Alisha Vallabh

Alisha Vallabh

4th-year student, Bachelor of Business in Marketing and Bachelor of Communication Studies in Public Relations

Spending a semester of her AUT degree in Canada has been an experience she will never forget, says Alisha Vallabh who is studying both marketing and public relations.

“I decided to go on a student exchange because I wanted to experience something new, gain a sense of independence, challenge myself and gain a better understanding of the world. I went to Ottawa, Canada, to study at the Telfer School of Management, which is part of the University of Ottawa.

“It’s an experience I’d recommend to anyone who has the opportunity to do so. Embarking on this journey alone, unaware of what awaited me, I emerged with lifelong friends from all around the world. This experience fostered a heightened sense of independence within me, instilling the confidence and competence necessary as I approach graduation.”

Immersing herself in a different university environment for a semester has been great, she says.

“The opportunity to learn about marketing on a much grander scale was invaluable, considering Canada's population is approximately eight times that of New Zealand. It was immensely rewarding and holds particular importance in the field of marketing, given that each country adheres to distinct regulations and employs diverse methods to engage with their target audience.”

Choosing AUT
Describing herself as someone who has always been interested in design, creating new things and telling stories, Alisha knew she wanted to pursue a career where every day is different.

“During my last couple of years of high school, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do, so I turned to social media and the internet for inspiration. I came across AUT and saw the creative and practical experiences it offered, which was further solidified by an AUT representative coming to my school to talk about the communication studies degree.

“I chose to pursue both business and communications because they incorporated my interests and had a broad range of majors, so I still had time to figure out what I wanted to specialise in. One of the main reasons I chose AUT was because of the connections and international opportunities it offered. AUT was actually the only university I applied for because I knew I wouldn’t get the same practical experience and opportunities anywhere else.”

She says she has been impressed by how genuinely friendly everyone at AUT has been.

“Whether it be lecturers, fellow students or teaching assistants, everyone is there to support each other, and it makes the experience more collaborative and enjoyable. The lecturers provide genuine support and truly care about the success of their students. What I particularly appreciate is the balanced combination of practical and theoretical learning. We not only get the opportunity to learn from industry professionals, but also collaborate on group projects that offer valuable insights into the work we may encounter in our future careers.”

Advice for other students
Alisha has some great advice for other students who are only at the start of their university journey.

“Your degree is what you make of it. Getting the work done and participating is one thing, but AUT offers so many other things alongside your degree that can help shape your experience and elevate your learning so that you’re well equipped for when you graduate.

“For me this involved applying for internships, attending talks held by the staff and networking with other students to see what else AUT had to offer.”