When your passion is to enact change, education can be the pathway to do this.
But what if you also need a pathway to get you to that education institution?
The Sofiri online global digital platform provides just such a pathway.
Brenda Akinya Muga, from Kenya, wanted to study abroad, so began researching where she could achieve her postgraduate goals, eventually deciding on New Zealand’s University of Otago.
“My passion lies in research and making a change,” Brenda says. “I was attracted to the University of Otago because of the research that they carry out. I felt like I would gain a lot in terms of knowing how to use and develop modern technologies and…use the knowledge…to carry out research back in my country Kenya.”
However, Brenda learned quickly that no matter how much initial research she could do online, getting clear information about the application process could prove challenging.
“The requirements tend to be overwhelming and one might miss out on providing or following up with some critical information,” she notes.
George Hernandez, Sofiri’s CEO and founder, states this is precisely what lay behind him developing Sofiri’s global digital platform.
“Sofiri and its IQAP partners offer web and mobile apps that prospective students can use to connect with education experts (staff, counsellors, agents, student ambassadors, alumni, etc) to guide them through the application journey.”
And for Brenda, Marcus De Freitas was a crucial part of this journey.
Originally from Brazil, Marcus had lived abroad in several countries for nearly a decade. He heard about Sofiri from a good friend who worked in the education sector. With his experiences travelling and around the intricacies of heading to a new country, the role at Sofiri seemed the perfect fit for Marcus.
“I had worked out all my visas myself and also helped friends move to either Australia or New Zealand” Marcus says from his home in France, where he now resides with his wife.
Brenda learned about Sofiri from her academic advisor, who pointed her to it after hearing positive stories from others.
“The moment I signed up to Sofiri and told them what and where I was planning to study, they asked me to pick a personal advisor. I picked Marcus, [although] all the other advisors also seemed friendly.”
Marcus outlines the tricky situation Brenda found herself in and why she reached out to Sofiri for help.
“[Brenda] had an offer for a scholarship at Otago University and needed to get the formalities done to be accepted at the university and…to get her visa granted.”
However, the scholarships department at the university required further clarification of her offer.
“It took us (Brenda, her tutor, the university, Sofiri and I) lots of emails and time for it to be properly done.”
Thankfully for Brenda, Marcus guided her through the entire process, which was made much easier thanks to the Sofiri platform.
“With Marcus, it was easier for him to understand what stage of the application I was at. I always feel comfortable talking to a person rather than an automated machine. So, I loved that I [could] communicate with a real person.”
For Marcus, it was all part of the job – a job he feels makes all the difference for students like Brenda as they tackle the university application process. Marcus believes that Sofiri’s team of student experts from a range of cultures and backgrounds helps instil a greater sense of confidence in prospective students Sofiri assists.
They walked with me throughout the process of getting into New Zealand. I did not feel alone.”– Brenda Akinyi Muga
Key to this, he says, is that “most ‘standard’ student agencies focus on one or only a few countries. Sofiri gives a lot more choice…[and] you can communicate with your advisor on the platform of your choice (Messenger, What’s app, Sofiri’s app, Zoom)”
Brenda navigated the application and enrolment process with the help of Marcus, but because of COVID restrictions, she began her studies online. However, a New Zealand government program allowing a select number of qualified postgraduate students into the country, and the continued guidance of Marcus, meant Brenda finally made it to Otago to undertake her studies face to face once she completed quarantine.
Marcus’s main advice to those looking to study overseas?
“Don’t be scared! It’s a big move…but there are really qualified [people] with real experiences on the other side of the screen. With Sofiri you’ll have someone…who facilitates the communication and can be a game-changer on the decision.”
Back in Australia, George backs this up, happy that Marcus and Sofiri’s global digital platform could assist Brenda.
“She is the perfect example of how an education expert can assist fully online aspiring students even when they are not from the same citizenship, first language or location.”
Brenda couldn’t be happier.
“I am so grateful for Sofiri and specifically my advisor Marcus. They walked with me throughout the process of getting into New Zealand. I did not feel alone.”
For more information about Otago scholarships or courses for international students at The University of Otago, and start an application, you just have to register and choose an education expert to guide you and resolve any concerns you might have, as well as advise you for free even in your visa process.
And the best of all? Using Sofiri is completely free. If you accept an offer at a university or college, you will pay the same fees as if you were going directly to a university.
You can start right now by clicking on the next button.