Two Northland students are recipients of Prime Minister's scholarships which will allow one to travel to Korea and another to study in Mexico.
Su Min Seo, from Whangārei, has been awarded a Prime Minister's Scholarship for Asia while Sarah Adam, also from Whangārei, was awarded a Prime Minister's Scholarship for Latin America.
Seo's scholarship will help her travel to Korea where she is hoping to do a 12-week internship with the United Nations Office for Sustainable Development. Adam's will help her travel to Mexico for a one semester exchange to Universidad de Monterrey.
Seo, a former Kamo High School student who is studying a Bachelor of Arts at University of Otago, said she applied for the scholarship after hearing about it through the university.
The 21-year-old found out her application was successful about a month ago but had to keep quiet as it was under embargo.
"I was really excited. I was very surprised because I went into it having no expectations because I didn't really think my application was as good as it could be," she said.
While Seo's scholarship application was successful, she is still awaiting to be accepted for the 12-week internship with the UN Office for Sustainable Development.
She said she chose Korea because she is Korean but was born and raised in New Zealand.
"I thought it would be so cool to go over to Korea, brush up on my Korean, learn more about the culture and immerse myself. The second reason for choosing the internship at the United Nations was because I am passionate about human rights and everything they do," she said.
Adam - a former Whangārei Girls' High School student who has been studying a Bachelor of Architecture at Victoria University of Wellington - said she will be starting the first semester of her master's degree at Universidad de Monterrey in Mexico next year.
The 20-year-old said she was interested in the innovative architecture projects popping up across Latin America, and Monterrey captured her attention due to the revolutionary projects and alternative building methods being used.
"As the scholarship is about creating connections between New Zealand and Latin America, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to further explore this architectural approach and see how I could translate it back to New Zealand and possibly help with our own housing crisis back home," she said.
She said she was super excited when she found out she had received the scholarship.
"Receiving the scholarship is a huge financial assistance and really opened up this opportunity to study in Mexico. It will also allow me to travel to other innovative projects throughout Latin America, allowing me to gain a broader understanding of the architecture and culture."
Meanwhile, 18-year-old Megan Shannon, from Kaitaia has received a John Waller Memorial Scholarship for the University of Canterbury.
The scholarship, worth $18,000, provides an opportunity for students to study at University of Canterbury when personal or financial circumstances restrict their ability to enter tertiary education.
Shannon plans to study law.
She and her family moved to Christchurch following the earthquakes as her father worked in construction. As life returned to normal, her family moved back to Kaitaia but she opted to stay in Christchurch and pursue her studies.
This brave decision meant she was living independently, but that did not get in the way of her achieving superior grades and excelling at basketball.