Guillaume Mallet turned his life around by coming to New Zealand as an international student.
He says his studies were “terrible” before he left France, and he only did the minimum required. His hometown contained a lot of distractions and bad influences making it hard for him to focus.
“I thought, I can’t just stay here, because I’m going to end up like everyone else,” he says.
“I didn’t have a lot of options. It was either following that way or probably end up in jail or worse or using my studies to do something better, and I chose to focus on my studies.”
Guillaume decided to come to New Zealand to study on the recommendation of a French-Māori family he knew from his days surfing in the South of France.
Fortunately, New Zealand was one of the few countries which recognised a technical qualification he had previously completed in negotiation and client relationships. That meant he could gain his bachelor’s degree here in just one year.
Guillaume has now completed three qualifications through OPAIC, starting with the New Zealand Certificate in English Language, then going onto the final year of the Bachelor of Applied Management, before progressing to the Master of Applied Management.
He says the main reason he was able to go from being such a bad student in France to knuckling down here in New Zealand was that he enjoyed his study here.
“Being a student is completely different in France.”
In France, you just listened to the teacher and don’t get the chance to participate, he says.
“Here, whatever problem you raise, the teacher will do everything possible to help you.”
The student support and the way lecturers structured the course made a real difference to him.
Guilliame says every qualification he gained came with a huge feeling of achievement and he’s also built social connections in the country.
He came here alone when he was just 20 but he’s made friends from many cultures on campus. He’s also met his partner, an Indian-Kiwi, here in New Zealand.
Now that Guilliame is finished his study he’s working at a restaurant and going through the process of applying for his Post Study Work Visa. His goal is to get into strategic consulting.
“That’s my main goal for the moment, that’s where I want to go.”
His advice for current and future students is not to hesitate to ask if they have any questions or issues.
“There will always be someone to help you. Every time I asked for help or for anything, I always got a positive answer,” he says.
“OPAIC is really unique. When you talk to other uni students, they don’t have all the student support we have here. So, I think we should really take advantage of that environment.”