Coming to a foreign country and learning English can be difficult.
But learning hospitality at the same time is an achievement and 22-year-old Ayaka Someya has done just that.
Miss Someya came to New Zealand to improve her English and have a working holiday.
She enrolled in English for Hospitality at the Fern School of English in the city centre.
During the course she realised she had a passion for hospitality and decided to stay in Auckland to gain her diploma in hospitality management at the New Zealand Management Academy.
Miss Someya took part in the prestigious Auckland Regional Culinary Fare last month, entering in the Classic Cocktail portion of the competition and winning a gold medal.
The Auckland resident was competing against more than 50 people to make two mojitos and two cosmopolitans, and was one of six to come away with a gold medal.
As well as training for the competition, Miss Someya was studying, finishing assignments and holding down a job at Japanese restaurant Ebisu, which she found hard.
"I start at the academy at 1pm and I still have to finish school then I have to go to work. At first our training was once a week, but when the competition was coming soon we trained twice a week so I had to ask my manager at my working place if I could get two days off."
Earning a gold medal has qualified Miss Someya to go to the New Zealand Culinary Fare in August – which is the national competition – though she is questioning whether she will go.
"In the near future I want to get permanent residence here. When I finish at the academy I can get a work permit for one year, but after that I have to get a work visa. I have to work harder and harder."
Miss Someya says the August competition won't be any harder than what she has just done. She would still only be required to make a mojito and cosmopolitan.
If Miss Someya does decide to compete, do not expect her to be juggling glasses and bottles.
All the fancy hand work does not guarantee a medal at the end.
"I just focus on good taste and good colour in the drink," Miss Someya says.
She may have a gold medal to prove her cocktail-making skills but Miss Someya actually prefers a glass of white wine.
– Thierry Thomas is an AUT journalism student
- © Fairfax NZ News