After completing a Degree in Teaching English-Chinese as a Foreign Language in China, Shelley Zhang’s parents supported her for her further study overseas. They chose New Zealand because of its safe reputation.
Soon after, she set off to the Manawatū to study a Masters of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Leadership at Massey University.
“Getting used to the lifestyle was challenging at first but I believe learning the environment and language benefits your study and allows you to get the most out your New Zealand experience,” she says.
Five years after arriving in New Zealand Shelley has studied and worked all over the Manawatū; including at English Language Partners, International Pacific University and Massey University.
Now at UCOL as a New Zealand Certificate in English Language (NZCEL) lecturer, Shelley says she quickly sees improvements in her students’ use of English for daily life, work and study.
“The programme is not just about teaching the English language, it’s also about life skills. Passing a test is one thing but learning the culture and academic culture content is another thing.”
Shelley believes her own experience of moving to New Zealand is valuable to her students’ journey through the NZCEL programme.
“I know what culture shock is like because I’ve experienced it myself. This element of my teaching is proving worthwhile to my students.”
Shelley is enjoying her time at UCOL and can see the results of the integrated learning style that the programme provides.
“At UCOL the learning experience is tailored to each individual’s goals and strengths. It’s a very student-centric environment.”
She says she likes living and working in the Manawatū, especially with such supportive and sharing people. “The staff here all want to help each other for the benefit of the students.”
After many long hours and lots of work Shelley is relishing using her qualification to help students.
“It’s a nice feeling pulling all of my past experiences together into one programme for the benefit of the students.”