Looking back on life in Wellington

Looking back on life in Wellington

International Student Kate Nguyen moved to Wellington from Vietnam in 2019, embarking on an academic journey away from home here at our University. In this myView blog post she shares some favourite memories of life, culture, and study.

Xin chao!

I’m Kate and I am in my final year here at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington. Ever since I was little, I’ve wanted to study abroad, and I made it my top goal growing up. Of all the places to choose from, I chose to spend my university life here in Wellington, and the last three years living in this lovely city has been wonderful.

Kate enjoys the view of Wellington from the top of the Cable Car in Kelburn, near the University’s main campus.

First impressions of the windy city

My first impression of Wellington is that the city seemed a bit too quiet for my liking. I was born and raised in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. Hanoi has lots of entertainment and leisure going on at night and is very much a nightlife city. It was a bit of a shock to come to Wellington and discover that most of the retail shops close at around 6 pm! But the longer I stayed in Wellington, the more I fell in love with it. I’ve had so many exciting experiences, including lots of firsts for me, like my first time living alone, my first hike, first road trip, and so many more.

My most memorable day at a special football match

Of all the firsts, the football match I went to between Wellington Phoenix and Central Coast Mariners in April was probably my favorite. My friend surprised me with tickets to see the match at Sky Stadium on the Wellington waterfront. I don’t know much about football, but the match gave me the opportunity to understand more about it. It turned out to be an amazing experience that made me aware of how football could have such a marvelous impact on people.

The crowd enjoying the Wellington Phoenix vs Central Coast Mariners match at Sky Stadium.

The atmosphere at the game was unbelievable. People were singing and chatting, and my friend and I made friends with the people sitting next to us. It felt like no matter who you were, we were all united in the stadium and magically connected through football. Even though the Phoenix lost it was still a brilliant match because it showed me how football can create a special bond between strangers. You really can’t beat Wellington on a day like that.

What I’ve gained from my time, what I’ll miss and what advice I have for new arrivals to this great place

I am studying a double major in Human Resource Management and Finance. I enjoy the courses very much and they have helped to build a strong foundation for my future career. Overall, my experience of studying abroad has been fulfilling. As well as pursuing my education and other experiences, I have become more independent, confident, and sociable. I am proud of myself for making the most of the experience and have no regrets about choosing Wellington as my home for three years.

The ‘quiet study zone’ in the Kelburn Campus Library, one of Kate’s favourite places on campus.

I would recommend anyone, especially international students, to study here and challenge yourself with new activities that you aren’t likely to do in your hometown. Wellington has magnificent nature with a relaxing but also fast-paced lifestyle. After a busy day of study and work, you can take short trips around the city to balance yourself out with some fresh air. One place that I really like is Scorching Bay. It can be a bit cold in the winter but it’s the perfect place to sunbathe and swim in the summer!

Thanks to everyone I’ve met at the University, and I hope you have a great time in Wellington!

Kate Nguyen is an international student studying for a Bachelor of Commerce, double-majoring in Human Resource Management and Finance. She is from Hanoi, Vietnam.

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