“The knowledge I gained gave me a very good foundation in business.”
Edith was working as a teacher in Changchun, in China’s northeast Jilin province, when she decided it was time to start studying to gain the skills to set up her own business.
She chose New Zealand because she wanted to study in an English-speaking country that could give both her and her teenage daughter an excellent education.
In 2013 Edith embarked on an 18-month full-time postgraduate diploma at the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT), in New Zealand’s South Island.
“I was used to learning theory and sitting exams, but the New Zealand way of learning is totally different,” she says.
“The tutor would give us a task and then we’d come up with ideas and decide how we could do it our own way. We often worked together in teams of five or six, helping and encouraging each other.
“It was a fantastic way to learn. I really enjoyed sharing my ideas with the other people on my course, who came from all around the world. We had great tutors we could turn to for help.”
New Zealand tertiary institutions have strong links with industry, giving students real-world experience of their future careers. Edith carried out some of her research at a well-known chain of jewellery stores, learning more about business by interviewing staff and comparing prices.
Her tutors introduced her to a development company in the resort town of Queenstown, which hired her to translate brochures and help Chinese visitors. Edith also had paid work experience at SIT.
After studying, Edith got a job as an Importer and Exporter at Blue River Dairy LP. The export-focused infant nutrition business is one of New Zealand’s fastest-growing companies.
“I really like working for Blue River Dairy LP. I have lots of responsibilities, from applying for health certificates to preparing the documents our products need for export clearance,” she says.
“The skills and experience I’ve gained in New Zealand have given me the confidence to feel that I could set up my own business."
“New Zealand has lots of amazing natural products, like honey and wine, so maybe I will set up my own export business to China one day."