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Living and studying in a foreign country as a teenager is a challenging but valuable experience. It can be more challenging than usual when students are faced with the pandemic. Asal Ghaderi, our Year 11 student from the United Arab Emirates, came to NZ four years ago and lives with her father and sister’s family.  She shared her story about her life as a Western Springs College student at the time of the pandemic.

Asal Ghaderi (Year 11 student from the United Arab Emirates)

I came to NZ in 2018. Among all the English speaking countries, my sister highly recommended NZ because she lives in NZ and loves this country. She said that NZ provides excellent education for children and that I would have more opportunities here.

I was studying in Dubai before I came here. The schools were very strict there. We needed to prepare for a lot of exams, and I then learnt how to be an independent learner. So learning at Western Springs College seems more flexible, easy and not too challenging.

I have been interested in the medical area since I was ten years old. When the whole world is dealing with the pandemic, I become even more determined to work as a medical professional in the future.

Talking about my personal experiences to deal with the Covid-19 challenges, I was very worried and scared at the beginning because it is a new and strong virus, and I could not see my friends here and family overseas in person. But schooling did keep me busy and I have learnt a lot. Actually, I learnt more than normal during the lockdown when I had to attend the online classes and work more independently. Time management is important, and I learnt to plan my time well and pace myself to do different subjects and homework.

The recent challenge for me and my family was that my nephew got a Covid-19 infection at his primary school. Then all of my family members became sick. It took about three days for me and the others to get better and recovered. But my nephew was sick for over a week because he was not vaccinated.

I could have attended another school that is close to where we live, but I have found Western Springs College better in every way – including the subjects offered, the culture, the friends, the teachers and the overall teaching.


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