Bella Tearoha Lewis Ireland

Bella Tearoha Lewis Ireland

2nd-year student, Bachelor of Communication Studies in Journalism with a minor in Public Relations

New Zealand European & Māori (Ngāti Maniapoto)

Going on a student exchange to Denmark has been the highlight of her studies so far, says Bella Tearoha Lewis Ireland who is studying a Bachelor of Communication Studies in Journalism with a minor in Public Relations.

“Leaving New Zealand alone to move to a country where I didn’t know the language and studying an international news subject alongside other students from all around the world was so unique and special. I could never have imagined how much the experience would help me grow in independence, journalism work and people skills.

“I chose to do a student exchange as I love to challenge myself, meet new people and travel. Applying for the exchange was quite last minute for me. My friend told me that the exchange applications had opened again after the COVID-19 pandemic and, with two days before the applications would close, I  thought why not; I have nothing to lose. I’m glad it worked out this way and I went to Aarhus, the second biggest city in Denmark, at the start of 2023 to study at the Danish School of Journalism.”

What she enjoyed the most was the personal growth and learning she experienced during her student exchange, Bella says.

“I learned how to travel solo, live alone and how to find my footing in a foreign country. Despite having only one year of communication studies behind me when I moved, I was interviewing and writing from an international angle with help of the other students. I was given opportunities to learn about EU politics and even had interviews with multiple EU parliament members when in Brussels for a study trip. I spent most my time with the students in my class, including during school, after-school activities and travelling together; forming a tight-knit bond like an international family.”

Choosing AUT
Currently in the second year of her Bachelor of Communication Studies, Bella moved to Auckland from the Hawke’s Bay to come to AUT.

“I’ve always loved learning and sharing my learnings with other people, and realised that a career in journalism was an obvious choice for me. I had heard about AUT and its renowned communications degree from my schoolteachers and career guidance advisors. In addition to this, some of my brother's friends had completed this degree and really enjoyed it.

“Auckland was also a big draw-in for me. Moving back to the city where I was born, and away from my parents and the small town I grew up in was very exciting. Receiving an AUT Welcome to Auckland Scholarship to study at AUT was the final win-over for me going to AUT, and I’m extremely happy and proud of myself for being awarded this.”

The supportive environment has been one of the highlights of her time at AUT.

“I’ve loved the support for students that is available at AUT, with convenient access to doctors on campus, and great facilities like Te Āhuru Recreation Centre at the City Campus and the treehouse study spaces for communications students. The thoughtful gestures from the RUOK team, like study snacks and check-ins, have been great during assignment weeks. Living in Te Āhuru Mayoral Drive Student Accommodation during my first year was also incredibly convenient and helped me settle into both the city and student life at AUT while making new friends.”

Advice for other students
Bella’s advice for other students is simple: step out of your comfort zone.

“Try to search for new experiences and take opportunities that come your way. Your time at university is for growing and exploring, and also for failing or facing some struggles. Trying this could be as simple as joining a club, making a new friend in class, or covering a topic you wouldn’t normally do for an assignment.

“By not only trying new things but following through with them and being resilient through lows, you can really develop yourself professionally and personally, and open doors to exciting possibilities.”