student success story

From English Language Course to Healthcare Management.

Japanese Student

Mieko Sugaya

Diploma in Applied Business Level 7 Majoring in Healthcare Management

Student posing next to 'Be the change you want to see in the world' quote.

Meet our Japanese Healthcare Management graduate Mieko.

Mieko has had quite the journey with us, here at NZIE. She started back in 2016 doing our General English Course. Meiko came to New Zealand with zero English and struggled to meet the IELTS test requirements for education. However her determination to learn English opened up a pathway to study a more Academic approach with NZIE. After successfully completing the English Language Course she then transitioned into learning Academic English, reading and writing. This qualified her to segment nicely into our Diploma in Applied Business, which Mieko completed in July 2018 with a Major in Healthcare Management.  

We decided to sit down with Mieko and find out more about her journey. In her own words, hear first-hand her extraordinary Success Story!

First of all, tell us about your background before coming to New Zealand. 

“Before coming to New Zealand I lived in Japan with my son and had been in the Nursing industry for 13 years. I was looking for a new experience and to broaden my family’s opportunity for a better quality of life. In my home country, I already had a really good career and if I just wanted to focus on making money I could’ve stayed in Japan.”

“I was looking for more than just financial happiness, I was looking for balance and setting up my son’s future for success.” 

A good selling point of New Zealand is their approach to a healthy work/life/family balance. I loved the diversity of this country and openness to foreigners, it was a safe environment with a good education system.”

How did you find out about NZIE and why did you choose it as your place of study?

“My agent in Japan introduced some courses to me that specialised in healthcare management. I knew before coming here that I wanted to study something related to the healthcare industry, NZIE had a good pathway to help me with that.

Plus, I had visited NZIE seven months earlier, before making my decision and moving to New Zealand. I came in and met the staff and found them to be very friendly and nice. In addition, there was a school across the road from NZIE which was perfect for my son. Furthermore, another big selling point was the location, Takapuna is a very beautiful place.

I had also visited another education provider in Auckland City but found it too busy and not suitable for my little family. I had also considered Canada and Australia too before choosing New Zealand.”

What challenges did you face whilst studying at NZIE and how did you deal with them?

“I faced a few different challenges:

  1. When I first came to New Zealand and NZIE I was quite overwhelmed and felt scared. Therefore my biggest motivation to get through this first stage was my son. As he too felt scared and overwhelmed (also had no English). I wanted him to learn from me, learn to communicate and learn new cultures and new ways. I wanted him to watch me and feel like he too, can do anything. Fortunately, the school, NZIE, my friends, neighbours, locals were all supportive and helped. Everyone was so open and welcoming of overseas people and I was very much appreciative of this – it helped my son and me, a lot.

  2. The Diploma in Applied Business with a Major in Healthcare Management was quite hard and fast-paced. However, the tutors were very helpful with a kind and supportive attitude. I knew that if I wanted to improve my skills and overcome any limitations then I had to put in the hard work to get there. This gave me confidence and also built resilience.

How did your internship go?

“My internship was with a rest home in Northcote. It was perfect for me as I had a strong passion for nursing and comforting elderly people during their last stages of life. I enjoy making people’s lives happier before they die. My internship provided a great experience to add to my CV, the manager I worked for was really good at supporting NZIE interns. The workplace had friendly and kind workers as well.

Was it beneficial to where you’re at now in your career?

Upon graduating I secured a job with Geneva healthcare as a home support worker. I’d started my job hunting 3 months prior and my previous work experience in Japan also helped with this. I was really excited about the change in my career.

In Japan, they focus on medical treatment. I worked in a big hospital. Whilst the work was very rewarding it was hard and easy for medical professionals to burn out due to the lack of work-life balance. Making the switch to a career based on a clinic and visiting patients in their homes is where my passion lies. Making an impact on people’s quality of life. Not just focusing on their disease, illness or disability and finding a medical solution. I enjoy bringing comfort to them in their homes instead of a hospital. And setting them up for long term care and not just a medical solution.

What is one of the biggest lessons you learnt, coming to New Zealand, a foreign country with a new language?

