Uni student finds opportunity in Singapore exchange

Matthew Montgomerie will go outside his Cambridge comfort zone and into the unfamiliar world of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

A young man from Hautapu will soon trade in his green Kiwi surroundings for a high-rise city environment when he takes on his final semester of study, and he can’t wait.

Twenty-year-old Waikato University student Matthew Montgomerie, a 2016 St Peter’s graduate, was announced recently as a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Asia, selected from a pool of nearly 600 applicants.

“I was pretty surprised, but then again I put a lot of effort into my application so it was nice to get the result,” Matt smiled. “I’m definitely proud of the fact that I achieved a New Zealand government type scholarship.

“It’s given me the opportunity to really pursue what I want to pursue, and it’s really exciting to be representing not just myself but New Zealand as well.”

Matthew will complete the final semester of his Bachelor of Business at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, voted the world’s top under-50-year-old university.

Departing early next month, he’s looking forward to living and learning the Asian culture, and perhaps even visiting the Rugby World Cup in Japan and a few other Asian countries after finishing his study.

But most importantly, the diligent student wants to represent his country, get out of his comfort zone, establish relationships and start forging pathways for his future in finance.

“Getting the funding means I can really challenge myself and immerse myself in the experience and make the most of it. Being such a well recognised university it will be a good chance to get some more practical skills as opposed to staying in New Zealand, like networking with some of the students there who are pretty motivated individuals. That’s pretty valuable,” he said.

“Then whether it’s next year or in a few year’s time, I’d like to bring those skills back here.”

Matthew was unsure whether he would undertake his career in New Zealand or Asia, but plans to “see what comes” of his opportunities and networking during his stay. “If not, New Zealand’s not a bad place to come back to.”

Growing up on a dairy farm in Hautapu and still helping out there regularly, the one downside was being so far from home and not able to frequent his grassy farm refuge in between study. “That’s probably what I’ll miss being in Singapore, big high rises and no grass,” he said. “But what’s really at the back of my mind to just make the most of the experience and have fun.”

He said it was “well worth” looking at applying for the Prime Minister’s Scholarship, and recommended other students be creative with their applications. “Don’t just go about it how you normally would, put something in there that’s a bit different, that’s one way to differentiate yourself, because there will be a lot of people out there wanting to get it. And go back to your roots of where you are, it kind of helps to show that anything’s possible.”

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