Tauranga, New Zealand
Doctor of Audiology
“An important personal quality that I think most Zimbabweans possess is our ability to “make a plan” – to think outside the box and to look at obstacles from a different view point and work through them.”
A select number of talented Zimbabweans have been offered amazing opportunities to attend Universities abroad with scholarships in academia and sports. After representing Zimbabwe in the national women’s team when in high school, Holly Wiles received a field hockey scholarship to Boston University in the USA where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Speech and Hearing Sciences. Keen to continue in the field, she attended graduate school at Northwestern University, just outside Chicago – graduating with a Doctorate in Audiology.
Her passion for her patients comes out in conversation when she describes it as a privilege to be able to help those with hearing disabilities. Now working at a Hearing Clinic in Tauranga, New Zealand, Holly moved to New Zealand almost two years ago after studying and working in different parts of the USA for 9 years. She worked in San Francisco, California and for two years in Denver, Colorado but never really felt completely settled in America. This in addition to the commonly-expressed difficulty in obtaining work visas in the USA led her to the search for a job elsewhere in the world.
She applied for a job online and found New Zealand to be a country that welcomes young, well educated people. She finally found a place where she fit in,
“Moving here was the best thing for me personally, the people are humble, laid back and very welcoming and friendly – it reminds me of Zimbabwe in so many ways and I think that’s why I love it so much.”
Holly took with her the highly regarded Zimbabwean work ethic that instils the importance of not shying away from hard work – a valuable quality for anyone living in a foreign country.
“I’m not afraid to get my teeth into a challenge and prove myself – this is something a foreigner often has to do when trying to settle into a different environment and culture.”
One of the many highlights of her career so far as a result of her hard work is graduating with a doctorate degree,
“It was certainly a big highlight and not something I thought I would achieve, having the opportunity to do so is something I will forever be grateful for.”
Holly holds her upbringing responsible for her ability to live in three different countries and deal with various sorts of people from different walks of life. She realised that although Zimbabwe is a small country, we should be grateful for our worldliness, our diversity and our broad general knowledge of other countries and cultures, valuable attributes that many she has come across in her time abroad do not have.
“…what surprises me time and time again is how little people know about Zimbabwe and Africa in general. The fact that I am a white Zimbabwean is a concept that so many have a hard time grasping and some of the questions I get asked can be awfully ignorant that you can’t help but laugh!”
One of the deeply emotional downsides of being away from Zimbabwe has been the distance from family and friends. Amongst any people living abroad as migrants in a host country, it is important to acknowledge the psychological impact of distance. Today it is made better through easier communication through telephone and web chat, video and photo moment sharing applications. But this does not fully count for the loss of easily accessible support networks.
“I was pushed out of my comfort zone very quickly and the hardest thing for me was being away from my solid network. Being so far away from my family and friends is something that I continue to struggle with, even 11 years down the line.”
Holly counts herself lucky to be where she is now, living in and traveling so much of the world, but the reality of being uprooted from Zimbabwe leaves her and many other Zimbabweans abroad experiencing difficulty finding a place “to really call home again” and that can be extremely unsettling on a deep level.
“My heart breaks when I think of all the Zimbabweans scattered all across the world – separated from their family and friends – most of us would change this situation if we could.”
Holly maintains her connection and attachment to Zimbabwe by making annual or at the very least biannual visits to spend time with friends and family.
“Going back home is something that grounds me – Zimbabwe holds an extremely big part of my heart and I think it’s important that I remember where I’ve come from and to stay connected to that.”
Zimbabweans can be found in many countries around the globe and one common theme that Holly has found that amazes her is that nearly every single Zimbabwean she meets abroad holds a special love and passion for the country,
“…if we had the opportunity to come together and pool the skills and knowledge we have gained as individuals then there would be no stopping us shining as a nation.”
As a Zimbabwean with such a specialised profession, Holly’s skills and knowledge can definitely be for the benefit of Zimbabwe if partnerships can be established in the healthcare sectors.
Holly’s Dream for Zimbabwe
“I dream of a Zimbabwe where our children can grow up with a stable and secure future –
Not having to go overseas to study and/or work and never returning because the opportunities are elsewhere.
Zimbabwe has produced tremendous talent –
Looking around the globe and seeing all the individuals flying our flag high – in sports, business, academics, art, music, dance, acting – the list is endless.
I dream of a Zimbabwe that not only produces but retains all this skill and expertise –
What a force our country would be in all facets of life!
I dream of a Zimbabwe that thrives, where we, her people and our children are truly happy and proud, not only of our history, but also of our future.”
Do you know someone who you think should become a Zimbassador? Please use the nomination form on this page to let us know so that we get in touch with them.
Please come and join the community over at our forums!