Chelsea Alonzo was planning to study business at university in Wellington before the COVID-19 lockdown hit New Zealand.
But the change of plans was a blessing in disguise as she’s discovered the many benefits of studying close to home at NMIT in Blenheim.
“I didn’t want to start my first year at university with the lockdowns happening, and my family are here in Blenheim,” Chelsea says.
Having just returned home from a year of travelling abroad, Chelsea wasn’t sure what to do next.
She has always wanted to get a degree and become a Chartered Accountant and had assumed that university was the only way to achieve her dream.
A friend, who was already studying business at NMIT, recommended the New Zealand Diploma in Business, so she decided to enrol.
The one-year programme covers accounting, finance, taxation, and business with an optional strand in Leadership and Management.
Most classes are delivered via video link from tutors in Nelson, which took some getting used to.
“There was a bit of adjusting to the style of study here. I’m used to studying in a class with 30 students, and video connecting to Nelson is a bit different. It’s like an online class, but there are some perks with that.”
Chelsea says she always feels included in the video lessons and the small class size means students get a lot of attention from tutors.
“I really like the tutors. They make the class really, well, not boring. People think of accounting as boring, but the teachers are making an effort to make it fun and really interesting,” she says.
“My friend from university said there are lots of students and if they have a question for the professor they can’t reach them. But here it’s not like that, it’s really easy. You just email them, or just ask them, and you get a response, which is really helpful.”
She says she enjoys the more laid-back, practical approach to studying in Marlborough while gaining a qualification that feels relevant to her future.
“Back in school you feel like you're just answering set questions, but here you feel like you're doing things you would actually do when you're in the workforce,” she says.
“I like that I’m learning skills that I will be using when I’m working.”
Chelsea has decided to stay at NMIT next year and enrol in the Bachelor of Commerce, a three-year degree programme that will prepare her for her dream of becoming a Chartered Accountant.
“I actually like it here [at NMIT], so why not go on and finish my entire degree here?” she says.