Please tell us about yourself

New Zealand, its hospitality and seafood have been given a big tick by Indian scholar Shashank Ghai, who is here for a year of study.

Meeting Prime Minister John Key has been a highlight of Indian student Shashank Ghai’s time in New Zealand

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Shashank is enrolled in a Master of Sport and Leisure Studies at the University of Waikato. He is one of 10 people from India awarded New Zealand India Sports Scholarships by Education New Zealand.

“I was overwhelmed and happy when I found I’d been awarded the scholarship,” says Shashank. “New Zealand is the most beautiful country in the world and the people are warm-hearted and friendly. They are always ready to help and talk to me, and have made me feel at home.”

What did you study?

The 23-year-old has a Bachelor of Physiotherapy from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi. He has research experience in the field of sports and rehabilitation, which is evident from a number of research publications to his credit. This is his first visit to New Zealand.

Shashank says another thing he’s noticed, is that New Zealanders are very energetic, health-conscious and sporty.

What are your future plans?

Shashank has already published many articles and books on his sports and rehabilitation research, and has been appointed to teach at the university.

He prepared for his time in this country by learning New Zealand Sign Language – his eighth language – and says he soon felt at home here.

“I don’t feel like I’m away from home because people have been so welcoming,” he says.

“Kiwis often say this is a small country. It is small in terms of population but big in terms of the heart.”

After completing his degree, Shashank aims to pursue a career in sports research using various  techniques to enhance sports performance and limit sports injury rates, working in labs with athletes.

Tell us about the scholarship

It’s a Government scholarship, so it’s prestigious, and it will be a big boost to my CV. I think scholarships also change the way you see yourself – they give you more self-confidence

Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Steven Joyce says the scholarship programme is one of several activities underway to deepen New Zealand’s education relationship with India following several ministerial visits over the last few years.

The New Zealand India Sports Scholarships are open to Indian citizens enrolling to study bachelor or postgraduate qualifications in New Zealand beginning in 2015. The scholarship provides tuition fees for the first year of full-time study and also support for living costs.