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Otago students selected for China internships

Tuesday 1 October 2019 11:31am

PMSA students image
Otago students selected for the Prime Minister’s Scholarship to Asia. From left: Danika Hotham, Finella O’Leary, Madison Seymour, Joe Garry, Tessa Aitken and Adam Stachurski.

Six Otago students are heading to China and Taiwan for summer after being selected for the Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Asia.

The scholarship, which runs from 22 November to 26 January 2020, is a programme where students spend eight weeks doing a full-time internship at a company related to their course of study.

The Scholarship is funded by the New Zealand Government and administered by Education NZ. The Career Development Centre at Otago promoted and processed the applications from Otago students with welcome assistance at interview stage from colleagues in the International and the Internship offices.

As part of the programme students will take part in a one-week onboarding programme including a course in basic Mandarin Chinese, company visits and cultural activities.

The Otago students selected are Danika Hotham (Human Geography), Madison Seymour (Human Geography), Adam Stachurski (Finance and Economics), Finella O’Leary (Neuroscience), Joe Garry (Law and Economics) and Tessa Aitken (Accounting and Chinese).

Danika, Madison, Finella and Tessa will all being staying in Chengdu, while Adam and Joe will be heading to Taipei. They will all stay in shared apartments for the duration of the internship.

Pagoda Projects find host companies to suit interest areas and development goals for the students.

For Tessa, applying for the internship was an opportunity to widen her conversational Chinese while also expanding her experiences for her future career path.

“I’m in my last paper of Chinese and I can’t speak it to save myself!” Tessa says.

Expanding horizons was a popular reason the students applied for the internship. Finella says she has not done much travelling and the internship seemed like it would be beneficial in finding work after finishing study.

“I’ve found it really hard recently to get experience.”

For Madison, who has a strong interest in Asia and in working with environmental non-government organisations (NGO), applying for the internship meant combining two passions in a productive way.

“A lot of the problems we are facing are global challenges and I want to see how other cultures approach these problems.”

Joe thought the opportunity to travel and work while studying was too good to pass up.

Meanwhile, Danika is interested in understanding the cultural differences which impact the ways in which people respond to global challenges.

After being away on international exchange earlier this year Adam has developed the travelling bug.

“I really enjoy learning about diversity and new cultures. I’m also pretty keen to do my postgraduate studies on New Zealand/China relations,” he says.

Following their applications the students had to submit a CV, complete job application questions and record a video of themselves.

Shortlisted students then undertook two assessment centre exercises and a one-on-one interview at the Career Development Centre.

Following this a final shortlist of eight students were interviewed by Pagoda Projects and the final students were selected.

There are three types of internships the students will take part in NGO related, STEM/computer science and mixed field programmes.

Fifteen students have been selected in all with the balance of students coming from Waikato and Auckland universities to travel to Shanghai, Chengdu or Zhuhai with the Prime Minister’s Scholarship Asia.