Kirstin Elphick

Kirstin Elphick

Master of Teaching and Learning student
Bachelor of Arts in Education and Japanese Studies

She has always been interested in education, says Kirstin Elphick who completed a Bachelor of Arts in Education and Japanese Studies, and is now enrolled in a Master of Teaching and Learning.

“I’ve grown up being inspired by teachers who would constantly push me and encourage me to do my best. I want to be that person for someone else.”

Being able to gain experience in a teaching environment has been one of the highlights of her studies, Kirstin says.

“In my third year, I was able to do my workplace experience at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre. I was there for three months, assisting the teachers in the primary school as a teacher’s aide. I loved this experience.”

A close-knit environment
Studying at a university where she wouldn’t feel like another number was a key reason she chose AUT, Kirstin says.

“When I was choosing where to study, I was attracted by AUT’s smaller class sizes as this made me feel valued as an individual and not like another number.”

One of the highlights for her was going through the three years of her degree with the same students and lecturers.

“There are many people who you will meet in your first year who will share your journey the whole way. It really feels like a family, and the lecturers know what our abilities are and how to help us to exceed our own expectations. Just having a really good support system in place makes study a lot easier.”

Take advantage of every opportunity
Make the most of every opportunity on offer, Kirstin advises other students.

“Take advantage of the wide variety of elective papers that are on offer, go to the library workshops, ask your lecturers for advice, and meet up with your friends as often as possible to study together or just hang out.”

For her, being able to go to Japan was one her proudest achievements.

“During my second year of study I was nominated by AUT to apply for a Japanese government scholarship that enabled me to go to Fukushima for a week to study the impact the Fukushima tsunami and nuclear disaster had on the local communities, and how they were adapting from what had happened.”