Scholarship helps athlete embrace life at Otago

HBHS graduate Sam Pene is making the most of his time at the University of Otago both in the classroom and on the field thanks in part to a $10,000 University of Otago Māori and Pacific Peoples’ Scholarship.

With aspirations of becoming a qualified surveyor, Sam already planned on coming to Otago as it’s the only university in New Zealand to offer a Bachelor of Surveying degree. His father, former All Black Arran Pene, also studied at Otago in the early 90s.

Still, the 18-year-old admits receiving the scholarship made his decision that much easier.

“My scholarship helped with my fees allowing me to focus on my studies and sport,” he says. “It provided more incentive to come to study in Dunedin.”

Sam is living at University College – UniCol – one of 15 residential colleges on or near Otago’s Dunedin campus, each offering support and care in its own unique style.

Despite living in the largest of Otago’s residential colleges, Sam is not daunted by its size; instead he sees it as a plus.

“UniCol is so big that I practically meet new people every day.”

As captain of the University Premier Colts rugby team, Otago U19 rugby trialist, rugby and touch player within his college, and basketball enthusiast, Sam is making the most of his time at Otago.

“I came to Dunedin with a goal of working hard and enjoying running out on a Saturday with my mates.

“I believe many students see high school rugby as the ‘be-all, end-all’ or the ‘peak’ of their playing careers. There are still many sporting opportunities after high school. Joining the Otago University Rugby Football Club you find a great team environment to further rugby ambitions as well as an enjoyable social culture – a good ‘work hard, play hard’ culture.”

When asked if he would recommend Otago to others, Sam quotes former All Black and Otago Alumnus Marc Ellis: “‘Come down to Dunedin, try it for three months, and if you leave, I’ll be surprised.’

“Otago has an awesome culture to study and build life-long relationships. The campus life and culture is simply unmatched by any other New Zealand university.”

Learn more about University of Otago Entrance Scholarships [].

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