Samah Andy is not shy in saying UCOL has unleashed her passion for learning, to the point where she is telling the world.
"I used to see the UCOL billboards around Palmerston North and say to myself, "one day I want to be up there". In a strange twist of fate, that is exactly what has happened. Samah has become a face of UCOL's latest marketing campaign and is a top first year student in the Bachelor of Applied Science (Medical Imaging Technology) programme.
Samah already had a Bachelor of Agricultural Economics and AgriBusiness from the University of Jordan, when she arrived in Hamilton in 2009 with her new husband.
"I did my last exam, got married, went on my honeymoon, graduated and then moved to New Zealand," she says. "It was a very busy year."
Samah admits she had mixed feelings about continuing her studies once settled in her newly adopted country.
"I loved being a student in Jordan. I really enjoyed the learning, but I didn't really enjoy the subject. I was keen on doing something in the medical field, but I wasn't sure what."
When her doctor husband Mohammed was transferred to Palmerston North Hospital in 2015, Samah was keen to get involved with the local community. She did volunteer work for community organisations while caring for their four young children. She was busy, but still felt unfulfilled.
"I remember the day I dropped the children off at school and went into the UCOL Information Centre. I met a lovely lady named Sharon who suggested I consider Medical Imaging. Something just clicked and I knew I'd found what I was looking for."
Filled with enthusiasm, Samah enrolled in the New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 4) (Medical Imaging Pathway). "
"I wanted to know that I was up to the challenge of full-time study."
Samah needn't have worried, as she was a top student in the programme.
Samah says it was a special day when she was accepted into UCOL's three-year Bachelor of Applied Science (Medical Imaging Technology) programme.
"It is a gruelling and very competitive selection process."
Now six months into her programme, Samah is already excelling as an A student.
"I think I'm doing so well because I love it."
"I feel very supported by the lecturers and my classmates. Because the class sizes are small you get to know everyone, and it feels like a family."
Samah says Mohammed has been very supportive and encouraging. They work as a team to juggle their home life and long work hours to ensure they spent quality time together.
"When I hear my daughter say she wants to go to UCOL and 'do what I do', I feel proud that I am setting a good example for my children, by having big dreams and going for them."
People often ask Samah when she gets any time to herself in her busy life as a student, wife and mother of four.
"I tell them that UCOL is my 'me time'. It is hard work, but definitely worth it. When you love what you do, you will always find the time to do it."
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