A wide-eyed Erick Cardona Espinosa will walk through the gates at Bishop Viard College for the first time this week.
The 12-year-old Colombian and his family have been in New Zealand since November, after three years as refugees in Ecuador. They left their homeland to escape the civil war and violence that has torn Colombia apart.
Erick told Kapi-Mana News he was nervous about his first days at Viard, especially as the family arrived in Porirua too late last year to get acquainted with his new school.
Last week he had no books, no stationery, no uniform and only a vague idea of what comprised a Kiwi day at school.
In Colombia, the school day starts at 7am and finishes early in the afternoon.
Learning English, making new friends and playing football were high on Erick's list of priorities, and he was keen to get stuck into subjects like maths, IT, music and art.
"I will have to pay a lot of attention and learn as fast as I can."
Porirua has a strong Colombian community - 35 families in all - so an immediate support network was available to Erick's family. Many of the Colombian children attend Viard, which is used to taking refugee students.
Kapi-Mana News wishes to thank Gabrielle Peralta Montane from Porirua Refugee Services for translating during our interview with Erick and his family.
- Kapi-Mana News