Graduate Testimonials


Graduates Speak About What Studying At Kalandra Has Meant To Them


Cristina Manzanero 

When I first enquired about studying, the campus manager Christine was very approachable and helped me get all the information I needed from start to finish. My initial thought was would I be able to do this? It took a lot of courage because I needed to go to work and was now choosing to study again for the second time. As the course progressed, I began to like the study because I could easily share my work experiences and also learn from the experiences of my classmates.

The programme has really helped me to be a better Health Carer. I now understand dementia and how it effects the lives of people suffering with it and I have increased patience when dealing with my dementia care clients. I wouldn’t have been able to pursue this course or achieve another milestone without the mentoring of Christine and the extreme support and patience of my tutor Nataliya.

Maraea Tauhinu 

I enrolled in the Certificate in Mental Health Support (Dementia Care) (Level 4) and was a student at Kalandra Education Group from April 2018 to February 2019, graduating in June 2019.

It was a big challenge for me to start studying again as I had left school at 15 and am now 58 years old. The team at Kalandra guided me all the way through from the day l started to the day I graduated. They helped me apply for Fees-Free as I was a first-time student. They helped me to set up my student allowance and to get a mental health grant with Career Force.  The Facilities were bright, clean and welcoming and I really enjoyed my class, my teacher, and everything I was learning. My teacher Janene was wonderful and helped me to understand how to learn and how to understand what I was learning.

I have gained so much knowledge about Health and Wellbeing, Social and Community Services, and Mental Health in the Elderly. I now know the different diseases that affect the aged and how to identify them, their care needs and services that are available to provide help. I have greater understanding and compassion for  elderly people and how to respect each person’s culture, privacy, values and rights, and the importance of confidentiality. I learned about the significance of boundaries for myself and for others, and the importance of communication, collaboration and teamwork with colleagues. One of the most valuable things our teacher taught our class was self-care - how to look after yourself through reflective diaries, meditation, rest, good health and doing things you enjoy doing.

While studying, Kalandra arranged my work placement in a care home that lead to a job offer as a Health Care Assistant and I now work at Waitakere Hospital. Because I love nursing and get great job satisfaction from helping people, and enjoyed my time studying at Kalandra, I want to explore my options for further nursing studies.

My family are very proud of me for going back to learning as an adult student. I also feel proud of my achievement and how much studying and creating a new career in Healthcare has changed my life.

Julie Watt

I have worked in the health sector since 2007 - initially as a Health Carer Assistant where I had two jobs, working 6 days a week. But I felt I was stuck and not getting ahead so I transitioned to home support with Mycare where I was offered the opportunity of a scholarship from Kalandra to study the Level 4, Health and Wellbeing Certificate in Dementia care.  

I felt so blessed and overwhelmed with happiness, as I had never been given an opportunity in my entire 13-year career in Health Support to step up to Level 4.

The online study meant I could manage the course in my hours after work.  I stuck to my goal, of doing it for an hour each night after work and when I could in the afternoons on the weekends. The tutors were so supportive, and always responded quickly on email with help to my questions. There was also a facebook group for us where the tutors supported us and we could help each other.

Even though I didn’t know anyone we drove up to Auckland from Wellington for my graduation.  It was good to see everyone graduating and to meet my online tutors who were lovely. Everyone was feeling so proud and happy to be celebrating their achievement. My husband and son were proud, and it was a very special moment for me. I felt I had done what I had always wanted to and I am very appreciative to my tutor and the Kalandra team for this opportunity.

I now feel I am a step up in my Health Sector career. The Level 4 certificate has added value to my qualifications and will make me more eligible for other roles. I have a lot more confidence in my skills and ability to cope when dealing with dementia client behaviour and know how to handle behaviours which can be challenging if you don’t understand what is happening. I recommend for others to do this. As it is online you can do it in your time and will have fantastic support from the team at Kalandra.

Ann Uale  

I love my work in a Dementia Care unit where every day and situation is different. My training at Kalandra means I understand Dementia and what my patients are experiencing so I know how to communicate and find out what they need, and how to help them feel calm and happy. I know the patients are individual people and understand how important it is to treat them with kindness. Before I started studying at Kalandra I looked after my grandma for a long time, so I think of her often when I am caring for other people.

Enrolling in the 46-week Certificate has given me the chance to learn and change my life. I used to be on a benefit but through Kalandra I received a work placement at Kumeu Resthome Dementia Care Unit which led to being offered a permanent job there. Now I have a future I look forward to and work that matters to me. I also have a much higher income and can support my family better than I could before.

I plan to keep learning and have encouraged my community to enrol at Kalandra where the training has changed their lives too. My son sees me caring for other people and says he now wants to be a doctor and do the same as me. I feel really happy about that and proud about all the knowledge I have gained.


Lois Filipi 

I really enjoy my job as a Health Care Assistant now because after studying at Kalandra, and getting so much support from my tutor, I know how to care for older people and give them the best care. I used to be scared and unsure. But now I know what I am doing and am confident in myself and my knowledge.

My manager is very happy with me which makes me feel comfortable at work and really good about my future.

Eslam Gadallah 

I came to Auckland recently and struggled to get a job. It was difficult for me to make the decision to start studying at my age but the scholarship from Kalandra really motivated me to do something.

The amazing teachers and staff worked with me so I could learn the course curriculum and understand NZ education standards. It was through their help and support that I was able to graduate and start my career as a mental health support worker with Kahui Tu kaha .   The programme showed me how I can help my clients set their goals, write an achievement plan and then my role is to work alongside them to help each client achieve those goals.  I try to apply everything I studied to my work each day.

I want to share my experience of Kalandra as It may help some people to take the same first step. It is not too late to start with Kalandra.

Sally Jory 

Before enrolling in the Level 4 Dementia Care programme I had achieved Core Competencies Level 3 with Careerforce and had worked in Health Support roles for a long time. I decided to enrol and upskill as I was waiting for a hip replacement and working through Mycare when the Kalandra scholarship opportunity was offered to us.

While I now work for the Royal District Nursing Service, and am not specifically working with Dementia Care patients, many of the skills and knowledge learned in the course is valuable and helpful to me and my clients. The Certificate programme taught me better inter-personal skills, patient advocacy, teamwork, the importance of being transparent and passing on information, self-care and ways of reducing stress.

I thought the online study was straightforward and simple to manage. The course was challenging and interesting and the staff explained what was needed when I was unsure.



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