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Friday 7 March 2014 1:00pm

Helen Nicholson DVC External EngagementDeputy Vice-chancellor Prof. Helen Nicholson

Undertaking a postgraduate degree can change your life in many ways. For me, it resulted in a change in focus of my career and ultimately provided a stepping stone to me moving to the other side of the world and becoming a “Kiwi”! You may be considering postgraduate study for a variety of reasons perhaps as a direct pathway to develop your career, to increase your employability or to pursue a particular area of research that you are passionate about. What ever your motivations, postgraduate study will change you.

I undertook my research postgraduate degree in the UK and was fortunate to work alongside other research students from Holland, Hong Kong and Chile. It was an international lab and 30 years on I still keep in contact with many of these people who are now my friends.

Gaining an international perspective is probably even more important now than it was when I was a student.

I learnt so much from my international colleagues, not just helpful advice for my research but also about the cultures they had come from and how things worked in their countries. Gaining an international perspective is probably even more important now than it was when I was a student. We live in a globally connected environment and whatever our career pathway most of us will spend some time overseas in our working life. Studying in an international university, where you will be working alongside people from other nations, is an important part of your development that will assist you to become a global citizen.

I am now fortunate enough to supervise postgraduate students and currently have the fun of working with students from Africa, Asia and Europe as well as New Zealand. While I am hopefully helping them with their studies I continue to learn from them about their worlds.

My research group would not be unusual at Otago where a significant number of our postgraduates come from overseas (~100 different countries). The international flavour of the University is further enhanced by the fact that 70% of its academic staff either, like me, come from outside of New Zealand or have their highest academic qualification from an overseas university.

Otago is a research led university that has a wealth of experience in postgraduate education and has a wide range of postgraduate opportunities across all of its 4 academic Divisions. It is also committed to providing excellent support to all its students whether they come from New Zealand or further a field. I wish you well as you consider the next steps in your career and do hope that we may have the pleasure of welcoming you to Otago in the not too distant future.

Professor Helen Nicholson

Deputy Vice-chancellor, External Engagement
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