As our world heals its way to normalcy, some innovations must remain — like the flexibility of online learning as a means to access a quality education from anywhere in the world. Hence, New Zealand’s very own Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) has evolved its postgraduate offerings to be as flexible as can be. Students can opt to study fully online all the way or start online and then transfer to the EIT campus when they can travel to New Zealand.
Such flexibility was exactly what Merry Thomas from India needed when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak. She already had an undergraduate degree in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery transporting her across India, South Korea and Oman, but she knew nothing would propel her professional progress like a postgraduate qualification from EIT. New Zealand’s stunning surroundings were a plus as well.
“I was mesmerised by the beauty of New Zealand,” she says. “However, the hurdles were still many to reach my dreamland. I researched about EIT well before joining the health science programme and was happy to find out that EIT provides support and encouragement to offshore students like myself.”
“The pandemic may have shattered my expectations, but the recent announcement of New Zealand opening its border gives me a ray of hope. I cannot wait to experience more freedom in my dream country with the best career in the future.”
Optimism is available to all EIT Online learners keen on making a switch to in-person study. The Institute’s fully online, industry-focused master’s degrees, postgraduate diplomas, and postgraduate certificates in business, information technology, health science, and wine business and innovation were designed to serve as a great pathway to on-campus study. How much or how little students decide to study online whilst at home is entirely up to them.
Thomas, an offshore Master of Health Science student, was pleasantly surprised to develop crucial life skills while preparing for a career in public health. “During the classes, we had group discussions that certainly sparked critical thinking,” she says. “We were also given several opportunities to network and adapt to workplace culture with time management skills. Essentially, I have gained a range of employment skills that I’m sure will be of great use once I graduate.”
The bubbly student credits a majority of her development to her favourite educators, namely Dr. Syed. M. Shahid and Dr. Anita Jagroop-Dearing. Without them, Thomas’s virtual classes would not have been as “active” or “engaging” as she enthusiastically describes.
Such cheerful learning experiences make a world of difference in the lives of those gearing up to better the lives of others. “The current COVID-19 pandemic situation has presented substantial evidence that an adequately sized skilled health professional workforce is critical to achieving the health and wellbeing goals of any population and country,” confirms Dr. Shahid.
Dr. Ondene van Dulm, Head of School for Health and Sport Science, believes that EIT’s agility allows it to excel at producing such professionals. Programme content is continuously reviewed and new courses are frequently introduced to reflect new developments in the field. Students and graduates are encouraged to share insights from their backgrounds as well.
As a general physician with three years of experience, Maria Kristina C. Adrias-Cancino had plenty to share. The Filipino student chose EIT to gain “a competitive edge” in a marketplace where employers expect more in terms of skill and niche specialisation.
“I believe a health science qualification can aid me in widening my knowledge in not only health, but medicine, nutrition, and other health-related topics as well,” she says. “This can provide me with essential knowledge and skills while building professional skills such as critical thinking, problem resolution, control and management, digital and cultural literacy, and information management.”
As Postgraduate Programme Coordinator in Health Science, Associate Professor Jagroop-Dearing plays a pivotal role in keeping EIT’s programmes this interdisciplinary. “Our health science courses are designed and taught with evidence-based material that replicates or aligns to real-world challenges,” she explains.
Online students never miss out. The EIT Online environment leverages a blended delivery model which allows students to access materials as and when they need to. Additionally, course sites contain course descriptors, schedules, course material, links to additional course content, and library learning services. Lecturers provide ample guidance when it comes to uploading required coursework and keeping online learners on the right track to successful completion.
Thanks to EIT’s expanding line-up of offerings, those who choose to pursue a master’s degree, postgraduate diploma or postgraduate certificate in wine business, information technology or business can enjoy the same as well. And since international students will be able to apply for a visa from 31st July 2022 to study in New Zealand, the Institute is encouraging all undergraduates, upskillers or reskillers to get a head start in the meantime.
Postgraduate students can choose to study either at EIT’s Auckland or Hawke’s Bay campus. The Auckland campus offers students a city experience, with Auckland’s beaches, forests and offshore islands on the doorstep.
Likewise, an academic experience in Hawke’s Bay is well worth the wait. As Dr. van Dulm enthuses, “Rolling hills, stunning beaches and beautiful rivers are the order of the day. The Hawke’s Bay community is vibrant and inviting –– as an immigrant myself, I have not found a friendlier place than this throughout New Zealand, a country that sets a pretty high bar for friendliness!”