Student Stories: Marcus Leong

"I have recently completed a Bachelor of Science majoring in Computer Science at the University of Auckland, as an international student. I took science subjects since middle school and thought this study area would help give me more flexibility in choosing what I would like to study in the future. I didn’t have a set idea on exactly where I would end up in my career, I'm pretty open to opportunities. 

"I grew up in Malaysia and because my older brother was living in Auckland, I decided to follow suit and move over to New Zealand.  Why not give it a shot? So after high school I moved to New Zealand and completed the Taylors Auckland Foundation Year course at Taylors College, before moving on to the University of Auckland the following year.

"For me, studying internationally has really grown me as a person, especially from being away from my parents and more or less any form of parental supervision. Having this independence has helped me to learn how to manage my time better. My greatest challenge so far has been applying for my student visa each year! Somehow I always manage to leave something out or a random problem appears. This year was the first year I managed to complete it successfully, phew!

Try working in different environments, embrace the culture and always think rationally. And career support goes a long way!

"If other students were considering studying abroad, I’d recommend meeting as many new people as you can. You just never know where your connections will take you, it’s not what you know, right? 

"During my first semester at university, I received an email inviting me to join the Workplace Insights Programme. It’s a programme the Career Development and Employability Services (CDES) team created to help international students with the transition into New Zealand work life. Over eight weeks students get paired with mentors, international alumni, who are working or have worked in Auckland, and attend networking events.

"I thought it would be a good way for me to learn how Kiwi workplaces operate and at the same time form connections through the mentors I’d be assigned. I had two mentors; one was a retired man who worked in the manufacturing business as a manager. I discovered how he worked his way up the ladder from the bottom, up. My second mentor was a researcher from the University of Auckland. Although their career areas weren’t similar to mine, I appreciate the time my mentors took to help students out.

"CDES have been very helpful. Earlier on in my time here I went to an immigration talk hosted by CDES which I found extremely informative. I’m actually thinking of meeting up with CDES staff next week to discuss my employment opportunities as I know how helpful this support is."