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Renee Heal profile photoRenee Heal
BA (Hons) combined honours in Politics and History

BA (Hons), combined honours in Politics and History

"I have always been fascinated by politics and decided to extend that interest academically. Once I became involved in the Department of Politics, I was hooked! I love that ultimately, politics is a study of strategy, relationships, and the behaviours of various groups. I really enjoy the process of analysing problems from different perspectives and questioning why institutions behave the way they do.

"I could not have achieved what I have without the support of the Department. They were so understanding, especially in my honours year, where I spent half of the year overseas and most of the second semester running a campaign for OUSA President. The willingness of the staff to engage with students on an individual level is a huge strength of the Department, ensuring students feel valued and respected.

"Part of the beauty of my degree was the opportunity to travel. The Otago Exchange programme provided a wonderful opportunity to enhance my learning experience: I got to visit the very countries and communities I was researching for my dissertation, gaining a deeper understanding of the challenges they faced.

"The study of politics has given me a truly international worldview: many of my travel choices have been inspired by the content of my degree and the passion inspired by my lecturers.

"Politics gave me an understanding of the way people, organisations and nations interact with on another. This understanding has been invaluable in my [then] current position as OUSA President, and helped me gain a job as Foreign Policy Analyst with MFAT."

Renee has remained with MFAT and has had a range of roles. She is currently Acting Deputy Head of Mission with the New Zealand Embassy to France.