Starting afresh in a new country far from home and family is tough, but some overseas students, while spending thousands of dollars to try and get a decent education, face more obstacles than most.

An education without work experience isn't worth much, visa requirements are strict and must be renewed regularly, and an employer's cooperation is needed.

A Foxton man from Nepal came to Horowhenua from Tauranga earlier this year to work as a duty manager at a Levin cafe with the promise their head office would help him extend his visa - something that isn't happening.

Prabin Pudasaini, 26, trained at Tauranga's National Technology Institute and received a Level 5 Diploma in Hospitality Management after two years of study.


He has also clocked up three years' work experience at a five-star hotel, where he did table service as well as housekeeping and barkeeping, was the lounge supervisor at Air New Zealand's Koru Lounge in Queenstown where he supervised 11 staff.

He also did customer service for a backpacker hostel, and managed a cafe. He worked as a barista, was a kitchen hand at a restaurant and a hospital.

He has certificates in food safety and handling, a liquor licence, a certificate as a barista and a certificate in food hygiene. He is now ready to take on a General Manager's Certificate, for which he needs a job in a cafe or restaurant with a liquor licence.

He said he enjoys being independent and is eager to learn new things.

"I came to New Zealand to gain knowledge from a different perspective." He studied hospitality in Nepal and even started a Bachelor's degree, but a sense of adventure brought him to New Zealand.

His open work visa expires in October and one of its requirements is an hourly wage of at least $21.50.

"I would love a supervisory position that would allow me to extend my liquor licence."

Finding work is hard for overseas students, he said. Eleven of his 18 Nepalese classmates have already gone home, disappointed and defeated by the obstacles as well as the sense of being a stranger in a strange land.


Nepali parents have to fork out big money for their children to study here and they do so in the hope it will give their children a better future, so the pressure to succeed is enormous.

Prabin said he has also found that many immigrants have to work long hours in hospitality for minimum wage, and sometimes less.

Prabin is looking for more opportunities to gain experience, including how to run a business, before he returns home to start his own tourism venture. Nepal is very tourist oriented and has plenty of opportunities, but experience is vital.

Prabin's landlord, Jackie Combes, describes him as a very kind, well-spoken young man, willing to do anything.

"He is a go-getter and highly independent. He feels the isolation, being so far from home but he is firmly focused on his goals and they keep him here."

She's worked in hospitality herself, and would consider Prabin an asset to any business.

"I have learnt so much here in New Zealand and besides gaining more work experience, I would love the chance to give back to a Kiwi business," Prabin said.

Employers who may have a job for Prabin can contact him via the Horowhenua Chronicle: 366 0257 or