A Catholic nun from a tiny village in Myanmar has graduated from Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology with the highest possible English qualification.
Rosy Win, who is determined to take her new skills home to teach others, is the first to graduate with the Level 5 qualification, the New Zealand Certificate in English Language.
Rosy has been staying at the Sisters of our Lady of the Missions convent in Nelson while she has been studying for the past 18 months – and trying to understand the Kiwi accent.
“That’s been the hardest part and also the grammar,” says the 33-year-old who says the sisters at the convent have been helping her get to grips with New Zealand English.
Her NMIT tutor, Heather Verstappen, says Rosy has been an exemplary student, keen and motivated.
“Like others from Myanmar she sees education as a privilege not a right and has been really eager to learn – like a sponge really.”
Rosy was raised in a poor village of 300 houses “surrounded by mountains” a six-hour bus ride from Myanmar’s biggest city, Yangon (formerly Rangoon).
She says she was motivated from an early age by nuns who visited the village to teach the children and decided that’s what she, too, wanted to do.
Rosy joined the order’s congregation as a teenager and has already spent three years at university studying economics and six years as a pre-school teacher.
She says learning English is sought after in Myanmar as a means to finding work and she determined to follow other nuns from her order who have come to NMIT to learn English in order to teach.
When Rosy returns as a fully-fledged nun to Myanmar in December, she expects to be sent by her order to be a rural teacher. “I want to give service for the people, especially poor people from the countryside because they need education.”