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Welcome to term 2 and our new international students who joined us at the start of the term. As they settle into the new term, we encourage them to take advantage of all the resources and opportunities available to them. This includes getting to know their teachers, reaching out to the counsellors and academic advisors for support, in addition to the international team and exploring extracurricular activities that align with their interests and passions. We are excited to see all that they will accomplish this term and beyond.

This year we have Sara Jing, Kowser Ibrahim and Gabrielle Dawson as the international student leaders. They have been supporting our current and new students who have joined us this term. Below are two stories from our student leaders addressing international students at our most recent assembly.

Student’s Story: Growth and Development by Sara Jing Y13 Student leader.

Hi everyone, my name is Sara. I was born in China and came to New Zealand when I was 14 years old in 2020. Western Springs College allowed me to grow and develop my skills. I’m an international student like all of you, English is my second language so I can understand how you all feel. Anxious, uncomfortable, fear of communicating etc. I was a really outgoing kid when I was in China but unfamiliar environments bring about a stressful atmosphere and makes me quite introverted. However, I recommenced playing the piano, this made me more and more confident. To be honest before I came here, I stopped this hobby for 4 years. As you may have seen, yes, I still play with my 2 best Chinese friends Ada and Shuangzhen right now. Step out of your comfort zone does not mean you must step out of your own culture or stay away from the people who you feel the most comfortable to stay with. The easiest start is trying to communicate with your classmates, just say hi to show your kindness or a few sentences about your favourite movie, even the discussion of the questions or problems for that class! This is how Kowser and I met before, we enjoyed having discussions and helping each other with the chemistry questions in Y12 and Y13. And now we become good friends! So do trying to step out of your comfort zone as there are many chances and different ways you can communicate with others at Western Springs College, like your hobby, or sports. It truly helps! And also you can know many other New Zealand cultures from them!”

Student’s Story: Stepping out of your comfort zone by Kowser Ibrahim Y13 Student Leader Hello,

I’m Kowser Ibrahim and I’m one of your international student leaders for 2023. I’m from Afghanistan, I came to New Zealand when I was two years old with my parents. My parents were terrified to adjust to life here in New Zealand. I would like you to know that “I bow my hat to you” for adjusting in an unfamiliar new environment independently. I’m introverted and have a quiet nature like my father and I tend to be socially awkward at most times. To be honest, I think this originates from my love for books and reading. I enjoy reading during my free time. So if you enjoy reading, you can always come to me for book recommendations!

During my time at Springs I find it difficult to step out of my comfort zone sometimes. For example, last year when it was time to apply to leadership roles I was considering that I shouldn’t even think about applying for them because I thought that I wasn’t capable enough to apply for those leadership roles. I thought to myself that I should at least give it a try, believing that I won’t get the position but I was surprised. I believe that this is an example of why you should always go out of your comfort zone and take as many opportunities that you can because you’ll never know what the outcome will be, you might be surprised. One thing that I highly recommend is asking questions and trying to communicate with others because it’s an opportunity to learn and develop relationships with others. It’s an amazing way to open a door of many opportunities such as: making friends, finding something new that you can enjoy or just something that New Zealand offers.

Studetn story: Francesco Russo from Italy (Term 1 -2 experience).

I first heard about Western Springs College through my agency. They had chosen the school for me to study abroad. My first thought was I was worried that I would not be able to play the piano in a new school and new country but thankfully I was reassured that I could. Western Springs college is much bigger than my school in Italy and to be honest, there are more opportunities here than in Italy, for example, I like the fact that I can borrow expensive equipment like cameras for free. I like the school. The school offers a counselling service which I recommend to anyone who is going through a hard time especially an international student who is new to the country and is feeling anxious about school. The school’s counselling service can really help you to make you feel less stressed. Studying at Western Springs College helped me to improve my communication skills and also my English skills have improved a lot. I have enjoyed many things at this school. I usually go to the gym after school and I also joined the scouts group. My host mum is also very nice to me and we often have interesting conversations. My advice to other students who are coming to Western Springs College is to do as many things as possible as there are many different things you can do here that you can’t or may not be able to do in your own country.  In the future, I am going to be a pilot. It has been my lifelong dream job since I was a child. I hope to study engineering once I finish high school to fulfill my passion.

Student story: Ria Yu from Germany (Term 3,2022 – Term 2, 2023 experience)

I had first heard about Western Springs College through a google search with my parents. I was wanting to attend a school in Auckland and discovered that Western Springs College is the only school in Auckland that does not have a school uniform and looked very modern as it is equipped with good technology. I was afraid to not have any friends and was worried about the differences in language but soon realized once I arrived that I was not alone and the language barrier wasn’t as bad as I thought it would have been. I tried to hold as many conversations with classmates and my host family wherever possible. Even though English is not my mother tongue and feels weird sometimes, I still try to speak a lot.

The school is very big, I like the fact that there are many different course and study options. Studying at Western Springs College has allowed me to be more confident in my English speaking skills and I have also learnt a lot about New Zealand’s landscapes, environment and culture. The school has many students and staff and I have learnt that I am never alone and that there are always people around who can support you in place of your own family if you ever feel lonely. My homestay family are also very supportive and I think I am very lucky to have such a great family. My homestay mother’s name is Tracy, she is very kind and I have learned a lot whilst staying with her. I am going back to Germany at the end of this term and although I have had a great time in NZ I am also looking forward to going back home and finishing high school. My advice to any new student who is wanting to study and live in a new environment is to just try to be yourself and talk a lot even though you are not confident in speaking English as yet.


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