For International student, Jordan Vaelei (24), the decision to leave his home in Emeryville, USA to study at SAE Auckland almost 14 months ago is a decision he calls “life changing.”  

Before coming to New Zealand, he had never lived away from home, let alone the other side of the world. But, while he admits to missing home and his family at times, he says that transferring from SAE Emeryville to SAE Auckland one of the best things he’s ever done.

Jordan completed the first year at SAE, Emeryville and is now in his third year of a Bachelor of Recording Arts at SAE Auckland.

He says he decided to make the big move partly because he wanted to travel and partly because he knew he wanted to continue studying. Jordan and his mother went to talk to the advisors at SAE Emeryville. They gave Jordan some out of the box options, including SAE Auckland.

“Once they started talking about the courses at SAE Auckland and the fact they offered project-based learning I started to get really excited” says Jordan.

SAE Auckland has state of the art audio and film studios, while maintaining a close-knit community feel – Jordan enjoys and appreciates the small family feel of the campus.

“SAE looked after me all the way through. The transfer was smooth. Even when my visa took longer than expected to come through, SAE had my back. The academic advisor at SAE Auckland, Dr Stephen Small, kept in contact with me all the time and talked me through everything. I only arrived a few days before classes started. It was the weekend but Stephen met me and welcomed me the day I arrived in Auckland.”

Jordan’s mom Desiree Bilich, and his younger sister came to visit him for a two-week trip over the Christmas holidays to watch Jordan in his element.

“Studying at SAE Auckland has helped Jordan grow, mature and it has been an unforgettable experience. He’s learned how to live in another country and has made wonderful friends from all over the world.”

The SAE Auckland campus is located centrally in Parnell and Jordan walks to campus from his shared accommodation. Jordan doesn’t own a car, he says he can walk or bike almost anywhere.

“I’m not a super big city kind of guy, but I can get everywhere I need for school and then bike to the bush or the beach when I want a break. I love being close to everything. The gym, the library, the campus. The supermarket is right down the street. It’s so diverse. There’s a big pool of international people”

SAE Auckland Campus Director, Dr Suzette Major says it’s wonderful to see Jordan thriving here:

“SAE is truly global with 53 campuses across 27 countries. It’s fantastic to be able to transfer students so smoothly between campuses so they can find the exact programme that works for them.”

Jordan couldn’t be happier with the decision to transfer from Emeryville to Auckland and offers this advice to any other students considering studying abroad.

“Do it. For sure. Don’t hold back. Here at SAE Auckland they have made me feel right at home and I’m doing what I love. I miss my family and home of course, but this is worth it. It’s awesome.”

SAE Creative Media Institute offers workshops, diplomas and degrees in film making, as well as audio and music production. As a category 1 provider, SAE has been given the highest rating possible by NZQA in their most recent External Evaluation and Review.