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Sweet-tasting apples and New Zealand’s breath-taking natural beauty have conspired to see two Asian students win the first-ever $85,000 three-year scholarships in the newly initiated Dean’s Asia Scholarships to study at The University of Auckland Business School.
Shin Yee Teh from Malaysia and Jing Sun from China have clinched the first two prizes of the new initiative aimed at giving financial assistance to promising students from Asia, and will study commerce for the next three years.
“Jing and Shin Yee are both extremely compelling for their own reasons,” Business School Dean Professor Greg Whittred says. “They are talented and deserving, and have already demonstrated impressive leadership qualities.
“Having them here will enrich life at the School for everyone.”
Shin Yee, who hopes to become a chartered accountant, says her fascination for New Zealand came after tasting gala apples at a local fruit stall where the sweetness and juiciness caught her by surprise.
"I enquired about tertiary education in New Zealand and became very keen to study at The University of Auckland Business School. However, after calculating the cost and having discussions with my uncle, who was helping to finance my studies, I had to bow down to reality," she says.
The scholarship win changed all that and now the former science student is looking forward to "a quality education that prepares me for the corporate world.”
Jing, who hopes to work in New Zealand after her studies, calls 6 November 2011 – the day she came across the Dean's Asia Scholarships – one of the most important of her life. Born into a working class family in one of the least developed provinces in China, there was no solid financial support for her to go abroad.
She was prompted to learn about the university after hearing about "the brilliant lecturers, the friendly staff and local people, the wonderful study atmosphere and the breath-taking New Zealand views" from a teacher who was a University alumna. However, without the scholarship, study at the Business School would have remained a dream.
“I feel extremely lucky to study in one of the most prestigious universities in the world,” she says.
Professor Whittred says a recent development has reawakened interest among students in Asia in study at The University of Auckland – the reduction of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountant's accreditation qualification from four years to three. The decision removes a competitive disadvantage by realigning New Zealand with Australia.
The Business School recently enrolled 30 students interested in finance and accounting from Sunway College, one of the best schools in Malaysia – and as it happens, the school Shin Yee studied at. They are here on the Malaysian government's JPA Scholarship Programme.
The Dean's Asia Scholarships - directed at undergraduate study - cover tuition, fees and health insurance totalling about $85,000 over three years. Up to three scholarships, funded by the entrepreneurial activities of the School, are to be made each year.