Wellington—a home from home for three Vietnamese sisters

It’s a family affair for sisters Ha, Bella, and Phuc Vo as they all study at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington and proudly call Wellington their new home.

Three sisters from Vietnam, who study at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, overlooking the iconic waterfront and city buildings.

Moving to Wellington, New Zealand, from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, was a “happy and easy change” for sisters Ha, Bella, and Phuc.

They believe Wellington is a wonderful location to be a student. The nature, unique cafés, independent shops, and above all the opportunities have made Wellington an attractive city to move to. The sisters note their first impression of Wellington was how green, calm, and clean it is compared to the busy crowds and traffic-lined roads of Ho Chi Minh City.

Ha, Bella, and Phuc currently live together in Wellington where they enjoy taking care of their garden and helping one another with University assignments.

Why did they choose to study at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington?

Ha, the eldest sister, was the first to study at Victoria University of Wellington having graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in 2017. Ha and her parents were looking for a prestigious university with strong employability prospects. Ha went straight into employment after graduating, which inspired her sisters to follow in her footsteps.

Bella and Phuc are studying for a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Health respectively. Both sisters were awarded financial scholarships based on their academic excellence, contributing more than $20,000 NZD towards their tuition fees.

Ha enjoyed her studies and overall experience at the University. “I was looking for a degree that would allow me to get a job anywhere in the world after graduation. Majoring in Human Resources gave me that, but I chose to stay in Wellington because I love it here!”

What do the sisters enjoy most about Wellington?

While the sisters enjoy the location of the city, they all agree that it’s the people in Wellington who have had the most positive impact on their lives.

They are especially impressed by how helpful the University staff are. Ha comments that there is an appreciation for developing each student as an individual and there is always support available. During Ha’s studies, the Te Taiako Student Learning team helped with her approach towards written assignments in particular. “Everyone wants you to succeed here,” Ha explains, with Bella agreeing: “It doesn’t feel like a competition, it’s about an all-round experience.”

Phuc, who is in her first year of studies, is appreciative of how friendly the locals are—particularly for helping her when she was lost without any phone battery! She says, “The people are so friendly here and it makes me less afraid as a new person. Even the bus driver welcomes you with a smile!”

How do the sisters feel living in Wellington?

Ha, Bella, and Phuc describe a culture that extends beyond the University and is part of the city’s community itself. They comment on the freedom they have to be who they want to be in Wellington, which is empowering.

“It’s non-judgmental here, I can wear what I want... some people don’t even wear shoes and that’s fine!” Bella jokes, explaining, “I am more independent and feel like I know myself so much better.”

Ha believes the friends she has made in Wellington have helped her to develop as a person. The International Buddy Programme helped her to be more confident in meeting other people and she feels she has made friends for life.

The sisters all comment on their culture being celebrated in Wellington too. They say the Vietnamese Students Association is a society that “feels like a glue to get people together from Vietnam.” They celebrate Lunar New Year and Tết Trung Thu together, as well as host social activities throughout the year.

Do you have any words of advice for future students?

The sisters advise making the most of the people and resources that the University has to offer.

They recommend approaching the International Office about the application process to study at the University—they explain the team was efficient in answering any questions they had.

To help with studying and assignments, the sisters recommend Te Taiako Student Learning, a team dedicated to developing students’ academic writing skills, note-taking, research skills, and more, for a positive learning experience.

We welcome Ha, Bella, and Phuc Vo to Wellington and wish them all success in their future careers.

Want to learn more about what it’s like to study at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington? Speak to a current international student.