“I learnt how to speak out and ask for help. Back in Japan, there’s a big cultural difference. It’s not really in our personalities to speak up and ask for help when it’s needed. People try not to burden one another, they fear being judged or being seen as weak. We are quite private people and keep things to ourselves. But in New Zealand I had to ask for help, I realised and learnt that no one knows your struggles or sacrifices so you have to ask and speak up.”

“The key to success in living in New Zealand is to be open and make connections. Don’t be too shy to ask for help or ask questions when you are unsure. Ask and you shall receive.”

What’s your best advice for someone looking to study in New Zealand?

“Everyone thinks Japan is an amazing country, I will always love my home country, but the environment is different there. People don’t want to take big risks, they’re very conservative. If I were still studying in Japan, I’d still be in the same environment, no professional development opportunities, getting bored easily and not progressing. My best advice is:

“Explore more opportunities, go outside your comfort zone, stop playing it safe and be open to travel experiences where you can really challenge yourself”

What are you doing now and what’s the plan for your future in New Zealand?

”My final goal is to get residency here and do a full circle back to nursing with my current qualifications and experience. I need to pass the nursing English test which is at a higher level and quite hard, you need really good communication skills for that here in New Zealand (that’s my next challenge!)

I’m also looking forward to raising a son who is adaptable, fearless and open-minded to new opportunities – Learning a new language and English has already meant more opportunities for my son and me so I’m really excited about that. I am happy where I am in life now. My son is thriving and doing well in school education. He struggled for the first year but he was very intrigued with the English Language. He loves New Zealand and considers it his home, as much as he does with Japan. His English has passed the ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) stage now he has the same level of English as local kids in New Zealand.”

“My aspiration is to keep on taking on challenges everywhere and anywhere!”

What was your favourite part about studying here at NZIE?

“The New Zealand education system is good because you can restart learning any time at whatever age. Thankfully I wasn’t alone at NZIE. A good point of going to school and studying here is the social side. I made friends with others who were in a similar situation to me (no English, new country). It was a good place for making friends, gaining support, learning from tutors, getting help and guidance. NZIE played a huge role in helping me to settle into New Zealand, even though there were lots of other students they had to take care of, I still felt very supported – they helped me a lot.  

We are so excited to hear that Mieko and her son have achieved their goal of a better work, life, family balance and can definitely see that her determination and bravery has already taught her son so much. It’s been a very transformative journey for Mieko – knowing that she started here without knowing a word of English to then successfully passing her Diploma in Applied Business (Majoring in Healthcare Management) and securing a job upon graduating and now working in a fulfilling role! We wish you all the best Mieko!

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Entry Criteria:

To be admitted into NZ Certificate in English Language Level 4 General, all applicants must meet the following requirements:

a) Be a speaker of English as an additional language; and

b) Hold a NZCEL Applied Level 3 [3667] qualification; or

c) Pass an NZIE entry test that meets the requirements for the CEFR B2 requirements or equivalent; and

d) Be of a minimum age of 16 years or older; and.

e) Be a New Zealand citizenship or permanent residency OR Certificate of Refugee Status and evidence of eligibility to study for the duration of enrolment.

Entry Criteria:

To be admitted into NZ Certificate in English Language Level 3 General, all applicants must meet the following requirements:

a) Be a speaker of English as an additional language; and

b) Hold a NZCEL Level 2 qualification; or

c) Pass an NZIE entry test that meets the requirements for the CEFR mid B1 requirements or equivalent; and

d) Be of a minimum age of 16 years or older; and.

e) Be a New Zealand citizen or resident; or have Certificate of Refugee Status and evidence of eligibility to study for the duration of enrolment.

Fees 2020

Student loans available through Study Link. Check if you are eligible here. 

Fees-Free Study.  

You are only eligible for Fees-Free if you haven’t previously undertaken more than 60 credits (half a year of equivalent full-time tertiary education, 0.5 EFTS) at Level 3 or above on the NZQF – New Zealand Qualifications Framework.

To check if you meet the requirements, visit the New Zealand Government’s Fees-Free website and enter your National Student Number (NSN)

If you do not have an NSN, contact your Student Support Advisor.

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