Today, Maryam socialises with a wide circle of Kiwi and international friends, chats to colleagues at work, and has settled happily into her adopted country. She bubbles with enthusiasm as she shares her journey from new arrival to feeling "New Zealand is my home.”
As Maryam’s English progressed to working level through her classes with English Language Partners (ELP), Maryam picked up a casual job for a school photographer. Soon after, she applied for and received a part-time job as our Northland centre’s administrator.
With the experience gained working at ELP, their encouragement to apply for jobs more suited to her skills, and the reference centre manager Michele Topping provided based on her great work, Maryam secured a position as a Service Desk Technician for the Kaipara District Council.
Knowing that IT is a rapidly changing environment, Maryam had studied for six months in advance of getting the job, so she was ready from a technical standpoint.
However, her cultural learning only intensified once she began the job.
“Now, suddenly all my colleagues were Kiwis with English as their first language or had been here 25 years. I had to rebuild my confidence.”
With the immediate goal of being more successful in her current role, Maryam realised she can continue to benefit from English Language Partners’ offerings.
She enrolled in ELP’s English for Employees (E4E) course, which focuses on work-related literacy and culture and is available to New Zealand citizens and resident visa holders who are currently employed.
While working with her tutor Bruce Hodder to add skills to help her confidently present and write reports, Maryam says: “The most important part of English for Employees for me is how to adapt to Kiwi culture in the workplace and be part of the conversation in meetings and the lunchroom.”
She may not yet be a true rugby fan, but she is always ready to discuss who won and lost the latest game with her colleagues.
After a shy first six months, Maryam has opened up, and now feels a part of the team culturally as well as knowing she is contributing to the organisation.
Maryam illustrates this vividly: “Say you know how to swim in the pool and someone asks you to swim in the ocean.
"Knowing how to read and write is like knowing how to swim in a pool but not in the waves and currents. You need time and help to build the skills and confidence to swim in the ocean.
"ELP provides that help and confidence.”