Raphael Richter-Gravier graduated from Otago in August 2015 with a Diploma for Graduates endorsed in both Japanese and Māori Studies, knowing it could set him on course for further academic research.
Raphael moved from France to New Zealand in 2003 and began working in the electricity industry. Having studied English, German and Latin in the past, he furthered his keen interest in languages by taking lessons in Spanish and Japanese while living in Tauranga. After a shift to Dunedin, living close to Otago's campus seemed like too good a learning opportunity to pass up.
I didn't want to do a BA all over again, so Otago's DipGrad was the perfect solution for me to get two new 'majors'.
Raphael says, “I didn't want to stop learning Japanese, and I thought I'd learn Māori because I wanted a change of career and Māori Studies would give me some job opportunities, or maybe lead to a PhD. I got a Master of Arts in Paris at the École Nationale des Chartes, which trains archivists and librarians. I didn't want to do a BA all over again, so Otago's DipGrad was the perfect solution for me to get two new 'majors'.
“Before I enrolled, I met with the DipGrad programme director Dr Willem Labuschagne to know what the programme was about and how it would work. Together we went through all the papers I could take.
“Because I wanted to do a DipGrad endorsed in both Japanese and Māori Studies, I had to do seven 300 level papers. There were usually around 10-20 students in my classes, so the lecturers were very approachable and supportive.
“Now I'm qualified to enter the PhD programme; I don't want to stop learning. I am applying to continue with Māori Studies. I'm really interested in Māori culture and history. Compared to all the languages I've studied, te reo Māori is my favourite – I like the way it sounds and I love learning it.”