|OPENING HIS MIND: Originally from Timaru, Sam Brosnahan is studying in Shanghai, on a Prime Minister’s scholarship.|
China is far more relevant to New Zealand than he imagined, former Timaru resident Sam Brosnahan is learning.
Brosnahan, the head boy of Mountainview High School in 2012, is on an exchange for one semester (August to next month) at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, through a Prime Minister's Scholarship for Asia.
"China is a country where I never would've considered studying just a couple of years ago. I knew it was pretty important for us Kiwis, being dairy mad but I guess I never fully appreciated China's culture and its significance for us as a nation. All that's changed now."
Since arriving in Shanghai, Brosnahan has had a chance to learn a thing or two.
"The world doesn't revolve around English the way it does back home. The differences in culture are also striking: the food, language, people, air quality and the driving habits. If you've never been to Shanghai before, in summary, you should.
"This time last year, I truly thought this whole experience was simply going to be for me to improve my Mandarin. And, although my conversational Chinese has definitely been on the up, first and foremost this exchange has given me a glimpse into the way China lives, works and breathes.
"I've learned that the opportunities China presents to us are endless."
Brosnahan is pursuing a bachelor of commerce majoring in international business at the University of Canterbury.
"Funnily enough, it wasn't my first-choice major at university but, as I got more into my study of different subject areas, I knew this was the path for me. I found an area I could be excited about and motivated for.
"Knowing that the world is becoming more international and that this subject could be very relevant going into the future, was the reason I decided to take IB."
His tip for success for young people is to find opportunities, then take them.
"Don't just sit back waiting for things to happen. My dream job would be working for a multinational organisation of some kind, based in either Shanghai or Singapore, where I'd have the opportunity to use either my Chinese or Spanish on a daily basis. After that I'd love to return to New Zealand and be the mayor of Timaru!"
- The Timaru Herald