Qiufen Cui completed a Graduate Diploma in Business Information Systems at WITT in 2021 and is now working as a data and reporting analyst at Venture Taranaki.

Originally from Harbin in the northeast of China, that has four distinct seasons; however, winter is longer, with the average temperature under minus 20 degrees.

“It’s always fun in winter, we would have ice sculpture festivals every year and winter sports like ice skating, skiing, and snowboarding are extremely popular,” says Qiufen.

Studying in Harbin, China

Although Harbin is small for a Chinese city, schools have 40-60 students per class. This means the delivery of the subjects is standardised rather than individualised, with all students within a province learning from the same text at the same time.

“We all start with the same basic subjects such as language, history, mathematics, and sciences. By the second year of high school, students get the opportunity to personally tailor their studies with the further offer of language, history, politics, or science-based subjects. This decision will influence which university the student will attend,” says Qiufen.

Qiufen was originally interested in studying architecture at university but decided to study English in both education and international businesses instead, giving her a wider range of options. After graduating, she worked in Beijing for many years, where she realised she enjoyed working with computers and data, so she started taking on ICT projects.

Lifestyle change

By 2019 Qiufen was eager to experience a different lifestyle.

“New Zealand was on my mind since I was at Uni, so I started travelling first and transferred to study. I evaluated my post-study into four aspects - content/ subjects, time to complete the course, campus, and cost. Taranaki is beautiful and has high living standards.”

WITT came out on top of Qiufen’s rankings as she chose the Graduate Diploma in Business Information System teaching her business analysis, system analysis and design, ICT, research methodology, and applied computing.

Qiufen says she was lucky enough to secure her next role in her desired field before graduating from WITT. Now in the new position as data and reporting analyst at Venture Taranaki, her role informs Enterprises throughout the region of key economic trends, and she loves it.

Qiufen noted that her work is interesting with helpful and hospitable colleagues, and she feels like she is making a difference, recently winning a staff award for the quality of her work. Although the road hasn’t always been easy, Qiufen says the “biggest challenge was learning about local culture and the region.”

She says that it is often common for Chinese tertiary students to only socialise with other Chinese students during their stay, however, Qiufen made it a priority to get to know New Zealanders.

“Students who study at secondary schools in New Zealand before moving into tertiary, have an advantage as this gives them a prior understanding of the language and culture. Experiences like this and even homestay would be helpful for international students to meet New Zealanders.”