Husna Akbar

Husna Akbar

Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice & Psychology

She has always been fascinated by the way humans think and behave, says Husna Akbar who studied a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice & Psychology.

“As a child, I was always engrossed in psychological thrillers and psychological fiction. Growing up, I was always seen as the ‘counsellor’ friend, as from a young age I was able to understand alternative perspectives and enjoyed resolving conflict. From gaining more worldly knowledge in high school, I became fascinated by international justice systems and challenges pertaining to injustice and discrimination.

“I’m especially passionate about understanding human behavior and mental processes, as well as crime and criminal behaviour from a social perspective. Studying both psychology and criminology enabled me to explore these passions. In the future, I’d like to give back to the New Zealand community by working closely with individuals with psychological disorders, with low socio-economic families or by working with criminals.”

For now though, she is enjoying spending time in Europe and experiencing some different cultures.

“At the beginning of January, less than a month after graduating from AUT, I began my Spanish Overseas Experience as an English assistant at CEIP La Patacona, an amazing primary school. I lived in Valencia, Spain, for five months, and had the opportunity to travel to Alicante, Barcelona, Madrid, France, Italy and Morocco. I had always been intrigued by Spanish culture and values, and felt there was no better way to learn about it but to fully immerse myself and move over there. I was working with children from the age of 5 to 13, and was able to pick up Spanish and really connect with them.

“The best part of this whole experience was meeting some of the most inspiring people and children that have sparked up my purpose for helping people. I've learnt that even after university, no matter where you work, there will always be an opportunity to learn from everyone you meet, regardless of age or status. I’m now travelling to the Netherlands, Germany, Albania and Canada, where I'm sure I'll gain more insights and meet more extraordinary people. Next year, I aspire to pursue my postgraduate studies in psychology as well as involve myself in charitable work.”

Making the most of uni life
Husna says she would highly recommend studying psychology and criminology at AUT.

“I chose AUT because of the diverse and supportive community. Before applying for university, I spoke to several university students and found there to be the most enthusiasm for AUT. That encouraged me to apply for AUT. I enjoyed the learning experience just as much as the social experience. The psychology lecturers are undeniably enthusiastic about what they teach and make an immense effort to get you to be as excited. Everyone – the students, lecturers, tutors and admin staff – was so welcoming and kind, and the AUT environment is one where you can thrive and be yourself.”

In addition to her studies, she also managed to make the most of other opportunities for AUT students.

“I had the opportunity to work with AUT as a peer mentor, which enabled me to become more confident in my own knowledge. I learned so much from working in this space and often learned from my fellow students too. This taught me that everyone has something valuable to teach, and you can never have too much knowledge.

“Another opportunity I was given at AUT was working as an Oceanian Leadership navigator to make it easier for students to transition from Year 13 to university, primarily working with Pacific and Māori students. The programme was inspiring to be part of as it was extraordinary to see how certain communities are disadvantaged and deprived of opportunities. Through this initiative, in combination with peer mentoring, I gained a passion for teaching and helping individuals with their academic journey.”

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

“I’d advise students to go with what they’re passionate about, even if it seems hard. You don’t realise your potential until you’re at uni.”

Her other piece of advice is simple: ask questions.

“Ask as many questions as you can and get into the habit of challenging everything.”