News Story

A Pathway to Better Lives and Hope for the Future

Two couples who have immigrated to New Zealand from Brazil and Tonga say the BYU-Pathway Worldwide program not only helped them improve their language, knowledge, and job skills, but it also opened up doors to a better life and new hope for their family’s futures.

Andressa Develis and her husband Andre of Birkenhead, and Mosese and Ralueri Unga of Totara Vale, are two examples of the benefits BYU-Pathway offers working individuals and couples who are looking for ways to expand their economic futures. They say the ability to tailor the learning experience to the needs of the students involved is the real plus of this on-line education program.

Andressa Develis checks out an online class she needs to complete her degree program through BYU-Pathway.© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Develis’ moved from Brazil to New Zealand in 2018, a year after they were married. Andressa says her English then was restricted to a few phrases such as, “good morning” or “thank you.” Fortunately, Andre had more exposure to English due to his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and that helped them get established in their new environment.

Andressa explains, “I was raised by my grandparents in a small town in Brazil and we were really poor. The customs there are that you have to be very smart to join a public university, which is reserved for only the best students.”

“I was just an average student so because of my situation, I didn’t get that opportunity.”

She eventually found a nursing course she could afford but wasn’t really interested in—she just wanted to further her education. After she graduated from that program Andressa and Andre decided to move to New Zealand, hoping they would find greater opportunities there.

Andressa Develis
Andressa Develis
Andressa Develis, Birkenhead, New Zealand© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Upon arriving, Andressa looked for ways to improve her English skills. She attended language classes and went to work for several families tending their children. “That helped my English progress a lot— language immersion is key!”

But Andressa yearned for greater opportunities to grow and progress professionally. In 2020 she was accepted into the BYU-Pathway program and completed her general proficiencies in English and Mathematics before earning a Teaching English as a Foreign Language certification under the Professional Studies degree. That opened all kinds of opportunities for her.

“That’s what I love about BYU-Pathway. It’s a pathway to marketable skills,” she says. “It’s a flexible pathway to a bachelor’s degree, and you can work in a job and achieve your certificates along the way.”

After completing her TEFL certificate, Andressa later took online courses in communications through Ensign College in Salt Lake City, Utah USA, and has since completed a certificate in Social Media Marketing. She said she knew she was on the right pathway professionally when she had the opportunity to help with the social media efforts for Auckland's “Light the World” Giving Machine last December.

“Social media can be quite a challenging space, but I think it can be used in positive ways,” she explained. “That experience with the Giving Machine helped me see how I could use it to make a positive difference in the lives of others.”

“BYU-Pathway has blessed me with a constant drive to seek better opportunities,” Andressa says. “That’s a lesson I will carry with me the rest of my life.”

Meanwhile, the Unga's were married in Tonga and then moved to New Zealand with plans to attend university. In church one Sunday they overheard a conversation about BYU-Pathway and were intrigued.

Mosese and Ralueri Unga show some of the certificates they have received as a part of BYU-Pathway.© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

They learned that tuition fees were far less than many other university courses, and they could continue to work while they worked on their degrees. They had talked in the past about owning their own business and BYU-Pathway looked like it could help them achieve that goal.

“My husband has a passion for carpentry and automotive work, and I had studied travel and tourism here in New Zealand but had decided not to pursue it,” Ralueri said. “We saw BYU-Pathway as an opportunity to explore business studies.”

Mosese added that when he first came to New Zealand it was on a work visa, so many companies wouldn’t hire him for better jobs due to his lack of the necessary credentials.

Mosese and Ralueri Unga, Totara Vale, New Zealand.© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

“I found a job in the scaffolding business because no one else would hire me,” he reflected. “I wanted to study, but because of my visa status the cost of education here was just too expensive.”

“Since my wife was already enrolled in BYU-Pathway, I decided to join as well,” he said.

The Unga’s started their first semester together in 2020 and have moved quickly through their programs. Mosese completed his BYU-Pathway certificates in July 2021 and continued to online courses with Brigham Young University-Idaho.

“I’m pursuing a bachelor’s degree in professional studies, which involves three certificates: Auto Service Technology, Computer Support, and Computer-Aided Design and Drafting,” he says.

Meanwhile, Ralueri said BYU-Pathway helped her chart a course that can result in the couple spending their lives eventually working together. “While my initial career path was in travel and tourism, BYU-Pathway allowed me to pivot toward a different future—one where we might eventually run our own business.”

“I have my associate of applied science degree in Applied Business Management, and I’m currently in my last few semesters towards completing a Bachelor of Applied Business Management with Brigham Young University-Idaho in December,” she says.

Both currently hold full-time jobs—Ralueri with a bank and Mosese working for a home improvement retailer. Along with their current classes through BYU-Idaho, they also serve as service missionaries facilitating a BYU-Pathway class and attend once-a-week in-person gatherings teaching religion classes and helping other BYU-Pathway students with their educational journey.

“We often get asked how we manage it all, and our answer is simple: prayer and faith guide us through every step,” Mosese said. “It’s been quite a journey, and we’ve learned to manage our time more effectively.”

“You pray for help and somehow the Lord makes that time work out. Even though you only have 24 hours, time just seems to expand,” he said. “I don’t know how it happens, but He helps everything just fit in.”

For more information about BYU-Pathway Worldwide and the opportunities available to further your education through this online program, click here.

Watch this informative video about the BYU-Pathway Worldwide program.

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