Mariana Balbino De Almeida and her husband first visited New Zealand in 2012. It left a lasting impression on them, because after they both graduated with Bachelor’s in Tourism and Hospitality, the couple left Sao Paulo, Brazil to come and live in NZ.
“We’ve made beautiful Aotearoa home for the past 8 years. We decided to come to NZ because we wanted to experience a different culture and learn a different language”.
Now a resident here, Mariana, who has a background in retail, management, Visual Merchandising and customer service, didn’t want to miss the chance to become a qualified Beauty Therapist (The course wasn't available in Queenstown for a couple of years and came back this year 2020).
“I saw this amazing opportunity right on my doorstep. I chose to study at SIT because it has a reputation of being an excellent training institute, and friends that really enjoyed studying at SIT in the past, recommended it to me”.
“The inspiration for me to become a beauty therapist came from my mother, as she used to be a nail technician and always looks after herself. I was very lucky to grow up surrounded by all sorts of beauty products and tools from manicure/pedicure, waxing, makeup and facial creams”.
When she started the Level 4 Certificate in Beauty Therapy, Mariana said everything was very familiar, and she felt she was in the right place.
“The beauty world has always been part of me and after 10 years of working in retail, I decided to slow down and look after myself and my wellbeing, and this was the best decision ever!”
Mariana said the course has opened her horizons, and she’s learnt in-depth, how to recognize skin problems, diseases, nail conditions, and how to solve problems or adapt the treatment to what best suits the client.
Subjects studied in the course: Anatomy & Physiology, Small Business, Nutrition, Cosmetic Science, Dermatology, Spray Tanning, Make-up & Ingredients, Facial treatments, Waxing, Manicure & Pedicure Techniques, Relaxation Massage, Health/Safety & Hygiene.
“The most important and valuable part of this course for me is definitely the Health, Safety & Hygiene processes and procedures” she said.
During studying and training, Mariana said she’s had the most enjoyment from the practical classes.
“We were able to practice the treatments on each other, and try a variety of techniques and products during our treatments”.
2020 has had some challenges with COVID-19, Mariana lost her retail job because of the pandemic, and she said it was a very hard year for the students, studying from home, trying to keep motivated and not giving up. They had a Facebook group so they could discuss the homework/assignments and help one another.
“I tried to be positive and keep up with a fun energy. It was so nice to see that 4 of us have got jobs already and to see how far we’ve come, and I’m still growing as a therapist. Loving it!”
Mariana said without a doubt, her classmates and tutors have been the highlight of her course!
“We were a team of 6 in total which made everything easier in our learning environment. Our tutor could watch us closely during the treatments and guide us throughout every step. We helped, supported and cared for each other and we created a fun and close team”.
“Our tutors were very experienced and were always helping us to achieve the best of ourselves. I am very proud of my colleagues and what we achieved together despite the uncertainty and difficult year for everyone”.
She also completed a brow design and lash lift course (2019 Inspired Beauty, Auckland) and a Micro-needling course (SIT brought World Beauté from Auckland to provide this course).
“I paid for these courses myself and opened my own mobile business”.
Mariana’s study journey continues as she learns new therapies, she’s about to complete a Diploma in Aromatherapy through online learning, and next year she’s starting Te Reo Maori Level 1 and 2 through SIT on Monday nights.
Employed locally, and doing what she loves and has trained for, Mariana wants to continue learning and improving in her vocation.
“I can easily see myself studying again and keeping up-to-date with the newest treatments and products in the market. I also aspire to own and run my own business in the future”.