A recipient of two DairyNZ scholarships, Caitlyn Poole, has recently arrived in China on an exciting and prestigious new scholarship — a Prime Minister's Scholarship for Asia.

The Prime Minister's scholarship gives young people the opportunity to study anywhere in Asia to strengthen their understanding of other cultures and build international skills.

Caitlyn has chosen to study Mandarin in China and is excited about the opportunity. She has a strong interest in the importance of China as an export market for New Zealand, after growing up on a dairy farm and being exposed to China focused discussions.

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"I'm really honoured to have this opportunity. Success in China is built on relationships — it's really important to be able to communicate and understand how people in China work and do business," says Caitlyn.

A key aim of the Prime Minister's Scholarship for Asia is to strengthen New Zealand's ability to engage with key Asian trading partners.

Caitlyn, 24, has studied Mandarin as part of her university studies in New Zealand and is looking forward to further developing her language skills. In China, she will first undertake an intensive six-week language course and will then study Mandarin at Chengdu University 30-40 hours a week for six months.

Chengdu is an inland city in south-west China with 14 million people.

"It will be really great to immerse myself in the culture and to mingle with Chinese students."

Caitlyn grew up in rural South Taranaki then Te Awamutu in Waikato. She went to school at Sacred Heart Girls' College in Hamilton before studying at Massey University on two DairyNZ scholarships. Her first scholarship was for an undergraduate degree in agricultural science and her second for a master's degree in animal science.

Her master's thesis was on the association between supplementary feeding and the post-grazing residual.

Caitlyn says the support she received via her DairyNZ scholarships was amazing. She studied at the DairyNZ offices where she received insights from experts in the sector and attended events where she could listen to inspiring people.

This is Caitlyn's second time in China. She worked for three months earlier this year as an intern for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in the New Zealand Consulate — also in Chengdu. That experience was made possible by an Asia New Zealand Foundation Business Internship Scholarship.

Her role included organising NZ cultural events, doing research for reports and attending seminars where businesses and other foreign consulates shared insights into overcoming challenges that entrepreneurs and start-ups experience in China. Caitlyn also attended meetings with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.