It is fascinating to see the different reasons people come to study at Invercargill - or New Zealand in general.
A young man on my course, for example: he is gay, but his parents don't know that; and the reason he's studying in New Zealand is kind of just that - him trying to get away from his parents so he can live his life in a way that allows him to have meaningful relationships with people he's actually attracted to.
He has said that if his parents found out he's gay, they'd probably disown him. Not just in terms of funding his studies at SIT, but the whole deal - disown him - and he does not want that.
And so to disguise the fact that he's gay (which, in itself, has been a big thing for him to come public with because in New Zealand, amongst other people his age, he can do so without fearing rejection - he's free to live his life, feeling accepted and encouraged) he uses every opportunity he gets to take selfies with women, which he posts on his Facebook page, which his parents then follow.
The women are friends, classmates, people he meets at parties, at gym - but his parents don't necessarily know that, because the aim is to keep his parents convinced that he's straight.
It's sad, but I'm also glad that he's had the opportunity to come here.
Kind of like I'm glad that Invercargill exists, and funds my studies, because if it weren't for Invercargill and SIT, I wouldn't have the opportunity to study quantity surveying the way I am doing at the moment. If I did it in Christchurch, I'd be overworked and broke.
Here, I can actually live my life in a way that works for my family. And I'm very, very grateful for that.