First Samoan to graduate from Northwestern Polytechnic China

Newly graduated masters degree holder, Valasi Areta Ah Kuoi, of Vaiusu, Vailele and Salelologa, says dreams can come true in the most unexpected places. 

A few months after undergoing quarantine period at the Faleolo Health Centre upon arrival from China in February this year, Ms. Ah Kuoi was notified that she had successfully completed her Master of Management Science in Business Administration.

The former Avele College student has been in China for more than two years to complete her Masters at the Northwestern Polytechnic University (N.P.U.) in Xi'an China.

Ms. Ah Kuoi, 31, is the first Samoan to attend the N.P.U. which is a research-oriented, multi-disciplinary and international university of science and technology. 

As one of the Samoan students spread across mainland China and the only Samoan attending the university, Ms. Ah Kuoi was no stranger to homesickness. 

But Ms. Ah Kuoi was determined to complete her Masters with flying colours.

"My achievement and this qualification is dedicated to my lifetime warrior who passed away just months before the completion of my studies, My mother/grandmother Talaleu Talaopatina Leiataualesā Ah Kuoi," she said.

It was her grandmother's passing earlier in the year that pushed her to take the risk of travelling all the way, even before the completion of her studies.

As the global pandemic panic took hold, Ms. Ah Kuoi was focused on one thing only and that was to make it to her grandmother's funeral.

Asked what prompted her to get into the field of management, she said it was six years spent at the Samoa Airport Authority (S.A.A.) as an employee.

Ms. Ah Kuoi, who always dreamed of being a teacher as a child, said it was at the S.A.A. where she discovered her interest in learning and realising what she wanted to do.

She focused on every aspect of management from hiring and firing the right employees to upholding her morale and commitment to the organisation.

Successfully motivating and helping her colleagues is a point of achievement for her. 

"From the (S.A.A.) my perspective changed on what I wanted to do,” she said. “I saw the many opportunities brought forward working as a Human Resource Officer as well as the knowledge and experience obtained and was motivated to study and learn more about the fields of Administration/HRM and Management.”

"H.R. mainly deals with the employees' grievances and recruitment and I loved it as it helps me interact more with employees and gave me the chance to know them better.  

"Moreover, I am able to help them whenever they have grievances towards the employer which makes me think that I am helping them workwise."

Ms. Ah Kuoi hopes to use the knowledge and experience gained in her postgraduate education to give back to the Government of Samoa as a token of her appreciation for the opportunity to study abroad.

In a parting advice to those who may also have an interest in the field of human resources, she said: "the sky is never the limit."

"Whatever goals you have, no matter how hard it is, you can always achieve them if you put your mind and heart into it. Remember to always put God first."

She is the daughter of Methodist pastor, Reverend Samuelu and Pativaine Areta.

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