Meet a scholarship graduate
Lily Wheatley, from the Solomon Islands, received a New Zealand Pacific Scholarship to study in New Zealand in 2012. She graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Economics with Honours from Massey University in 2015.
After graduation, Lily completed an internship with the Economic Development Team at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 2016. She now works as a fisheries economist in the Offshore Fisheries Division for the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in the Solomon Islands.
She shares her experiences of her time studying and living in New Zealand.
What inspired you to choose NZ as a study destination?
Growing up in the Solomon Islands, I’ve always wanted to get exposure outside of the country. And I have always heard such fascinating things about New Zealand in terms of travel, study, the wildlife, and where popular movies such as Lord of the Rings was filmed.
How did New Zealand live up to your expectations?
I found the quality of tertiary education in New Zealand to be of a high standard, especially with being on a New Zealand Aid Scholarship – which is a good thing, as it keeps you on your toes. I also found the tertiary education system offers a very safe and supportive learning environment with many facilities and services for international students.
I think acclimatising to the weather, initially, was a bit of a challenge. However, these things grow on you and I’m actually enjoying New Zealand’s temperate climate with its wide range of weather activity. With travelling, things like doing the Abel Tasman Coastal Track walk in Nelson and rolling down a huge hill in an inflatable zorb ball in Rotorua is definitely something I will never forget. I don’t know how you could fail to be completely blown away by the different things you can do in New Zealand.
What would you say to people who are considering applying for an NZ Aid Scholarship?
Go for it!! Make the most out of the incredible opportunity of an NZ Aid Scholarship to gain as much exposure, knowledge, and skills from the experience of studying and living abroad in New Zealand.
How will you use your New Zealand study experience once you return home?
The exposure to the study, work practices and culture in New Zealand have been an invaluable experience. The benefits acquired from these experiences will enable me to contribute more meaningfully to resource and development-related issues in my home country.
What was your favourite part about living in NZ?
My favourite part of New Zealand is the work/life balance, the easily accessible beaches, parks and reserves, friendly people, and the generally laid-back way of life.
How will your NZ qualification help your career?
My New Zealand qualification will definitely contribute to building the start of my career. Hopefully, this will also increase opportunities to build work experience along the way – something which is notably important when applying for jobs in the workplace today.
Studying at the University of Auckland
Every year over 200 students from around the world study at the University of Auckland on a New Zealand Scholarship. Funded by our New Zealand Aid Programme, these scholarships support students to gain the knowledge and skills they need to contribute to the sustainable development of their home countries.
In this video, scholarship student Heremoni from Samoa shares her story, and scholarship alumni around the world reflect on how studying at the University of Auckland has influenced their careers.