Getting involved

Getting involved

In blog two of her series about making the most of your experience at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, student Veronica Pot explains how you can get involved with your University community.

Veronica Pot on exchange in Ireland last year. Ladies View, Killarney National Park

When I began studying in 2017, I signed up for the Wellington International Leadership Programme. The programme promotes the development of leadership skills and encourages engagement in international events. This is designed to be completed over the course of your degree, so you don’t get overwhelmed.

WILP involves seminars, speaker events, and experiential activities. Compulsory seminars form a great starting point for personal development, and elective seminars tailored to your interests. For example, three of my elective seminars were related to Japan, which really helped augment my Japanese major. Speaker events are by non-university organisations, and can vary widely—I attend topics from Antarctic research to medical ethics to a diplomatic dialogue by an ambassador. Experiential activities are opportunities to get involved with the global community through representation, participation and engagement.

At the famous Blarney Castle. Wellington University International is available to talk about opportunities post-COVID for anybody considering an exchange.

The Wellington Plus Programme encourages personal development and local volunteering. You attend workshops on career and personal development, and complete activities on campus or in Wellington through volunteering or assisting fellow students on campus. This can be through mentoring, being a class representative, or volunteering at a local charity. I began the Certificate level—a one-year programme—in 2019 as I had finished WILP and wanted to remain engaged on campus.

As a Wellington-based student with existing obligations to local groups, I originally found it hard to find time to get involved with University clubs. Through previous acquaintances I ended up attending a few events, or getting signed up to email lists, and before long I was looking forward to the Clubs expos at the start of each trimester!

There’s a club for everyone—academic, sports, political, religious, activism, arts, and more. Some students participate in one and get involved in club management or the executive (this counts towards Wellington Plus!); others try a little bit of anything and everything! It’s a great way to make friends, meet new people, and do a bit of something you enjoy.

“There’s a club for everyone.” Clubs expos are a great way to find out what’s on offer at Wellington.

In the pre-COVID world, students with international interest, or wanting to travel, would study abroad for a semester or a year. The 2020 exchange students were compromised by the pandemic, with many needing to return home in the middle of their studies. This was, understandably, extremely disruptive.

Looking ahead, when international travel is possible once more, I would encourage anybody considering an exchange to definitely talk to Wellington University International about your options. I was fortunate enough to go on exchange in Trimester 2 of 2019 to the University of Leeds, UK, where I made life-long friends and travelled throughout the UK and Europe. It was an amazing experience to be able to study, travel and discover a different way of life on the other side of the world.

I hope this post has given you a few ideas of how to get involved on campus and look forward to seeing you next week for the last blog post!

Veronica Pot is a final-year student doing a BA/BSc in Biotechnology, Japanese, and Classical Studies.

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