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Success Story: Christine Santiago

13 October, 2021
News and events

An OPAIC student has been keeping busy this lockdown as an essential worker with one of the world’s biggest food and beverage companies.

Christine came to New Zealand from the Philippines on a working holiday visa in September 2019, not long before borders closed due to Covid-19.

When it came time for her visa to end a year later, she knew New Zealand was one of the safest places in the world to be. She decided to extend her stay and was approved for a student visa.

Christine says she chose to study OPAIC’s Graduate Diploma in Applied Management because it complimented her background - she worked as an admin officer for six years back home.

She says a highlight of her study was her industry placement experience. The Employability Team helped her secure a spot at a large multi-national food and beverage company.

What started as an internship turned into paid work, as the company asked Christine to cover for a team member on maternity leave.

She worked in an administrator position and was also involved in some HR and environmental safety work as well.

“It was a good learning experience particularly because I’m planning to go into HR as a career path.”

She was grateful to have work during Auckland’s most recent lockdown. While being an essential worker was a little scary at first, she took comfort in the fact she was fully vaccinated against the virus.

Working during the lockdown also gave her a great opportunity to learn about the company’s Covid-19 health and safety measures and processes.

She believes the experience will look great on her CV after her contract ends next month and she begins looking for new opportunities in the admin and HR fields.

Christine also took value from what she learned in the classroom during her time at OPAIC. She particularly enjoyed the classes which focused on the planning and organisational side of management, which is a strength of hers. She put her academic lessons to use in her job.

“It’s a good balance between theory and practice, which I like. I get to apply what I learned in class within the workplace.”

Christine has now finished her qualification. She received an Excellent Scholar Award for top marks in her final block of study.

Outside of work and study, Christine loves travelling. She’s enjoyed having the opportunity to explore New Zealand over the past two years.

She looks forward to getting home to see her family when it is safe to do so but hopes to settle in New Zealand in the future and perhaps do some postgraduate study.