• Home
  • News
  • Couple Buff up English in their Adopted Homeland

Couple Buff up English in their Adopted Homeland

June 17, 2015
Nicko and Manka at their Taradale home.

Nicko and Manka at their Taradale home.

Coming to New Zealand from a bustling city in southern China, Manka Li and Nicko Liang were drawn to the calm and quiet of Hawke’s Bay.

The pair moved to Napier three years ago, wanting to integrate into a smaller community and having learnt about study opportunities at EIT.

Both grew up in Guang Zhou, formerly known as Canton, a port city which has a population of 12 million-plus.

Working as a nurse in A & E, Nicko wanted a change from his demanding life.

“In New Zealand, there isn’t that much pressure. In China, every day is busy, busy, busy.  A hospital’s ER [emergency room] can handle 800 patients in 24 hours.”

Manka, 24, says it was different for her.

“I graduated in interior design and felt it was a good idea to go overseas while we were still young.”

The couple, who married in January 2013, initially moved into homestay accommodation.

“The first week we arrived, our English was really limited,” says Manka. “But we had lovely homestay hosts who have become our friends.  Every day, they spent a lot of time with us, helping us develop our English.

“We realised then that to improve our language skills we had to use our English conversationally.”

Of course, once they started working, Manka and Nicko had no option other than to speak in English.

Having enrolled in EIT’s English for Living (ELC) programme, they found what they were studying very helpful. The programme helps students to use English in undertaking daily activities such as shopping, visiting the doctor, supporting children at school, filling out forms, banking and using the phone.

Both had studied English at school, Manka from the age of eight and Nicko since he was about 11 years old.

“A lot of parents,” Nicko says, “prefer their children to start learning the language earlier than that.”

Although they chat to one another in their mother tongue and discovered they could use Cantonese on a recent trip to Auckland, they appreciate the need for English in their daily lives. As Manka says, “when you have communication with somebody, you also learn from them.”

Now she is interested in enrolling in EIT’s IELTS preparation classes, which are designed to improve students’ test-taking strategies by familiarising them with the test format and improving their level of English.

The couple hope to stay in New Zealand for the same reasons they chose to come here.

“I think we are quite lucky,” Nicko says of their move.

The next EIT intake for English for Living Levels 1 and 2 classes starts on 23 July and continues every Thursday evening through to September 24. Level 2 classes run from 22 July to 23 September on Wednesdays from 10am to noon and Fridays from 10.30am to 12.30pm.

There are also EIT programmes for those who don’t speak English as a first language but want to prepare for certificate, diploma or degree-level study.

If you are interested, phone Vicki Fox on (06) 974 8000 ext 6072 or email vfox@eit.ac.nz