of variety here,” she says. “In China you would just get one placement in the public hospital, but here we’ve had a different placement each semester, based on what the focus was that semester.”
Throughout her studies, Jordan has been well supported by staff and tutors at Ara. She says the low student-to tutor ratio means she’s been able to get all the support she needs from her tutors. “When I have questions, I just email the tutor and they always respond. They’re resourceful and always support me, or refer me to someone who can.”
Now that she’s nearing the final semester of her studies, Jordan is looking ahead to working in Christchurch. “I love this city and the people here so much. Winter isn’t as cold as imagined and the city is always beautiful. I love the lifestyle and environment and I’ve had a wonderful time studying here.”