International Chinese student Amber (Shiyu) Jiang has discovered a world of opportunities studying in New Zealand.
Amber had no idea what to expect when she came to study at Queen Margaret College in Wellington in July last year.
“I came to New Zealand for more choice and opportunity,” she says.
Amber was warmly welcomed by her hosts, the McManus family, and the school community as she got to grips with living in a different country.
“At first, I was not used to living in a new country but my host family and my teachers were so nice to me.”
As soon as she arrived Amber dived headfirst into kiwi life, taking advantage of every opportunity and new experience.
One sport she discovered a passion for was rowing.
“Rowing is a tough sport – you have to have lots of energy,” Amber explains.
“But it is good for the body and the mind.”
She has participated in a number of competitions, including Karapiro Regattas and the Maadi Cup, the national secondary school rowing competition.
Amber was even named Best Novice for her determination, effort and positive attitude.
“I enjoy every minute of it. I am always telling my mother on the phone how much I love rowing,” she says.
In addition to rowing, Amber has taken on a number of sports at school including basketball, golf and badminton.
“Playing sport has helped me to meet new people, make more friends, and improve my English.”
Amber has settled well into school in New Zealand and says her favourite subjects are Physics and Chemistry.
Next year she will study the International Baccalaureate Diploma, an internationally recognised qualification only offered to girls in Wellington at Queen Margaret College.
“I would like to go to university and study medicine when I leave school,” Amber says.
Outside of school Amber has also been involved with her local community as a Police Ambassador and will join fellow international student Hae Young Bae as a programme representative at the upcoming International Student Sports Day.
Amber says one of the highlights of studying in New Zealand has been living with her host family, who she now considers an extension of her own family.
She has joined the McManus’ on family holidays to Greytown, Tauranga and the Cook Islands and will even travel with them on a trip to Australia this year.
“I am so happy to be a part of their life – they are family.”
Amber says studying in New Zealand has been a wonderful experience.
“My confidence has improved and I have become much more independent.”