Alex Wong (Ngāpuhi) enjoys meeting people and helping them out.
Wanting to turn his passion of working with people into a career, Alex chose the Open Polytechnic Bachelor of Social Work by distance because he can fit study around his current job as a chef and bartender.
Alex also felt that the degree best matched his interests and will give him good employment prospects.
Having previously trained as a massage therapist at a face-to-face polytechnic, Alex says he prefers distance learning in comparison because he can study autonomously wherever he likes.
Not far into the degree, the Te Ao Maori and Social Work Practice course has already reinvigorated Alex’s thirst to connect with his heritage.
“It was extremely beneficial to both my understanding and personal growth and has inspired me to want to work with Maori communities once I have my degree.”
Alex also enjoyed attending the noho marae workshop because he was able to establish relationships with “Kaiako” (lecturers) and “Tauira” (students).
“My whanau are also extremely supportive of my studies and although I don’t have any immediate family that have been through university, my whaea kēkē (Aunty), who is academically skilled and deeply involved in our Maori community, is always there to help me with queries regarding Maori culture and my whakapapa.”
When asked what advice he would give to people considering study by distance, Alex says it is essential to have a study routine otherwise he has found that time flies
“Life is full and there is always so much going on that it is hard to keep study as a priority, which is what it needs to be if you want to do well. But the prospect of being a successful social worker outweighs the struggle by far,” he says.
Alex thinks that one of the best aspects of the degree so far is that he is encouraged to delve more deeply into his personal principals, ethics, morals and the structure of
New Zealand and overseas societies.
He hopes to achieve the Bachelor of Social Work within the next two and half years.
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