15 March 2024

Studying Marine Biology and Environmental Studies in New Zealand | Study With New Zealand

Nehara Pandey
Bachelor of Science, majoring in Marine Biology and Environmental Studies at Victoria University of Wellington

Nehara is currently working toward her Bachelor of Marine Biology and Environmental Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, but she has been an advocate for our seas and oceans for much longer.

Originally hailing from Goa, India, Nehara has been connected to the ocean her whole life. Whether it has been as simple as swimming at the beach, playing water sports or even SCUBA diving, the sea has always had a place. She was only seven years old when she decided that marine biology would be her chosen field of study.  

“We were hosting a guest at home who was studying to be a divemaster at the time. One day, she left her books out in the living room, which I decided to look through. I fell in love, instantly.” 

Nehara Pandey scuba diving

When choosing a university to study at, Nehara realised that there are very few universities that offer marine biology at the undergraduate level in India. New Zealand, however, has a few more options and Victoria University of Wellington happens to be one - they also allowed her to study environmental studies alongside.  

‘The programme at Victoria University is also really engaging.’ Nehara mentions one example where the students are to do a research project out of the lab at Taputeranga Marine Reserve that involves snorkelling. A necessary hands-on approach that most traditional university courses do not offer. Despite this, there are always opportunities to learn about global themes and ideas. Nehara shared similarities she has found between the Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphin in Goa and the Maui Dolphin which both have had to deal with the effects of human boat activity.  

Dolphin watching

“People think that dolphins are being playful and that they can just swim away if they are being disturbed. In reality, they never stray more than a few kilometres from the coast. This means that everything we do close to shore has an impact on their lives.”  

‘Another reason that New Zealand was at the top of my list is that international students are permitted to work full-time during their scheduled study breaks and holidays. I recently took advantage of this and had the opportunity to gain some work experience and make some money. I interned at the Department of Conservation over the summer working in the field of science communication. They run programmes to protect and restore Aotearoa New Zealand native species, places and heritage, and provide opportunities for people to engage with these treasures.’ 

Since moving here, Nehara has found that Wellington is a great city to live in. Much like most of New Zealand, you are always only a short trip from the sea, as well as native forests and mountains. 

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About the contributors
Nehara Pandey
Bachelor of Science, majoring in Marine Biology and Environmental Studies at Victoria University of Wellington