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05 • 04 • 2017

Mohamed Alansari

In 2006 Mohamed Alansari completed an ACG foundation programme to help him get into the University of Auckland. Originally from Bahrain, Mohamed was the first person in his family to attend university. Now he is a Research Fellow in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the university, awaiting the conferment of his PhD.

He tells us about his journey.

What made you decide to do a foundation course at ACG Parnell (and when did you graduate)?

Because of the differences in the schooling systems of New Zealand and Bahrain, I needed to do a foundation course at ACG Parnell to ensure I was prepared to pursue my tertiary education in this country.

This was important as I finished my schooling overseas in a foreign language. I needed to overcome the language barrier as well as adjust to the different way of teaching and learning in New Zealand.

Plus, completing this course prior to starting my undergraduate tertiary studies gave me the opportunity to form friendships and adjust to the living situation in a new country.

What was your favourite subject at school?

Definitely maths. I enjoy solving mathematical problems. As quirky as this may sound, there is something so satisfying about finding the value of x!

What did you study at University?

I completed a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and education, followed by a Bachelor of Arts (1st Class Honours) in education, a Masters of Arts (1st Class Honours) in education, and now a PhD specialisation in social psychology of education.

My doctorate will be conferred in September’s graduation ceremony. It will mark a total of 13 years of schooling, and nine years of tertiary education.

Why was it important for you to attain a university qualification?

I am the first person from my family to attend university, so a major part of my motives was my family. I also wanted to keep with the job market because of the academic inflation in the number of students graduating with university degrees year after year. So I found myself competing with thousands of others for a limited number of jobs, and I knew that achieving my utmost best at school or university while thinking of my future career plans was key to success. So combining my passion (education and mathematics) while working in an education-related field seemed like a natural plan to me.

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do now?

I am now a research fellow at the faculty of education and social work within the University of Auckland. As part of my role, I give lectures on educational and social psychology, research methods, and improving outcomes for university students. I also collaborate on a number of research projects while supporting staff and students with designing and carrying out their own projects.

Where would you like to see yourself in ten years’ time?

I’m a big dreamer. So I see myself in ten years’ time taking on a challenging leadership role that allows me to have a greater impact on how we teach students and cater to their needs at all education levels.

Do you have any advice for students considering a foundation course now?

I would encourage all students to consider three questions prior to completing a foundation course:

1) Why are you here? Understanding the purpose of a foundation course, and how it helps students reach their career or life aspirations is crucial to their motivation, effort, and persistence when facing difficult or challenging tasks.

2) Where do you want to be? Knowing that what students will learn at the foundation course will be useful and handy when starting university is crucial to their engagement with the course content.

3) How will you reach your goals? This is perhaps the easiest yet the trickiest to do: Acknowledging that reaching ones’ goals and long-term aspirations requires commitment, determination, and deciding on manageable ‘next steps’ for students to take.