Sonia Handa

Sonia Handa
From studying and working in the UK to living and studying in NZ, Sonia Handa shares her experiences of moving to a new country and learning about Māori culture.

Sonia Handa

Name: Sonia Handa
Program: Graduate Diploma in Teaching (ECE)

Tell us about yourself and your background.
I was born and brought up in the UK, and studied a Bachelor of Arts in Early Primary Education through Northumbria University in Newcastle, Upon Tyne. After receiving qualified teacher status, I worked as a Relief Teacher for several years, which gave me the opportunity to teach in a variety of schools as I developed my teaching skills and it helped me to differentiate between age ranges.

What inspired you to pursue early childhood education studies in New Zealand with NZTC?
The main reasons for me wanting to move here from the UK were that I have always loved mountains, beaches and nature, I also wanted to have a good summer and I have family here in Auckland. 

Working with young children and helping them to reach their full potential is my passion. Children are very precious to me and I love being part of an environment that enhances their development, and helps to prepare them for the future.

I decided to study a Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Early Childhood Education) with NZTC in order to become a registered teacher here in NZ. I was inspired by this qualification as it gives me the opportunity to have hands on experience in early childhood centres. I also knew the Blended Learning study mode would give me the flexibility to study from home most of the time.

How has your experience been living and studying in NZ?
This beautiful environment makes it a pleasure to work and study in, surrounded by beaches, nature and mountains. The weather is also fabulous, and the people are very welcoming. As soon as you walk into the NZTC Auckland Campus there is a feeling of warmth, the lecturers are also kind, helpful and emotionally supportive. I have enjoyed every moment of my course.   

It has been a challenge to understand the Māori culture and language, however with supportive lecturers and Associate Teachers, I am now very confident and have learnt a lot about the Treaty of Waitangi. I have learnt how important it is that as teachers, we include Māori culture and language within our curriculum. 

What do you feel you have gained through studying?
This comprehensive and professional program has given me the opportunity to gain higher level research, knowledge and understanding of the New Zealand Early Years Curriculum Te Whāriki and ways of assessment.  The course has also given me a recap on my leadership and assessment skills. 

Do you have any advice for other international students contemplating moving to NZ to study ECE?
Being an early childhood teacher is a very satisfying and rewarding career. NZTC is a wonderful place to study, where you will gain knowledge of what’s required of you as an early childhood teacher. The lecturers and students all support each other academically and emotionally so there is nothing to worry about - and of course what better place to study than one of the most beautiful and safest countries in this world, New Zealand. With hard work and dedication you can enjoy every moment of your studies just as I have done.