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Student story

Divya | To create something meaningful

24 November 2023

Master of Strategic Communication


Taking time out of your career for academics is the biggest gift you can give yourself

What inspired you to pursue a Master of Strategic Communication?

I had been wanting to take a break from my career as a communications professional in order to immerse myself in the academic side of communications. I learnt a lot on the job but I always felt the absence of a strong foundation since I had specialised in broadcast journalism way back in 2003.

You’ve come all the way from India to study in New Zealand. Why did you choose UC?

UC’s Master of Strategic Communications programme had great reviews and, personally, what worked well for me was the course content and duration. The core course, along with modules on communications ethics and Public Diplomacy, were of great interest to me. It’s a one-year master’s programme that is both affordable and will open a range of opportunities for me. Plus, I love the thrill of living alone in a new country like New Zealand, which had always been on my travel list with its natural beauty and wonderful landscapes. What more could I have asked for!

How have you found it being so far away from home and your family? What support have you found at UC that has helped you with this?

The initial months were very challenging. I have two lovely children back in New Delhi and while I had mentally accounted for this time away from them, nothing really compares to the realisation when it hits you. UC’s department faculty and my classmates were so warm and empathetic to my situation. Their support and encouragement is a constant source of comfort for me. I also joined various groups and clubs at UC, and that interaction infuses a lot of energy and positivity. The International Students Association and volunteering activities gave me the opportunities to interact with other students from various countries.

You’ve already had a long, established career. What are your goals after completing your master’s? 

I would like to continue working in the field of communications and policymaking. It is very satisfying to see your work translate into something meaningful for other people. I would also like to explore opportunities at the various Ministries and government departments to be able to work closely with policy makers. UC’s programme is helping me to build my skillset, sharpen my critical thinking and preparing me for New Zealand’s work culture.

How does your life and career experience help enrich your study journey?

I think life experiences can completely change the way you view the world. As a working professional you get thrown many curveballs that require spontaneity. Sometimes you do well and sometimes the outcome is not what you desire, so you learn to accept failure as a part of the larger process of learning. I am able to approach complex academic concepts with more confidence than I did before. My work experience of nearly 17 years has taught me to be honest to myself and my work, and I trust my instinct when it comes to anything challenging.

As a mother and working professional, what advice would you give to other adult students considering a return to study?

If you can take time out for academics amid your career, that is the biggest gift you could give to yourself. Everyone has their own challenges; however, if you want to pursue academics then I would advise you to seriously consider it. I have an extremely supportive family back in India who have managed so well in my absence. My children have also adjusted well. We often think children are our weakness and we must constantly be around them. I think they are our biggest strength and adapt beautifully to situations. More importantly, they will understand that being a mother doesn't mean that we give up on our individual pursuits. This experience will not just be yours alone, it will enrich them as well. 

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