“You’re encouraged to ask questions, and the teachers really do care about you.”
In 2016, Yang won an excellence award for international students in Wellington. Yang’s parents saw their son being presented with his award on TV, which helped persuade them to support his goal of learning to fly – not as a hobby, but as a career.
Then Yang had another stroke of luck: while working part-time as a waiter, he found himself serving the chief pilot of Air New Zealand.
“When I decided I wanted to train as a pilot, I wrote to him and he offered to meet me. I went to Auckland to talk to him, and he told me all about my options,” says Yang.
“Only in New Zealand could an international student meet the chief pilot of an international airline and arrange to meet up with him.”
After finishing his flight training, Yang plans to study for a Bachelor of Aviation Management at Massey University in Palmerston North.
Yang’s ultimate goal is to become chief pilot of Air New Zealand. “That would be a dream come true.”