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Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

10 mins ago

Lisa Rist was a horse trainer and riding instructor before deciding to become a teacher.

After years pursuing a very different career, EIT Bachelor of Teaching student Lisa Rist is now set to become a primary teacher with her last assignments just around the corner. Deciding to change profession wasn’t the first time that the 39-year-old mum-of two has embraced the unknown.

Lisa was born in Sweden and grew up on a small farm with lots of animals. Since she was a small child, Lisa has had a love for horses. Turning this passion into a career was practically a no-brainer. In her twenties Lisa moved to Iceland and worked on a farm where she trained Icelandic horses. To gain the depth of knowledge needed for her work she studied Equine Science at Hólar University College. By a curious twist of fate, Lisa met her Kiwi husband Mark who was studying arctic char (cold-water fish) at the same university’s Ecology department.

The couple moved to Sweden where Lisa launched her own business and their children, Noah (8) and Freyja (6), were born. Mark struggled to find the right job in his specialised area, and so the family decided to move to New Zealand. “When we arrived here 4.5 years ago there were only around 50 Icelandic horses in the country, and I had no appropriate facilities to train them. I realised quickly that I needed to refocus.”

Lisa’s mother had mentioned many times before that her daughter would be a great teacher. Lisa took her advice to heart feeling certain that she would enjoy it. “Clearly, it was a big thing to commit to three years of studying again but it was definitely the right choice. The lecturers are truly amazing and they perfectly complement each other. I really appreciate EIT’s practise-based approach. We spend many weeks on placements in different schools and gain some valuable insights and work experience. Almost every graduate has been able to find employment straight after completing the degree which adds value to the programme.”

Lisa says she has settled well into New Zealand life. Yet, she is missing family, friends, the family farm and the long Swedish winters. The family had planned to travel to Sweden in July but had to defer the trip due to COVID-19. “We haven’t ruled out returning to live in Sweden one day, so it’s good to know that my EIT degree will also be recognised there,” Lisa says.

During the upcoming months, Lisa will finish her last courses and keep an eye out for job opportunities. “I’m looking forward to the next phase. It might sound funny but there are many parallels between working with horses and children. It’s all about establishing a meaningful relationship. You need to earn both trust and respect to teach them.” 

MIL OSI