Being a student is never easy, especially if you have to leave your family and your friends behind to face a whole new world by yourself. It is easy to give up when the journey gets tough, but it is not the case with our student, Corrine Antonio. Her study meant more than just getting a diploma. Here is her story:

Corrine Antonio [center], with her family before leaving the Philippines.

Hello, Unitec Student Media. I’m Corrine Antonio. I’m studying Diploma in Business here at Unitec and this coming semester will be my last semester.

I came here from the Philippines because New Zealand is a country that broadly embraces diversity in culture. It also has a warmer climate compared to Canada, which was my first choice. I grew up in the countryside so living in a place where there are heaps of green fields could help me study better in that kind of environment. I really wanted to try living in a new world and learning in a different perspective of teaching.

I had some good and bad memories living here in New Zealand. When my grandmother died on 2015, I wasn’t able to come home because it was our examination week. I couldn’t do anything except to study and do the exam, not just for my grandma but for my family as well. It helped strengthen my resolve to finish my studies. Then my son got hospitalised and I wasn’t there for him. I felt like I failed him as a mother, but my family was there to support and care for him. It is different, though. I wanted to be there for him.

When I had a hard time looking for a job here in New Zealand, I felt incompetent but later on, I was hired at Mcdonald’s. They helped me develop my customer service skills, build my confidence in a customer facing environment, and gave me free Level 3 NCEA for Food and Beverage Service. It has helped me communicate and adapt to New Zealand’s way of life better.
Another good thing is meeting friends in Unitec who are always there to support me no matter how different we are. They are the ones who helped me throughout my study life. They encouraged me in putting up my fundraising page.

Last year, my family had some financial losses. They no longer have the capacity to support my study this one last semester. It worries me that I might not be able to make it. I knew I would be sent home without anything at all but I have already come this far.

I tried to save every cent I could save. I took out every holiday pay I had from work. I applied for an extra job. I tried hard to save on my own but it was not enough to meet the international student fee. I tried talking to various banks and learned that being an international student has hindered me to loan. It was the hardest and saddest reality that hit me throughout my stay here. I also tried asking for various groups for help. I talked to people who I’ve known since my arrival here and I appreciate all of them who are willing to help.

I don’t want to go home without my diploma. I want to have better opportunities in the future to create a better one for my family. It is just one last semester and I’m not planning on giving up.

I put up a cause at “Give A little” as it is my last resort. I hope I could reach out to you. As long as people are cheering for me to finish this last semester, I will not give up.

Some people have already donated to me and I’m holding on to that hope. I pray that you could find it in your heart to help me support my cause in finishing my last semester here at Unitec. You can share the link to your friends and I’ll appreciate that as your help.

Thank you. I have no other words to say. I hope you can feel how thankful I am.

Help out Corrine by sending in your donations on her GiveALittle page here.