Student speaker Olha Viazenko told our international graduates to think of themselves as new Kiwis, at yesterday’s graduation ceremony at the Auckland Town Hall.
Olha studied law and journalism back home in Ukraine and has worked as an investigative reporter.
She arrived on campus in October last year to study the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Management and made a huge impact on students and staff with her intelligence, open-mindedness, and patience.
Olha told graduates she left her country, job, and position in society to travel 18,000km to New Zealand and start a new life from the very beginning.
It was wonderful to be a student again. At OPAIC she’d had the opportunity to meet nice people from all over the world.
“Different cultures, accents, views and opinions helped me to see the world in a different way – to feel its depth and diversity,” she said.
She thanked her teachers for their time, effort, patience, and skills. She also thanked her family and friends who supported her. Her husband, daughter, and mum had all helped her succeed in her study and get where she is today.
She urged graduates to be confident and determined in making the next step.
“We all made the first step to our brilliant future and now we are graduating.”
She told them not to feel like immigrants but new Kiwis.
“I respect and recognise New Zealand values and I believe that combination of the experience that we have had before and our knowledge we have gained here will help us to become respectful experts in the fields we have chosen,” she said.
“Congratulations to all of us new Kiwis. Let’s make the next step in our journey to be our best selves and lead our best lives.”