Esmond Siope is the latest student Summer Intern to join Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand on a three-month internship until February 2019.
He has just completed his second year of Bachelor of Computing Systems, majoring in Computer Networks and Cloud Computing. His three-year programme at the Unitec Institute of Technology is under the New Zealand scholarships programme.
Esmond who is from Honiara in the Solomon Islands, spoke frankly to Pacific Periscope about the challenges of studying for a degree in a country far from home: what he does to overcome the challenges and what his hopes are in completing his PTI NZ internship.
“As a Pacific Islander studying a degree in a country far from home can be quite difficult at times because of the difference in the cultures and the connection we have with our families.”
But keeping busy has helped Esmond acclimatise to student life in New Zealand.
“In order to deal with homesickness, I spend some of my free time playing soccer, going to the gym and travelling around New Zealand to see some of the beautiful movie-like scenes and landscapes.”
These activities allow Esmond to meet some amazing people who’ve become his friends and helped him stay focused.
Back home in Honiara, he was a volunteer member of the Rotary Rotaract club of Solomon Islands between 2016-2017. The club’s purpose is to address the physical and social needs of the local communities.
Esmond is one of three siblings, the other two studying in Honiara. His father is employed in the private sector and his mother is a homemaker.
Outside of studying and student life in New Zealand, Esmond does casual stocktaking jobs with Retail Grocery Inventory Specialist NZ — better known by its acronym RGIS NZ — at various shops around Auckland.
As a result of the internship at PTI NZ, Esmond wants to see his classroom theories in action.
“I hope that during my internship at Pacific Trade Invest I will be able to apply the required knowledge and skills I gained through doing practicals and theory in class.
“At the end of my internship I hope to be more confident in a work environment and improve my soft skills, which is a very important skill for an IT professional,” he said.
Esmond believes the internship will provide a solid foundation and a stepping stone toward his career goals and aspirations. He aims to work in the technology sector or in jobs with a high technology content like telecommunications, banking or in government back in the Solomon Islands.
“I will be able to blend in when I enter the workforce and effectively contribute to the development of my home country.”
Esmond joins Sonia Lusita de Oliveira from Timor Leste, who is also interning at PTI NZ until February, and who was featured in the previous edition of Pacific Periscope.