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Source: Massey University


Sunny Deng feels very lucky to be back at Massey’s Manawatū campus to complete her Bachelor of Food Technology.


Sunny Deng is excited to be back in New Zealand pursuing her goal of becoming a qualified food technologist, after being granted a border exemption to return to study at Massey University.

The third year food technology international student was visiting China early in 2020 to celebrate Lunar New Year with her family. She then went on holiday to Cambodia and was due to fly back to Palmerston North the same day the New Zealand border closure was announced in March last year. Unable to return to New Zealand, she instead travelled to her home town Guangzhou, China where she has lived for the past year.

“The border closure happened suddenly and I had no time to prepare. Because of so many unexpected things occurring coincidentally in such a short time, I was stuck in Cambodia and felt completely helpless. I was very worried as I didn’t know when the New Zealand border would be opened so I could return and continue with my degree.”

Earlier this year the New Zealand Government announced a border exemption category allowing up to 1000 degree students across all tertiary providers to return to New Zealand to continue their study. Massey was awarded 145 places and nominated students who met the criteria and were able to travel to New Zealand. Immigration New Zealand then invited students to complete the necessary requirements for travel, visa’s, managed isolation and quarantine.

“When I found out my nomination had been approved, I was so happy and couldn’t believe I would soon be returning to my real university student life again. While I have been doing Massey’s online courses in China, I have really missed the feeling of sitting alongside my classmates in a proper lecture room and listening to the lecturers talking in front of me.”

Ms Deng has always been interested in science. She decided to study a Bachelor of Food Technology as it provided the opportunity to learn more about food while still sticking to her favourite science topic – chemistry. Massey’s reputation as one of the top 50 universities worldwide for Food Science and Technology, as well as her admiration of Palmerston North were key in her decision to study here.

“Massey offered the chance to receive a high level education and a respected qualification in a city that I really enjoy. I have met a lot of amazing people there, both friends and lecturers, and had many opportunities to interact with others at different events. This has helped to build my social and communication skills which is crucial to my career.”

Another three bachelor students are due to return to campus this month, with more arriving throughout the year. They will join Ms Deng and the 23 PhD international Massey students who have already retuned to New Zealand earlier this year to continue their research.

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