Our students, our leadership programmes

Our students, our leadership programmes

Students Fern Stuart, Elliot Cina,James Keane, and Olga Mugisho are making the most of the University’s leadership programmes. In the first of a two-part myView series, they discuss their experience of the Wellington Plus Programme and Wellington International Leadership Programme (WILP) and their appreciation of the programmes’ flexibility, and how they connect students with amazing people and opportunities.

Students James Keane, Olga Mugisho, Elliot Cina, and Fern Stuart (clockwise from top left) have been involved in University leadership programmes WILP and Wellington Plus.

MyView: Tell us about yourselves and what you study.
I’m in my final year of study for a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Japanese and Asian Studies. I have lots of interests, and often get swept up in learning and experiencing new things. The Asian Languages and Cultures  programme staff have been incredibly supportive, and I’m looking forward to doing a Master’s in Intercultural Communication and Applied Translation next year.  

Elliot: I’m in my third year of a BA in Psychology and Music, and I’m President of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students in Wellington. I’m also a World Jewish Congress Ronald S. Lauder Fellow. After graduating, I’d like to pursue a career in clinical neuropsychology.  

James: I’m a second year Biomedical Science student, majoring in Molecular Pathology. I hope to go into postgraduate research, specialising in disease research. In my spare time, I like running, going to the gym and tramping, as well as playing the guitar and reading.  

Olga:  I am originally from Auckland and moved down to Wellington last year to attend VUW. I am currently in my second year of my BA degree, majoring in International Relations and Sociology. I look forward to graduating and potentially working in government. However, I do want to eventually work for an international organisation.

myView: What motivated you to join a Te Herenga Waka leadership programme? 

Fern: I saw both the leadership programmes as a chance to grow as a person and a leader, experience new activities, and learn more.  I have had so many amazing opportunities I wouldn’t have known about if it wasn’t for the programmes. They have developed my skills and knowledge and allowed me to meet some incredible people. 

Elliot: Coming from a diasporic family, I’ve always been a passionate internationalist. I was delighted to discover that the University offered an engaging programme for students to experience the world of diplomacy, international business, trade policy and leadership. From the very first WILPseminar I was hooked.

James: I started Wellington Plus and reached the Certificate level as a Bachelor of Arts student, and I decided to follow up by completing the Award level too. What drew me in was the programme’s flexibility and options: it was easy for me to slot workshops between my lectures, and if I missed an essential one there would always be another.  

Olga: I joined WILP because it allows me to be more globally aware and engage in many issues through seminars and activities that interest me. I hope to gain a better understanding of the world around me and become a better global citizen.  

myView: What have been the highlights of the programmes so far?  

: I really love the Asia After Five talks that are held at the Asia New Zealand Foundation. Everyone I’ve met has been wonderful and supportive.

Another highlight was being a Language Learning Buddy. My buddy, Sumika, helped me learn Japanese and I helped her with English.  We had fun together and learnt a lot, and I made a lifelong friend. 

Elliot: I’ve been fortunate to meet some incredible people and learn from their experiences. I’ve seen how governments, businesses, organisations, and individuals take pragmatic actions, often outside the limelight, to make the greatest change.  

James: Since joining Wellington Plus, I’ve found new hobbies outside of my study, particularly in volunteer work. These include tree planting and taking part in programmes like the International Buddy Programme, which was my personal highlight as it was a great opportunity to meet new people and share our different perspectives.  

Olga: The highlights of the programme so far have been the seminars because I have learnt a lot about things that affect the world such as culture, race, activism and so much more. They make me think about my place in the world and what I can do to make it a better place. 

Read more about Fern, Elliot, James, and Olga, and their experiences at the Festival for the Future

Fern Stuart is studying for a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Japanese and Asian Studies, Elliot Cina is studying for a BA in Psychology and Music, James Keane is a Biomedical Science student, majoring in Molecular Pathology, Olga Mugisho is studying towards a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in International Relations and Sociology.

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