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The NCEA exams started for our senior students this week following last week’s busy schedule with the farewell dinner and the prize giving ceremonies.

At the farewell dinner, our Year 13 students and the other leavers who are returning to their home countries gathered at a local Chinese restaurant.  They enjoyed sharing their memories at Western Springs College and their future plans over the scrumptious Chinese dinner and the cakes experiencing a bit of Kiwi Christmas such as Christmas crackers, candy canes, etc.



One of our Year 13 international students, Marvin Xu from China, has been at Western Springs College for three and a half years.  He shares his memories at Western Springs College below.

Marvin Xu (Year 13) from China

“Western Springs College as a school helped me develop the best of me.  We are supported and encouraged to find our best of ourselves even through a lot of small tiny things in our daily life.  For example, I was awarded the International Kiwi Award when I started at Western Springs College.  The impact of the acknowledgement finally brought to me was actually huge.  I started to be a more passionate learner.  I also became keen to try everything new around me including making new friends and becoming an Atea House Student Leader.  As the leader, I shared what I had learned and helped other students.”

At the prize giving ceremonies, quite a few international students were awarded for their hard work in learning and their effort in challenging new things beyond their comfort zones.  Here are the stories by some of our prize winners.

Yuki Takagi (Year 12) from Japan – The winner of the International Student’s Award for all-round application and achievement (Special Prize), Outstanding Academic Achievement in Advanced Mathematics, Chemistry and in English Language Intermediate and Outstanding Application in General Science and in Food Technology

“I came to Western Springs College at the beginning of this year.  I like the school very much. 

The biggest challenge I have had since I came to NZ is making friends.  At first, there was no one I could talk to in class and I didn’t really have friends who are local students.  I tried to talk to other students, but it was very hard to get into groups of students who were already very close with each other, and my English was not good.  However, I didn’t give up talking to them.  I invited them to hang out with me on weekends or during holidays.  It helped me to learn the local cultures and to be a more confident and happier person.  Now, I have many friends who are both international and local students.

There are so many things that I like about Western Springs College.  Firstly, the school has great facilities and new modern buildings.  I like the new gym which I used many times for my PE class.  I also like the couches placed everywhere in the new building.  I sat on one every day during break times.  Secondly, the teachers and students are very kind and helped me a lot.  I could also receive excellent support from the international office.  Thirdly, we have the opportunities to play various sports.  I played football in the school team and it gave me the unforgettable memories and friends.  Lastly, I like how we learned in class.   It was student oriented.  We were given works to do and could ask questions if we got stuck on something.”

Jason Hoang Quan Vu (Year 13) from Vietnam – The winner of the International Student Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement (Special Prize)

“I have been at Western Springs College for two and a half years, and am finishing my Year 13 now.  I am planning to study Architecture at a university in New Zealand.  Western Springs College has kept helping me with becoming an even better person.

At Year 12, I was awarded for being a student with my full passion and positive attitude in the learning environment.  This year, I was awarded for the overall academic excellence.  All these acknowledgements are so inspiring.  I enjoy learning anything new in class as well as in our daily life such as art, design, people, cultures, nature and everything.

At Western Springs College, we learned not only the theories but also the practical sides.  For my Graphic Design class, I designed a pavilion coffee shop.  I designed each of the little pieces and printed them out by the school’s big 3D printer.  When I designed it, I had to consider all the possibilities for a good coffee shop business such as the location, the attractions and entertainments around the area and the weather factors including the sunlight direction, the winds and rain during the rain period, or even the shadows of the trees, the falling leaves, and so on.  I got a lot of support from my teachers to be a creative and professional designer.

I think I selected the right school for myself.  The teachers are professional and kind, and the students are lovely, friendly and always ready to help others.  The international student office also gave me extraordinary support.  I think this is why Western Springs College is one of the best schools in New Zealand.”

The pavilion coffee shop designed by Jason

Ririka Iida (Year 13) from Japan – The winner of Outstanding Academic Achievement in Advanced English Language and Outstanding Application in Health Education

“I enjoy my life at Western Springs College. I love the school because we celebrate our diversities. We respect our personal values, like what we think, what we like and what we want. They let us be the person we want to be.  We don’t have any school uniforms.   We have only a few school rules such as no gums in school.  And our classroom has no walls.  It is totally different from schools in Japan, but I truly appreciate these Western Springs College style because it helped me to develop my independence and recognize my values such as my roots. 

 I was taking Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, Health and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), and I achieved high in all these subjects. I had the freedom of choosing subjects I want to learn and there are lots of unique options available at Western Springs College.  But I choose these traditional subjects because I want to be a researcher in the field of chemistry, and I believe it was a right decision.  The teachers at Western Springs College are lovely and fascinating. They always tried to let us demonstrate our best performances.  Every single class was awesome.  We had plenty of opportunities to discuss with classmates and express my thinking in our own words.  It was really helpful to improve my understanding.  I acquired a lot of things other than English.  Of course, I acquired academic knowledge which is crucial for my future careers, but I also developed something important.  It is pretty hard to express what is ‘something’, but I believe it is a thing that would play a huge role in my future career and enable me to choose the best option. 

I have become more independent.  I am proud of myself.  I know who I am and how much potential I have.  These are what I learned at Western Springs College other than English.”

Ririka is on the right

At last but not least, two of our International Student Leaders received awards for their hard work in supporting our international students and the international department throughout this challenging year.  Here are a few words from our outstanding leaders.

Lilianne Cave (Year 13) from New Zealand – The winner of the Outstanding International Student Leader Awards (Special Prize)

“Over the years at Western Springs College, I met many international students and became close with a few of them. This motivated me to want to be an international leader as I learnt a lot about their cultures and their countries. I also saw how it can be difficult being a new student in a school where you do not speak the same language as most students. With this in my mind, I was trying to help other new students who might have the same struggles as the past international students.

Over my time as an international leader, I have really enjoyed getting to know many of the students. Although the experience was cut short for many students due to Covid-19, I know that they have had an amazing time here at Western Springs College and it has been awesome getting to know them.  It has been 100% worth the work and effort to meet so many new people and create new connections.“

Hugo Kelliher (Year 13) from New Zealand – The winner of the Outstanding International Student Leader Awards (Special Prize)

“I become an international leader because I wanted to share my experiences and help international students.  On my first day as an international leader, I showed up to school feeling pretty nervous. I walked into a class of 50 international students who had just come in from overseas. On this day I talked, joked and laughed with a lot of these students. I think the rest of my year can be described by this first day. At the O-week, movie night, online meets during lockdown, I had a blast talking, joking and laughing with them. I had a lot of talking to the agents and finding more out about some of the international students and where they came from. As a leader, I enjoyed doing my work. I met a bunch of interesting people. “

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