From high school in New Zealand's home of politics, to studying politics in New Zealand's home of education, and back to New Zealand's home of politics to work in education – introducing Alice Sowry.
Wellingtonian Alice wasted no time throwing herself into campus life when she started studying at Otago. The residential college system and vast array of student activities that drew her south exceeded all her expectations – in particular Otago's Debating Society. “By far, the most important thing I did at Otago was joining the Debating Society. Debating was an amazing way to learn more about political, social, and economic issues, as well as refining my public speaking skills. I represented Otago at national and international tournaments, some as far away as Malaysia, Germany, and Greece.”
Inside the classroom, Otago's flexible degree structure enabled her to study Law, Politics, Philosophy, English, French, and Economics in her first year alone. Politics turned out to be a hugely valuable addition to her studies, extracurricular interests and future career prospects.
“Politics helped me explore questions about how the world works,” says Alice. “How is power distributed? How is social and economic change achieved? How do different societies cope with the challenges of globalisation?”
“I really appreciated how Politics enables you to approach these questions from many angles. It often involves interdisciplinary approaches and draws on theory, empirical methods, and moral philosophy. This appealed to me because I was able to apply what I had learned in Politics to my studies in Law and French, as well as competitive debating. It's a great basis for many careers, including my chosen field of public policy.”
The flexibility of Otago's degrees was further enhanced by the breadth of expertise in the Department of Politics and she encourages prospective students to make the most of the wide variety of papers on offer. “I focussed on International Relations at the beginning of my degree, but taking Political Theory papers exposed me to new ways of thinking.”
With her BA(Hons) in Politics, LLB and DipLang (French) almost complete and her amazing Otago experience all but over, Alice is preparing for a new chapter in her life. Next year she returns to Wellington to take up a Graduate Policy Analyst role with the Ministry of Education. For Alice, politics and education is the perfect combination!