'I know that every day I spend on my research and work, is geared towards improving the lives of people...'
Studying towards a PhD in Health Sciences
It was the search for new challenges that led Charles to UC after completing his master’s degree in the UK. Originally from Imo State, Nigeria, Charles is confident that he is now in the best place possible to work towards his goals in the world of Health Sciences.
‘I wanted to learn things in a new environment, I wanted to see the world while I study, and I wanted a whole new experience. New Zealand offered me all of that.’
Charles’ PhD studies are focused on women’s experiences after an unplanned caesarean section within New Zealand’s midwifery-oriented maternity system. Community health development, particularly maternal and child health, is something he is extremely passionate about.
‘The prevailing difficulties in producing evidence-based health policies in most developing countries, which often lead to policies that are out of tune with current realities as it pertains to population health, guided my choice for a degree in Public Health.’
Having such a strong desire to make a difference in the world is the driving force behind both Charles’ choice of study, and his future aspirations of becoming a successful Public Health researcher.
‘There is always something new waiting to be discovered in my degree area. The fact that Health Sciences is concerned with people’s wellbeing makes it more exciting for me. I know that every day I spend on my research and work, is geared towards improving the lives of people. There is no better satisfaction than that.’
When it came to making a decision on where to complete his studies, it was the overwhelming support from UC, and the connection he instantly formed with his PhD supervisor, that made his decision an easy one.
‘She was with me from the go until I made my final decision. It was a no-brainer! At UC there is such a genuine interest and support for students, including scholarship opportunities, great supervisory teams, workspaces and excellent library resources. I could go on and on.’
The sense of community, central location and welcoming feel of the UC campus all helped Charles to feel confident about his transition into life in a new country.
‘I do not feel like I am an international student. I feel connected to the University, I feel like I have ownership of the establishment. I feel I’m a part of UC! I feel like I am home.’
Outside of his own studies, Charles has made the most of various opportunities that he has been presented with, which have allowed him to further his knowledge and skills in his area of study, something he finds a fulfilling part of his life at UC.
‘As an assistant lecturer, I provide academic teaching and admin support with the School of Health Sciences at UC, on the Global Health course. I also joined the postgraduate mentoring team, helping to mentor undergraduates and postgraduates with academic difficulties. Helping people to build knowledge gives me great satisfaction.’
However, Charles’ ability to make a difference in his community is not limited to within the University, something that is clear from his involvement with local children’s charity, Barnardos.
‘I provide support to vulnerable young people, working with them and their families to help build healthy relationships and life choices, and offer guidance in education, health, training and employment.’
During his free time, Charles loves to watch his favourite football team Liverpool play, as well as getting out and exploring his new environment including local beaches and areas of Christchurch.
‘Canterbury as a region is surrounded by beautiful landscapes which gives you the opportunity to experience nature in its most beautiful state. The choice to come to New Zealand can never be wrong.’