Being greeted by his students in Chinese in the hallways is one of the highlights of Tom's work day.

Thomas Nicolls

Key facts

Career: Teacher
Programme: Bachelor of Arts
Subjects: Chinese, Japanese

"I am currently working as a teacher of Mandarin at Queen Margaret College in Wellington.

"I am also working with a small team of linguists to develop language learning software that aims to facilitate the efficient acquisition of new vocabulary.

"I would have to say the most enjoyable part of my current job is being able to share my knowledge of the Chinese language with my students, and watch them take that knowledge and make it their own.

"Being greeted by my students in Chinese in the hallways is definitely one of the highlights of my work day.

"Thanks to the broad range of cultural, historical and linguistic courses I took in the Faculty of Arts, I feel confident not only talking about the Chinese language from its ancient origins up until the present day, but also about the rich cultural background which makes Chinese such an interesting language to learn.

"I hope to one day make a significant contribution to New Zealand's relationship with the international community — specifically with East Asian countries.

"New Zealand's economic prosperity and national security relies on its ability to cultivate and maintain positive relationships with other countries. In order to do so, New Zealand needs more people who are able to bridge the gap between cultures.

"I decided to study Asian Studies because I wanted to deepen my understanding of the historical and cultural backgrounds that shape Asia today. I also wanted to further develop my Japanese and Chinese language skills, as there is no better way of understanding how people of other cultures think and feel than to speak to them in their own language.

"During my time in the Faculty of Arts I received opportunities to travel to both Japan and China for cultural exchanges and study tours, and I was also awarded a scholarship that will fund my masters study in China.

"As globalisation continues to shape the world around us, developing friendships and networking with people from all around the world will help to expand your scope of opportunity."