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Student Voice

11 December 2017



You wouldn’t believe it to meet her, but Prabhjot claims to have been a spoilt young lady back in India.

“I was a pampered kid! I was a cry baby. I used to complain about every little thing. I needed to change my personality.”

She felt a big change would expand her horizons and help her grow up, so she followed in the footsteps of her big sister and moved to New Zealand. In only six months working, living and studying here, Prabhjot has gone through a remarkable transformation. She’s mature and humble, studious and responsible.

We spoke to Prabhjot and heard about how studying in Tauranga was the best decision she ever made.

Growing up in India

Prabhjot was born and raised in Ludhiana, a city of 1.6 million, in the northern Indian state of Punjab.

“Ludhiana is a smart city, one of the biggest cities in Punjab. It’s beautiful and there are so many things to do there.”

Prabhjot, the baby of her family, loved her city and loved her life. But she was uncomfortable with how her indulgent upbringing was spoiling her. Prabhjot wanted to get outside her comfort zone, become independent and stand on her own two feet. She could have just moved cities, but instead she moved to a completely new country.

Moving in with Family in Matamata

Prabhjot’s sister and brother-in-law already lived in Matamata, with her brother-in-law commuting to Tauranga to study a business diploma at Aspire2 International.

“They are the biggest reason I moved here. I never planned to go somewhere else and leave my family, city and country behind. But having family here made me brave.”

Prabhjot admits to still being fairly pampered by her sister, who cooks all her meals and looks after the house, but she’s certainly come a long way. In Tauranga Prabhjot has to work, study and manage her finances, all of which have helped turn her into a confident and independent young woman.

Studying at Aspire 2 International

Prabhjot is studying the same nine-month business diploma as her brother-in-law at Aspire 2 International. Studying and commuting together has made the pair very close, more like siblings than in-laws.

“I love studying at Aspire2. I have lots of friends from different cultures. There’s Indians but also Filipinos, South Americans, Russians. Everyone on campus – staff, teachers, classmates – is so helpful.”

Prabhjot chose the diploma in business because of her interest in finance. She thinks it’s a great follow up to the Bachelor of Commerce she completed in India.

“In India, studying was more about cramming and memorising. I love how here it’s practical, hands-on learning.”

After completing her studies, Prabhjot hopes to find employment in Tauranga in the area of finance, data entry or accounts. But her main focus right now is excelling at her studies and gaining knowledge as well as experience a new lifestyle and culture.

Choreographing Diwali at Pyes Pa Primary School

“Indians love to dance! My school in India, encouraged students in extra-curricular activities; my favourite was dancing and singing. Dance was my escape from memorisation-style studies.”

Aware of her passion for dance, when Aspire2 campus manager Poonam Khirsariya heard about Pyes Pa Primary School’s call out for someone to choreograph a Diwali festival, she immediately thought of Prabhjot.

After only a few months in New Zealand, Prabhjot bravely taught a class-full of Kiwi kids Indian-style dancing. The kids were interested, enthusiastic and keen to learn. The experience was so positive and supportive that it was an early milestone helping Prabhjot feel at home in her new land.

“I felt really good that she chose me, she believed in me. During the three days teaching the kids to dance, they had such fun and would come up and hug me.”

Working at a Petrol Station in Matamata

Prabhjot has a job that she would never, ever have held in India: she works in customer service at a rural petrol station.

“I never thought of doing this kind of job at home; working at a fuel station is completely different from anything I’ve ever done. It’s helped me learn to interact with people of all different backgrounds.”

Her job is yet another way that life in New Zealand has pushed Prabhjot out of her comfort zone, helping her learn to stand on her own two feet. The experience has given her pride and purpose, breaking the boundaries she had set for herself.

“When I get back to India, I’ll really appreciate the person working at the gas station, the store or the café.”

No Longer Pampered

In only six months of balancing life and work in a new country, Prabhjot is a woman changed. She is mature, kind and compassionate. She enjoys her responsibilities here, and can appreciate luxuries more now that they are rarer.

“You really earn your weekend here which makes you appreciate it more.”

Loving the Tauranga Lifestyle

Despite living in the Waikato, Prabhjot loves the lifestyle in Tauranga.

“Aspire2 took us on a short trip to Mount Maunganui: the beach is so beautiful and clean. I have never been on top of a cliff before. The summit was scary, but the view was beautiful.

“I never cared about my health in India. But here, whether working or not, people take time out of their day to exercise. If you want to go for a run, you just go out and do it. It’s inspired me and encouraged me to start caring for myself and start doing yoga.”

Prabhjot’s Advice for International Students

“If you’re coming here to pursue studies, you’re making the right decision. It’s a beautiful country, everyone is so friendly, the country is beautiful and clean, people are supportive.

Everyone is so sweet here, if they don’t know you they’ll still start interacting with you. It’s not as hard to shift from my country as I thought it would be. I have gained so much knowledge coming here and it’s really enhanced my personality.”

Want to learn more about studying in tauranga?


Join us on Facebook and contact Regional Relationship Manager Melissa Gillingham for more information:

Melissa Gillingham

 Regional Relationship Manager

 Education Tauranga

 Tel: +64 7 571 1401 ext. 707 | Mob: +64 21 724 272    
 Address: Private Bag 13057, Tauranga 3141, New Zealand  
 Email me