Networks help develop career path

International student Manidu Abeygunawardena (Dee) moved from Sri Lanka to study global business in Wellington

About Manidu (Dee)

Name: Manidu Abeygunawardena (Dee) 

Age: 31 

School/institution: Studying Masters of Global Business at Victoria University of Wellington  

Home city and country: Colombo, Sri Lanka  

When you arrived in Wellington: November 2019 

Just before Covid19 pandemic started in November 2019, I came to New Zealand as a student for my Masters in Global Business at Victoria University of Wellington. I left my little paradise called Sri Lanka with years of work experience in dynamic industries because I felt that it was time for me to update my knowledge – and New Zealand was the best place for it.   
When I arrived in Wellington, I was a total stranger to the country, and I didn’t know a single person. Gradually, I started adapting to the culture and people in New Zealand. I met International Education Specialist - Sarah Grant, randomly while I was volunteering for the International Student Orientation at Victoria University.  

After having a chat with her and getting to know what Study in Wellington at WellingtonNZ all is about, I was keen in be a part of their social media marketing voices. At that time, I was blogging through social media and I had an interest in that area. Little did I know that this would be a gateway to lots of knowledge about New Zealand and work life here. 

Initially, I was a part of the team of international students who they gathered to get ideas to promote Wellington as a study destination. After that I participated in many of their programmes such as Alumni Connect and Work Ready in Wellington. These programs gave me the opportunity to understand work life in Wellington even before I graduated. It gave me lots of tips and knowledge on how to network and connect with New Zealand organisations while I continued my studies. They also asked me to be a part of a Study in Wellington promotional video that is now used to promote Wellington as a study destination.  

I also took part in their Employer Connect programme which helped close the loop hole I currently have as an international student. As international students, we hardly know what type of organisations there are for us to start working in. Employer Connect not only highlighted different organisations in Wellington, but also provided the opportunity to have a chat with the heads of the companies. This was a great networking opportunity for me. 

Victoria University of Wellington provided me with the knowledge I need to do my masters and to graduate as a master’s student, while Study in Wellington helped me find out everything that I should know about working in New Zealand after my masters. The fact that I got to do both while being here in Wellington saved lot of my time and by the time I finished my masters I knew quite a lot of people in Wellington. This network will help me in developing my career path eventually.   
I now feel confident about working in Wellington and my future in New Zealand as a graduate. Further, I recommend all their programmes for all international students who wish to step into careers in New Zealand. They may be the little push you need to take your first step.   

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