“The facilities are amazing here. As student pilots, we have access to really good technology."
Elena was just 13 when she told her parents she wanted to study abroad to become a pilot.
“I knew I would need to learn English because in Korea it is unusual for females to be pilots. Studying overseas would broaden my perspective and give me more opportunities,” she says.
Her father had recently been to New Zealand on business, and had loved it so much he suggested Elena study here. Elena moved to Auckland, where she studied at Macleans College and lived in a homestay.
She considered going overseas to study aviation after finishing secondary school but discovered Massey University in Palmerston North had an excellent reputation for flight training.
Elena is studying for a three-year Bachelor of Aviation (Air Transport Pilot). One of only two women in a class of 13, she has just gained her ‘wings’ – her commercial pilot’s licence.
She will begin her year-long flight instructor course after she finishes her degree in 2017.
“Massey has been a great place to study aviation,” she says.
“I’d also like to show female international students that New Zealand is a place where they can achieve their dream of becoming a pilot.”
“The quality of our instructors is very high, and they have lots of experience in the aviation industry. I’ve been inspired by my primary flight instructor’s professionalism and his passion for flying. He gives me advice and has become my mentor as well as my instructor.”
Elena hopes to work in New Zealand after graduating.
“All the New Zealanders I’ve met are really kind and helpful. The feeling the people in New Zealand give me is the reason I want to live here,” she says.