Law Clerk, Public Defence Service
Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Bachelor of Laws
Benjamin Mugisho has long been passionate about justice and human rights. About to graduate from AUT’s Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Bachelor of Laws double degrees, he hopes to turn his passion into a career as a criminal lawyer.
“I grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo – one of the most war torn countries in the world – and frequently saw people’s rights taken away. It made me interested in what crime is and why some people are more likely to commit crime than others,” says Ben who came to New Zealand as a refugee.
“My law degree plus my understanding of theories related to criminology and crime will give me a good grounding for a career where I can really make a difference.”
Choosing double degrees
After initially enrolling in AUT’s Bachelor of Arts in Criminology, Ben decided to add law after his first year.
“I wanted to understand what justice is, and I could see that doing double degrees would be extremely helpful for my future career.
“Law really builds you – I love the subject. But you have to be passionate about it. In the beginning I found it quite intense, especially as English is the fifth language for me.”
Inspiring lecturers and papers
There have been many highlights in his study so far, says Benjamin who will graduate in July.
“My favourite paper was on war and crime, focusing on how human conflict is influenced by politics. I think I achieved my highest grades in this paper and the lecturer, Jane Verbitzky, was lovely. It inspired me to hopefully do a Master of Human Rights one day.”
Another standout was the workplace experience, which is at the heart of the Bachelor of Arts, Benjamin says.
“I completed my placement at the New Zealand Centre for Human Rights Law, Policy and Practice. I worked as a research associate, helping my supervisor to investigate how politics influence the international criminal justice system. It was such a privilege to get this position.”
A wide range of support
Benjamin admits his first year had some challenges as he was still getting used to university study and life in New Zealand.
“I didn’t know anyone at AUT and I sometimes felt a little lost in my first year. But AUT has very good student support services, and I could really see the difference in my grades after I started to use the services AUT offers for academic support. It doesn’t matter how good your grades are – sometimes it’s just helpful to get someone else’s opinion,” Benjamin says.
Last updated: 14-Jul-2017 2.36pm
The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.