When Sena Shimotsuma first arrived in New Zealand from his native Japan he couldn’t speak any English. Now he has more than 5,000 subscribers to his bilingual YouTube channel “SenaDropsAnIceCream” with videos viewed by up to 90,000 people.
Sena came to New Zealand to study at a state secondary school in central Auckland. At first, he found it hard to make friends and struggled with his grades and academic English.
Instead of doing Year 13 at the school, he undertook a Foundation Studies programme at UP Education to improve his English in preparation for studying at AUT University in Auckland.
“I can talk forever about how it helped me,” he says. “There was so much support from the teachers to help study academic subjects and learn essay-writing for university. As I learnt more of the language and became more Kiwi and started looking outwards, I made more friends.”
Sena did a full-time internship at UP Education as part of the final year of his Bachelor of Business degree (with a major in Market Insights and minor in International Business), which led to a full-time job. He now has a Kiwi girlfriend and has no plans to leave New Zealand.
“I love how people live here – they’re chilled out and laid back. I love Kiwi culture and Kiwi English and the fact that you can be friends with anyone, instantly. I always wanted to be part of it.”
His aspiration is to one day start his own business, but for now he’s more than happy with his role at UP Education promoting New Zealand as a destination for international students.
“I hope to share what I’ve learnt from my New Zealand experience, maybe be a mentor. I really appreciate the opportunities UP Education has given me.”
Check out Sena’s recent video about learning English.
Sena completed the AUT University Certificate in Foundation Studies