“My closest friends here are Russian, Chinese and an American!”
For Ankita Pandey, who is pursuing master of Management from Auckland University, New Zealand, the best thing about studying abroad is the versatility of the people and different ethnic backgrounds that help in the overall development of an individual.
In this interview with Careers360, Ankita Pandey talks about her life in the University of Auckland, how the university has helped her think more and discover her own ability as a global student.
Below are the edited excerpts:
Q: How and why did you choose your university?
A: After my MBA, I was looking for a short term (around one year) course. I had a choice between UK universities and New Zealand universities. I chose the University of Auckland because the Masters programme was 15 months and the university ranked number one in the country and was amongst the top 100 worldwide. So the brand value of the university was an added factor.
Q: Was there any specific reason why you chose to study in New Zealand?
A: New Zealand as suggested by agents in India is considered to be one of the upcoming countries for education with ease of visa application and high-quality education that is affordable.
Q: Tell us about the campus life at your university. How different is it from the Indian campus life?
A: Campus life at the University of Auckland is safe and comfortable. There are facilities provided to students to stay in the campus after college hours to work on projects and group discussions such as cafÃ©s within the campus. Indian campus life is quite different. I come from the commercial capital where there is scarcity of space so students preferred to meet or hang out outside the campus. The ability to communicate directly with faculty, staff and administrators here is an additional benefit.
Q: How is the competition level? How would you describe your experience of being an international student?
A: Competition level is higher because you are competing with students around the world who aspire to be a part of the university. Each student understands both financial and educational values that have been invested to get in, so each of us work really hard to shine. As an international student, I am exposed to new stories, knowledge bought in by other students and faculties. I also share my knowledge with others. Competition is high but everyone works with unity and empathy.
Q: Did you look beyond the Indian community while making friends?
A: Yes absolutely! My closest friends here are Russian, Chinese and an American. Caste or creed plays no role while making friends. There is definitely unity in diversity!!
Q: What about festivals? Have you taken part in any of the festivals organized at your university?
A: I haven’t taken part in any festival but I have visited the Diwali festival held at the university, the plays organised by the University of Auckland Students’ Association and get-togethers organised by our cohort every quarter.
Q: Going from India, how is life in a foreign country? What did you do to adjust in a new environment?
A: Life is different in a foreign country. I am out of my cocooned environment, with more responsibility and independence. I kept an open mind before entering the country and this place surprised me. People are polite and hospitable, environment is peaceful. This country is all that I could ask for!
Q: Do you hold any part-time jobs? How does this help with your education?
A: Yes, I currently work part time as a Duty Manager at Turkish cafÃ© and bar. As I am studying Masters of Management, this role helps me to practice what I learn at school. I plan the sales strategy, provide training to new employees and manage the cafÃ© on a daily basis. This gives me confidence to work in a New Zealand environment and helps me meet new people and develop my network.
Q: How do you balance fun and studies?
A: Work hard and play harder- that’s my motto. Weekdays are packed with books and work while weekends are reserved for meeting friends and socialising.