Before moving to Australia you went to school in New Zealand - tell us more:
I attended Auckland Grammar School where I took four Cambridge International AS & A Levels in Business, English Literature, History, Economics and Physical Education. During my time at school, I was honoured to receive Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards as I gained ‘top in the world’ marks for my Cambridge International A Level History and AS Level Physical Education exams. I feel fortunate that I had incredible teachers who helped me win the awards, as I did not immediately excel in these subjects but over time I improved and ultimately achieved success.
As well as your studies, did you take part in extra-curricular activities?
I played a lot of social (rather than competitive) sport, including cricket, football and basketball, but my main extra-curricular activity was debating. I took part in debates throughout secondary school, culminating in a reserve spot on the New Zealand secondary school national debating team.
Why did you decide to leave New Zealand to study at the University of Sydney?
I moved to Australia for a few reasons. Firstly, the University of Sydney has a great reputation and I felt it would be a good place to advance my studies. It was very easy to apply with Cambridge International A Levels - they are recognised by Australia’s ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) system, and also by the University of Sydney. In addition, my brother and sister are already living in Australia and have really enjoyed their time here so far, which inspired me to follow them. Finally, I wanted the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and do something a bit different, as I think this is important for personal development.
Did your Cambridge studies give you any other advantages?
Academically, my Cambridge studies certainly helped me transition from school to university. I’ve found that a lot of the content in Cambridge syllabuses is also taught in my degree course which has given me an advantage as it means I have already covered parts of the course. Furthermore, I believe my Cambridge studies prepared me well for the rigour of university life.
How important were your extra-curricular activities, both to your university application and in helping you settle in when you arrived?
I believe that my strength in debating, as well as having a wide range of other extra-curricular activities, certainly helped my application to Sydney University. Now that I’m here, I continue to play sport socially and it’s a great way to meet new friends and hang out with mates. After five years of debating I decided to take a year off, but still participated in a tournament earlier this year. Activities like these are a really good way to meet new people in a new country, and an opportunity to balance your university work with something different.
How are you finding life in Australia? Is it as you expected?
Australia is not too dissimilar to New Zealand so this is probably one of the smoothest transitions you can make because the countries have such similar cultures. Coming from Auckland I feel that Sydney is just a far bigger version of where I used to live, and I also have the support of my brother and sister over here which is helpful.
What are your long-term plans?
I have only just started my university education, and while my career plans are not set in stone at this stage, I hope to be a practising lawyer one day. This will require a lot of effort over the next five years, but I am confident I can make it happen.
Would you recommend Cambridge qualifications to other students considering university?
I would highly recommend Cambridge qualifications. They are internationally recognised, they teach advanced university level content, and they set you up with both essential study habits and the mentality required to smoothly transition to a university education.