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Emily Wilson

BPhEd (Hons), Otago

I am: Adventure and Multi-Sport Racer; International Diabetes Young Leader

I did: Physical Education

Emily Wilson’s life as an adventure racer and diabetes advocate is grounded by her Bachelor of PhEd (Hons) and her time at the University of Otago.

“All of the knowledge I gained from my studies was so helpful when I was diagnosed with diabetes, and still is. It helps me to manage it well and gives me a stronger resolve to fit diabetes into my life and not the other way around.”

Emily, who is the International Diabetes Federation Young Leader for New Zealand, and an adventure and multi-sport racer, says possibly the best thing about her time at Otago, however, was the confidence she gained.

“Going away from home, and being a pretty driven A-type personality, I was surprised that I didn't get homesick. However, the colleges are like big families and I felt really included at Aquinas. The college became a second home for me and developed that confidence that was an important part of my time there.

“There’s something about Otago that allows you to pursue your passions and see what you’re capable of. You grow as a person and find who you want to be.”

Emily came to Otago from Cambridge, and says a desire to leave home wasn’t her primary factor for travelling so far south.

“I’d heard it was a leading university, that it was world-class and leading research in the field of science.”

She had two scholarships in biology and sports science, so science was a passion, but so was the outdoor life. The combination of the academic reputation and the opportunities created by Otago’s location combined to bring her south.

It was both that she credits for her love of her time here. “I was a real stressor at University, I wanted to do well and I really applied myself. For this reason. My fondest memories are probably about the stress relief of getting out! The city is so neat in that it’s so compact, so I could be on my bike, or running up the reservoir from my flat within five minutes of coming out of class.”

The city is the students, she adds.

“Otago has so much to offer in terms of sport, culture and social life. You can be part of these clubs and societies and do all these amazing trips….”

Her role today, raising awareness, support and funds for the diabetes community, and her continued work in physical education and adventure sports, are large driving forces in her life.

Combining these passions is what Emily loves to do best: “Only at Otago did I get to combine a major love of my life, adventure sport, with my enthusiasm for learning and education.”

Find out more about the Bachelor of Physical Education

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