In search of a better standard of living, EIT Tairāwhiti student Jinesh Joseph moved from his home in Southern India to Gisborne three years ago.
He has also changed his career path.
After arriving with a degree in social work, he has nowt completed year one of in a Bachelor of Nursing degree.
“My wife, also a nurse, came first and four months later I arrived with our daughter.”
Both from very poor families, the couple dreamed of getting jobs in a foreign country to achieve a better standard of living and better income, not just for their own life, but also to be able to send money home.
The challenging transition to a new life in a new country has been made easier because of support from staff at EIT and the Indian community here, says Jinesh.
“There is a large community of people from South India here. It is nice to be able to speak my mother tongue and we have functions together.”
Among this large community of around 25 families, in every family there is at least one nurse.
“When we gather, we can all share. That community has been very supportive.”
Back in 2008, Jinesh finished his social work degree and started working as the coordinator for a Government programme to help people infected with HIV.
“When I moved here, I decided I needed to find something that was dealing with people more.
“In India, I saw how the nurses interacted with people and were rewarded with smiles from the patients.”
His wife, working as a nurse at Kiri Te Kanawa Retirement Village was inspiring, also helping Jinesh decide.
“But we had to have income, so work was a priority to start with. I spent two years working for a fiberglass company.
“Then I decided I had enough money to start study and I have just finished one year.”
By this time, they also had a son, born here in 2018.
As well as studying, Jinesh is working part time at Domino’s and has recently started working at Beetham Retirement Village as a health care assistant.
When he started the course, he found it a little difficult.
“The academic life here compared with home was unfamiliar. But with the support of lecturers and friends, I have been able to gain confidence.
“The course is very interesting and by the second semester I felt very confident.”
While fluent in English, at the start there was still a language barrier with pronunciation different for some words.
“Everything feels really easy now,” he says.
To help his transition to a new country and culture, Jinesh has spent time volunteering at the Tairāwhiti Community Arts Trust and the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
Jinesh is looking forward to working in different areas of nursing and health in his practicums over the next two years of his degree before he decides where he will work.
“Maybe my social work background might be helpful working in mental health … but I also like working with older people.
“One friend suggested the intensive care ward unit might be for me. I will experience different areas and choose something where there are daily challenges.”
Being a male in a female–dominated industry does not deter Jinesh.
“Back home in India it is not a man’s position to be giving care, but I enjoy dealing directly with people.
“Being a male nurse has lots of challenges to answer … I will just prove it by doing it.”
For more information about the Bachelor of Nursing programme, go to the website or call into the main office in Palmerston Road.