Meet our International Prefects

We are very fortunate to have an amazing group of International students who have stayed with us through the Covid pandemic.

It’s been a tough couple of years, with travel restrictions meaning they haven’t been able to visit home. But a strong network of care and support here at Westlake has helped to shape their experiences into something they will remember for a life time.

This year we have three awesome International Prefects who will be organising events and liaising as contact points and role models for other International students. We’re proud to introduce them to you today.

Clara Su (pictured top right)

Clara is from Urumqi, Xinjiang in China. “Urumqi is a beautiful city, and is the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the far northwest of China,” she says. “There are many ethnic minorities living there, including me – I am Hui.”

Clara is an only child, but has lots of pets – currently being looked after by her parents who both work in a tax office. “I miss my parents but I use Wechat and FaceTime to talk to them.”

She’s been in New Zealand since 2019 when she started at Westlake in Year 10. “The environment is good and I enjoy time with my friends,” she says of her Westlake experience. Her goals as an International Prefect this year are to help students and study hard. Next year she plans to study at the University of Auckland.

Her top advice for any International students who are considering coming to Westlake when NZ’s borders reopen is this: “Don’t be shy! If there is anything you don’t know or you’re not sure about, please ask the teachers or the International Prefects. No question is a stupid question.”

Krisha Lad (pictured top centre)

It’s been over two years since Krisha last saw her parents Joshna and Raj, and her brother Heer in her native Zambia. She misses her home in Ndola – Zambia’s third-largest city – and says not seeing her family is the hardest part of being an International student. “I think something that has been super difficult would most probably be having to deal with feelings of homesickness, as well as all the school stress,” she says.  “It was definitely quite challenging but I found my way around it.”

Krisha has called her mum almost every single day since she arrived in April 2019 as a Year 10 student. On the days she can’t call, she texts her family to keep them up-to-date with what’s happening in her life.

I think I’ll definitely always remember the friends that I’ve made at Westlake,” she says. “But I think my favourite thing about my time here is definitely the choirs I participated in. They were always a blast! I made so many new friends and I got to do something that I really liked.”

One of Krisha’s goals for this year is to make sure the International students grow together as a family “and that everyone finishes the year with smiles and feeling like they’ve had a good, full year”. She plans to study Architecture at Victoria University of Wellington next year.

“My top piece of advice would be to just take this leap and make the most of it. Coming to New Zealand and Westlake especially opened up so many opportunities for myself and I made the best friendships I’ve ever made. Just go with the flow and enjoy every little step of your journey!”

Roori Lee (pictured top left)

Providing support to International students who are missing home is the key focus for Roori Lee this year. “I truly think International students have a hard time not being able to visit their home country. I hope that I can fully support them by providing different events and activities, so they are able to enjoy the best school life,” she says.

Roori hails from Seoul, the capital city of South Korea and, like Clara and Krisha, has been at Westlake since 2019 as a Year 10 student.

“One of my favorite activities that I have done at Westlake is definitely being part of Korean Night! For this event, my group members worked very hard to organise a modern k-pop dance to perform on stage (pictured below). It was very stressful at that time but looking back now, it was one of the most amazing and unforgettable times,” she says.

Roori misses her father, who is still in Korea, but her mum (pictured left), older brother, younger sister and pets are with her here in New Zealand. Facetime keeps her connected with her dad, and lots of school activities keep her busy.

“Engage with everything,” she encourages those considering coming to Westlake. “There are tons of different activities and clubs here where you can not only find your true potential or interest, but also make a wide range of friends.”

Next year Roori plans on returning to Korea where she will attend university to study film and media.