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Studying a PhD at Massey University

Why I Chose to Return to New Zealand to Study For My PhD

Kia ora! My name is Milan and I am from Nepal. In March 2015, I came to New Zealand as a returning PhD student accompanied by my wife and pre-school son.

After I completed my Master’s training in Veterinary Epidemiology in New Zealand, and spent a few years working on a research project involving zoonoses (diseases which can be transmitted to humans from animals) back home in Nepal, I realised that I wanted to study for a PhD. 

I then had to make the decision of where should I apply for one. With countless universities around the world to choose from, it would have been a difficult decision to make if I hadn’t already studied in New Zealand. I had already had a very pleasant prior experience of living and studying in New Zealand and therefore coming back to New Zealand was, undoubtedly, on my priority list. Now, almost halfway through the PhD journey, I don’t think I could have made a better decision. 

Besides already having gained a Master’s degree in New Zealand, there were two other major reasons as to why I chose New Zealand as the study destination for my PhD. 

1. Family benefits

The first important determinant was my family. I believe it is very comforting to be among your loved ones when you have undertaken the PhD odyssey. Since New Zealand is such a welcoming country, safe and very beautiful, it made perfect sense to come and experience the best of Kiwi culture and way of living as a family. Additionally, New Zealand Immigration issues full-time work visas to spouses of PhD students which I think is very important for an international student like myself. 

2. International Reputation

The second reason for me to choose New Zealand was the international reputation of a New Zealand-earned academic qualification. In my case Massey University is one the top ranked institutions for Veterinary Epidemiology training in Australasia. I am sure many other New Zealand postgraduate programmes offered across New Zealand universities have similar reputations. 

New Zealand and Nepal

New Zealand and Nepal have shared a special relationship for a long time, thanks to Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay who conquered the first ascent of Mount Everest in the early 1950’s. Based on what kids learn about these two mountaineering heroes in their textbooks at school, every child in Nepal grows up dreaming about New Zealand and imagining what it may be like to live there. 

I am lucky to have had the opportunity to turn this dream into reality by coming to live in New Zealand with my family whilst pursuing a PhD at one of the most prestigious universities in the world.


By Milan GautamNepalese PhD Student

Updated 5 years ago

Milan Gautam, from Nepal, is studying for his PhD at Massey University in epidemiology with a focus on the economics and control of ovine Johne’s disease in New Zealand. Milan is a recipient of the NZ International Doctoral Research Scholarship.

*Views expressed are the blogger's own
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