Cindy HuongCindy Nuong did her research before coming to New Zealand. “When I was still in Vietnam, I researched education in different places. I decided on New Zealand because of the good education system, friendly citizens and the beautiful nature.”

Cindy completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Business at Massey University in 2019 and now works as an Asset Management Officer at Palmerston North City Council.

Why Manawatū?

Cindy’s decision to come to Palmerston North and study at Massey University was easy. She wanted to live in a smaller city where the lifestyle is quite peaceful and the living costs are manageable. She had already found out that the Massey business course had a good reputation.

Now that Cindy lives in Palmerston North, she loves the short commute times, the multi-cultural mix of people in the city and the nature around her. Cindy says “I love to be able to see nature out of my window”.

Getting Work Ready

Cindy is a very methodical person, and she applies this approach to everything she does, making sure that she has a plan and she follows it.

While she was studying, she had a part-time job, working at a sushi shop.

She also volunteered (and still volunteers) with the Massey Guides, Massey University Students’ Association, Manawatū Multicultural Centre, and Manawatū Network of Skilled Migrants. This helped her to develop her skills, her networks and relationships with many different people, and get used to living in New Zealand.

When Cindy started her course, she had to select some elective papers. To make sure she chose wisely she booked an appointment with an adviser at the Massey University Career Hub. She asked the adviser what types of skills were in high demand and chose elective papers that would match those skill needs and build on her undergraduate degree and prior work experience.

When it came to job hunting, Cindy focused her job search. She only wanted to apply for jobs that required the skills she had developed through her experience and study. But when she first started looking she found it hard to understand what job titles or positions would suit her and she ended up wasting time with unsuitable job searches. To ensure she didn’t do this again, Cindy applied her research skills. She got advice from workshops, club meetings and experienced advisors and took the time to figure out the best key words to use when searching for job advertisements.

Cindy explained that when she applied for jobs, she would adjust her cover letter and CV to focus on what the employer wanted – “that’s something I learned – every job application needed its own unique cover letter and CV.”

Cindy also worked hard on her CV. She found a format that got it down to one page – as she decided that employers who have multiple applications don’t want to read long CV’s.

Cindy found the job search sites ‘Seek’ and ‘Massey Career Hub’ were the most useful for her.

Getting Her Job

Even though Cindy was very methodical about searching for job opportunities on websites, she first heard about the job she got from the Network of Skilled Migrants Manawatū club she volunteers at – with great encouragement from other club members! Once Cindy found out about the opportunity, she was able to find the job description and apply for the job.

Her carefully planned approach of identifying what she wanted to do, focused searching, networking, and applying for the right types of jobs paid off!

Top Tips for Job Seekers

  • Volunteering can help you improve your skills and develop relationships with people, which will help you in many ways.

Cindy says, “For me it was important to study hard and get good grades, but I still wanted to volunteer so I could develop my network, share my kindness, show my respect to local multicultural people and develop my skills to integrate well into the local community.”

  • Use the opportunities that are available to you.

Cindy says, “If your university or education organisation runs workshops (to help you with job hunting) you should go and do them.”

Top Tips for Employers

  • Remember international students have experience with adapting to different situations.

Cindy says, “Our background gives us an advantage in multicultural working environments. It is easier for us to integrate and we will work respectfully and well with other cultures.”

  • International students who have studied in New Zealand (especially a student who enjoys volunteering while studying) have experienced Kiwi culture and developed skills to help them live in New Zealand.

Cindy says, “those students can fit in easier than you would expect.”

Want to find out more?

Hear from other international students on their experience living and studying in Palmerston North.

Discover more.

Manawatū Region

Facts & Figures

Total Population


International Students


Each year Palmerston North welcomes 3,000 international students to the region.

Population Born Outside Palmerston North


Palmerston North has a diverse and vibrant population, with 130 cultures and 90 languages spoken.

Average Weekly Rent


Median Salary


Parks & Reserves


Cafes & Restaurants