In Your Words: Tertiary Graduate Amy Tsao

Amy Tsao – Hillary Outdoors Certificate in Outdoor Adventure Skills and Leadership Graduate 2008. Park Ranger, Auckland Council

Amy Tsao Hillary OutdoorsWithout doubt 2008 was one of the best years of my life. It was challenging in the ways we had to push ourselves, mentally physically and emotionally – to push our bodies and the conditions we had to work in.

It’s a bit difficult to pick out the best times. The remoteness of the places we lived and worked in meant we formed close relationships with the people we interacted with. It also meant I got to explore places of untouched beauty that I wouldn’t have got to venture into otherwise.

I ended up instructing for about 18 months, contracting both here in NZ and in Canada. I enjoyed the places the job took me, and the people I met along the way. The skills and confidence I gained from my year at Hillary Outdoors helped me relate to people from all walks of life.

I intended to be an outdoor education teacher, and I went down to Christchurch Polytechnic. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to follow through with this plan due to the devastating 2011 earthquakes.

I ended up having to relocate back to Auckland suffering from PTSD and glandular fever before studying a Bachelor of Science at the University of Auckland focusing on environmental management and social geographies. In my last year I worked as a Summer Ranger Intern at the Auckland Regional Council and was then offered a permanent position as a Park Ranger at Auckland Council.

It’s a diverse and interesting role and I get a good mix of work in the field and in the office. I’m also well supported in training and development. I still have opportunities to pursue my outdoor and teaching interest in environmental education by taking school groups out.

The skills I picked up at Hillary Outdoors helped me deal with future challenges: the resilience and emotional intelligence I learned during my year with Hillary Outdoors really helped give me emotional grounding.

I wasn’t entirely sure what outdoor career I wanted when I did the course, just that I wanted to do a whole lot of exciting outdoor pursuits and have a lot of fun, but I gained a whole lot more than just the hard skills like rock climbing, tramping, and kayaking. I also developed a set of soft skills that help you out in life. like self-confidence and leadership schools to be able to lead different groups in a variety of settings.

For anyone thinking about tertiary studies with Hillary Outdoors: It will definitely be a year of adrenaline, adventure or personal growth. You’ll cry, laugh and be terrified or you’ll come out with a wealth of knowledge.

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