Staff Member Spotlight: Kelly Pihema Berridge

Title
Director of Operations - New Zealand & Fiji

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Kelly Pihema Berridge was born and raised in Auckland and is of Maori and European descent. Kelly has a passion for international education and foreign languages, which was sparked by her experience living overseas and studying abroad in Brazil, Chile, and Italy.

Kelly has traveled throughout Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Pacific region and Australia. She has also explored the North and South Islands of New Zealand and looks forward to being a part of providing an exciting and culturally enriching experience for ISA students in Auckland.

What is your favorite travel memory?

I have had so many amazing experiences in my travels overseas, from performing the haka in front of a bunch of fellow exchange students at Iguazu Falls in Argentina, to climbing the Eiffel Tower in Paris, getting proposed to by my fiance in the Bologna Towers in Italy, celebrating New Years Eve on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil or sliding down the slopes of Mont Blanc and having a snowy white Christmas in France with family and friends!

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I love working in the international education sector where I get to support students coming to Auckland and be a part of providing them with an amazing kiwi experience in New Zealand! I understand the challenges of being away from home, trying to adapt to another culture whilst also wanting to travel as much as possible and do well at a foreign university. My sense of adventure hasn't changed but being on the other side of the student experience has taught me a lot about how different each student really is and I've had to learn how to adapt and cater to a wide variety of needs and student issues whilst working for ISA.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

We often have students wanting to return to NZ for post-graduate study, internships or work in NZ and a lot of our ex-students and alumni do keep in touch with us even after they return home. We've had some students return successfully on Travel/Work visas where they've taken up jobs in the Tourism industry so they can spend more time traveling around New Zealand!

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

A Semester or Year abroad is the best option to choose if you have the time to commit to it and are really wanting to get immersed in another culture. It takes time to make new friends, time to get comfortable with your new host city and university, and so the more the time you can give it, the better your experience will be.

At the end of a semester program, most students have totally fallen in love with New Zealand, with their new lifestyle and have made life-long friends that often returning home is the hardest part of the journey!

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

ISA is all about providing our students with wrap-around support in all areas whether that be personal, health & safety-wise or academic. We also keep in touch with students throughout the whole duration of their program and included in the program are regular cultural activities, social events, volunteer opportunities and super fun excursions around the country that include white-water rafting, surfing weekends, kayaking in the Coromandel, zip-lining on Waiheke Island and much more!

All of these activities and support are included in the whole ISA program which students just love because they don't have to pay anything extra to participate in all the activities!

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

We remain student-focused, making sure that our programs are delivering what students actually want out of their study abroad experience. We review and look at what we're doing often so we stay relevant and fresh with what students are looking to get out of studying abroad in New Zealand.