Maryam Ghouzivand found herself in this situation just seven years ago. Today, you’ll find her socialising with a wide circle of Kiwi and international friends, chatting to colleagues at work, and happily settled into her adopted country. She exudes pure joy, and bubbles over with enthusiasm as she shares her journey from new arrival to “feeling New Zealand is my home.”
Maryam’s progression from language learner to volunteer is an inspiring story and reflects her success as a migrant who's pass through the doors of English Language Partners (ELP).
After progressing with her own English and understanding of New Zealand culture, Maryam felt ready to volunteer herself, and began participating in ELP’s volunteer training programme to further her own experience and to give back to the organisation.
"I love helping other migrants build their confidence in New Zealand by sharing my experience, while simultaneously improving my own English and cultural skills.
"As a tutor, you learn more when you teach others."
Maryam relied on her previous teaching experience when she began tutoring a young man who’d recently arrived from Korea with almost no English. She began with simple words paired with reading short stories and watching short New Zealand videos then discussing the content. As a fun way to progress his skills and cultural understanding, they went on excursions to the art gallery, library, and cafes.
“Maryam was very patient and kind with him and started him off well,” says Michele Topping, ELP Northland’s centre manager.
Maryam’s empathy was invaluable in the relationship: “Because of my background I know it’s hard at the beginning. He was a smart and fast learner.”
Maryam is looking forward to doing more tutoring in the future.
“I gained a lot and learned more. It’s a wonderful way to be in contact with different people from different cultures.”