Senior takes a year off to go help out in New Zealand

Working on the student film Nick and the Ne'er-Do-Wells last year.

Valdiviedo-Sinyakov working on the student film Nick and the Ne’er-Do-Wells last year. Photo used with permission.

Senior Nicolai Valdivieso-Sinyakov speaks to The Shield about his plans to volunteer in New Zealand for a year after high school.

ShieldWhy did you not want to go to college right after high school?

Nicolai Valdivieso-Sinyakov: Well, I wanted to go to college. I still do want to go to college, but I felt like going to college is too quick for me. I need to take a year off to work a little bit and do some service, you know, give back to the community. Usually the youth in my religion, the Baha’i Faith, travel and try and do some service in other countries. It’s not really part of the religion, but just kind of a tradition that most youth will go and do service somewhere. Not all have. My mom and dad went to do service at the Baha’i World Center in Haifa, Israel, where they actually met each other and eventually married. I had the opportunity to go and help there as well, but I found an ad to help out an AV unit in New Zealand, which I thought I could help out a lot more because I have a greater interest in film.

S: What in particular attracted you to the job?

NVS: The ad was actually in the Baha’i Newsletter, which is distributed around the U.S. It has all types of stories about the nation and the world. And there was an ad that was asking for youth to come and help out. They’ve already had a couple people come and volunteer, and I was wondering if they still had an opening spot.

S: What exactly is the job and what will you be doing during it?

NVS: They need someone with AV skills to come help out editing segments and actually shooting and interviewing. It’s a weekly show where they do interviews around mostly New Zealand and Australia. It airs in Australia and New Zealand. It’s all volunteer based.

S: Where are you staying?

NVS: We’re still trying to figure it out. I’ll probably be staying with a family as an exchange student, or I might be staying in an apartment with another youth.

S: How are you going to get income?

Was Directory of Photograohy for Nick and the Ne'er-Do-Wells

Valdivieso-Sinyakov was Director of Photograohy for Nick and the Ne’er-Do-Wells. Photo used with permission.

NVS: My mom and dad will be supporting me most of the time. If I can, I probably won’t have the time, I’ll find like a small little job there that I can sustain myself a little bit more.

S: What do you want accomplish over there?

NVS: I’m hoping to build a bigger portfolio by actually working in the field. And also over the years I’ve thought, “How can I use my skills in film production to help out in my Baha’i community?” Not many people are very active with technical support, so this is kind of a new thing and I think this is probably the best way to go and help out.

S: What do you hope to learn from all this?

NVS: I’m not going to be doing only film and production over there. There’s gonna be a lot of teaching kids classes. And I’m hoping to just build a better relationship with people as a whole and learn a little more about my faith, more than I know now.

S: What are your dreams/wishes about the job?

NVS: It’s kind of like a vacation. I’m going into like a little paradise, so I’m hoping to travel around there, not just hang out in Ocland, which is where I’m gonna be staying. I want to travel up and down the island and maybe go see where they shot “Lord of the Rings.” “Wolverine” was also shot there. Maybe take a little vacation to Australia, but I’m just really interested to see how culture is there and experience it all.

S: What will you do after?

NVS: I’m hoping to come back to Austin, Texas, and apply for new colleges, specifically Santa Fe Art and Design and hopefully with a bigger portfolio I might be able to attain a bigger scholarship. I was already accepted, but I found out a little later that it’s actually a private school and I’m a little iffy now financially. I might also apply to UT Austin in order to get a better scholarship.

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