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Student story

Rheuben Burke

20 July 2023

"It has since given me perspective on much of the functions of our society..."


After freelancing in the audio and post production industries in New Zealand and the UK, Rheuben wanted a career with more security and satisfaction accompanying his interest in global politics.

Taking on International Business studies at UC meant moving back home to family, and the experience of studying at the "most internationally recognised Commerce department in NZ".

"I knew I wanted to keep working internationally, but at the time really had no idea what I wanted to do," he says. "It has since given me perspective on much of the functions of our society, many that I agree with and aspects that really frustrate me. I genuinely enjoy acquiring knowledge and understanding."

Studying International Business also meant taking on a language. While he has previously lived in Quebec on an exchange through high school playing ice hockey for a season, and also in France for a summer working for Contiki travel tour company, he felt that he wanted a new start in a language that he could gain more confidence in, and decided on Japanese.

"My grandmother is Japanese and I thought it would be a good way to get in touch with my roots," he says. "Learning a language has opened a whole new culture and opportunities for me. Although not being the strongest aspect of my degree, it has probably been the most defining part of my university experience."

Much of Rheuben’s spare time on campus is spent with the Japanese Society as an Exec, organising events like Karaoke nights and weekly social meets for English-Japanese speakers. He also participates in track days with MotoSoc ("I was stoked to see myself improve 10 seconds on my best track times!").

He is set to go on an exchange to Bunkyo University in Saitama Prefecture in Japan later this year, an exciting opportunity helped along by winning a Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Asia.

With quite a bit of opportunity that can lead from his double degrees, Rheuben has a couple of career plans to make his reach global.

"I see very many options out of my International Business degree paired with my BA. I am interested in working in international trade or financing for a period. Other options I am considering is trying to get work as an independent researcher for Brexit negotiations, as I also hold a British passport and the Leave choice personally upset me and will affect me and much of my family a lot.

"But long term I would like to get into politics in NZ; I just don’t want to be a career politician as there is a world that needs to be understood before you start making decisions that affect it. Currently my party of interest is TOP (The Opportunity Party) started by Gareth Morgan."

Rheuben advises others wanting a career change to have a clear focus on what they hope to achieve from their time spent at university.

"Being a slightly mature student, I think it’s important that you take your time thinking about how you will invest in study and understand the potential outcomes from what you are taking. Work, travel, perspective is everything."

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