As a University of Otago medical student, Tarucilla is already making a difference – she is the first student from Niue to be accepted into Medical School as an undergraduate.
Studying Medicine at the University of Otago had always been Tarucilla’s ambition. However, it was a dream she was initially too shy to share, because no one else from Niue had achieved this goal.
Nevertheless, she was determined to give it her best shot, and while she admits Health Science First Year was demanding, Tarucilla was thankful for the academic support she received from the Pacific Islands Centre. “I had to be focused, disciplined, and committed to get to where I am now.”
Her dedication paid off, and Tarucilla describes her acceptance into Medical School as a “dream come true”. It feels good, she says, to make her family and her homeland proud.
This achievement means that Tarucilla is regarded as a “role model” back home, and her success has inspired other Niueans to enrol at the University.
Meanwhile, Tarucilla is also a diligent student leader of PIHPSA (the Pacific Islands Health Professional Students’ Association), supporting other Pacific Islands students studying health professional courses to make the most of their time at the University of Otago, just as she has.
She highly recommends first year accommodation in a University residential college; “being surrounded by students who were studying hard motivated me to do the same.”
And now, when Tarucilla considers the years that lie ahead, she is filled with confidence. It is the clinical aspect of a medical career which most interests her, and she can’t wait to start interacting with patients.
Further, “As an educated woman, I will have a stable future,” Tarucilla says. “I have so many opportunities, because I have been to Otago University.”