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Student story

Sneha Pulapaka

20 July 2023

"It’s been an amazing experience as we have all the facilities for a student to flourish and enhance their skills..."


Postgraduate Diploma in Health Sciences with an endorsement in Health Information Management

Health Services Analyst, Hutt Valley District Health Board, Wellington

Founder and Director, The Native Loom

Sneha had previously completed postgraduate study in Clinical Research, and worked within a pharmaceutical company in India, before deciding to further her expertise in Health Information Management.

"After gaining over five years of experience in the field of drug development, I realized that it is important for people to have accessibility to healthcare services. Which was not the case in many countries. And so managing the health data has always been one of the biggest challenges the healthcare industries face every day," she says.

Being able to contribute more towards healthcare is Sneha’s ultimate career goal, and UC was an ideal option to gain experience in innovative health technologies.

"I was looking forward to study further in management of health data and the Postgraduate Diploma in Health Information Management course seemed unique and a perfect fit to enhance my knowledge.

"I would definitely recommend this course not just for someone who has had previous related experience in the healthcare field but also to anyone who would be interested in applying their skills for betterment of healthcare facilities in their respective countries."

Studying in New Zealand was "always the first choice" for her academic aspirations and the chance to experience new cultures.

"I love the fact that New Zealand has so many places to visit and explore, very important for a nomad like me as I love travelling," she says. "It’s been an amazing experience as we have all the facilities for a student to flourish and enhance their skills. UC has helped harness my mind, body and soul.

"Most of all an experience of meeting new people and learning about the work ethic and culture drives me. And also the exposure and opportunities an international student has is immense. Right from recreation activities, clubs, internships, seminars about work culture in New Zealand, Co-Curricular Record and volunteering opportunities."

Sneha’s involvement on campus led her to become a Student Activity Leader-NZ Aid Students, where she helps other international students who are first starting out at UC. 

She also has attended the UCE (University of Canterbury Centre for Entrepreneurship) Boot-camp session for young entrepreneurs, where she presented an idea for developing a healthcare app along with a group of students. Her idea was assessed by a panel of judges and won first place under the 'Best Commercial Product' category.

"The UCE has harnessed my entrepreneurial streak which I never knew existed in me," she says. "I have plans to further develop the app and currently I’m consulting industry leaders for their inputs."

Settling into New Zealand work culture was also a priority to make the most of her time here, and so she has made a lot of use of UC’s Careers, Internships & Employment team for preparation. 

"We have a wonderful team at UC Careers who have helped me in enhancing my understanding of the New Zealand job market," she says. "I have attended the sessions on making my CV and they were very helpful in providing me constructive feedback from time to time. Also, there were some sessions for the International students which has helped me to get an overview of how New Zealand is acceptable to having diversity in their workforce."

As a result, Sneha volunteered her spare time with the Christchurch Hospital, and completed an internship with the Canterbury Respiratory Research Group assisting with data analysis and project management.

"I chose the internship because it would help me gain practical work place experience in New Zealand and at the same time apply my skills and knowledge that I have gained through my course Health Information Management," she says. "I would definitely encourage everyone to choose to do an internship as it helps a person to grow and expand their horizons in the field of their choice. Also it may help them discover new things about themselves."

Sneha’s experience helped secure her current work with Hutt Valley DHB as a Health Services Analyst, providing more of her expertise on health project management to the community.

A few years after graduating and following her entrepreneurial skills developed with UCE, Sneha launched her own social enterprise  The Native Loom, which ethically produces sustainable textiles in India. Sneha’s social enterprise supports social and environmental causes/projects in New Zealand such as Million Meters — Streams Project and the Plastic Free July event run by UC Sustainability.

"Inspired in New Zealand, our vision at The Native Loom is to revive unique, indigenous textiles with a practical design, while empowering craft communities. Producing ethically made textile products that build thriving and sustainable communities is our mission," she says. 

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