Jiayi (Sophia) Xu, 18, has been awarded a $5,000 study award from Victoria University of Wellington to put towards her first year of undergraduate study.
The scholarships are awarded for high academic performance, excellent attendance, leadership, commitment, respect and self-discipline.
“I felt surprised, appreciated and happy when I found out,” Sophia said.
With a love of travel and exploring new places, Sophia will now go on to undertake a Commerce degree at Victoria University of Wellington majoring in tourism management and marketing.
She credits her Pathways course with helping her on her way.
“It gave me lots of opportunities to do volunteer work and meet different people,” she explains. “I built good relationships with my teachers. Although sometimes we argued about marks and essays, we’re still really happy to have each other!”
Sophia has loved her life as a student in Wellington, first staying with a homestay family to soak up Kiwi culture, then living in an apartment in Manners Street in the central city.
“It makes me feel comfortable and I can enjoy myself. People are friendly and enthusiastic. I like to spend a whole morning or afternoon in a coffee shop with friends to have a chat with a flat white. Wellington also has the best steak in the world!”
She says she loves New Zealand’s beautiful nature, people who are friendly to foreigners and bus drivers who answer questions patiently.
“I love New Zealand so much. And if someone asked me how is Wellington, I would like to say it’s a wonderful place to study and enjoy the life.”
Sophia graduated from The Victoria University of Wellington Foundation Studies Programme delivered by ACG Pathways.