Better English, better career for Zhihui Lu


My name is Zhihui (Bella) Lu. I came to New Zealand from China five years ago.

My volunteer ESOL home tutor is Coral Gardiner who has been teaching me English since February 2020.

Initially, my English learning goal was to get an improved score on the IELTS test, which would allow me access to university. I asked Coral if she could help me with my writing skills, as English writing is my weakest aspect, compared to listening, oral and reading.

I write an essay on a particular topic and send it to Coral via email once a week. Coral always corrects my writing with colour highlighting and also explains the correction. She always shows patience and shared her abundant knowledge with me about New Zealand culture such as the ‘Treaty of Waitangi’, ‘Labour Day’, ‘Maori Culture,’ etc.

I have increased my confidence in English with Coral’s guidance and encouragement.

This has resulted in me being able to acquire a higher position in my chosen career because I am more confident in my interviews. I am now a Diversional Therapist.

I joined Toastmasters in October 2020 and I was asked to give an icebreaker speech. I was extremely anxious and confused as I had no idea what I should speak about, so I asked Coral for advice. She told me some useful speech strategies such as “How to think in the audience’s shoes”, “What do they want to hear?” etc.

With Coral’s  help, I amended my speech and practised it with her.

I proudly received “The Best Speaker of the Night” award.

We thank Bella for her thoughts AND also our Hawke’s Bay volunteer – Coral Gardiner,  and all volunteers helping new Kiwis get ahead in Aotearoa.

Join us as a volunteer!

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