Jo Secher

Jo is doing a psychology PhD at the University of Otago

Jo Secher

"I’m from London – but I think of it more as a holiday destination than home, because I’ve lived in Dunedin for two and a half years. People often ask why I came here. The answer depends on who it is that’s asking! If an academic asks it’s because Otago is world class and has an internationally renowned psychology department – if a mate asks, it’s because New Zealand is one of the most gorgeous countries on earth and has some of the most friendly and delightful people you’ll ever meet.

"I’m researching the role of emotion in risk perception. This has become particularly topical of late because of the heightened fear of terrorist attacks since September 11, but it’s always been of vital importance and is highly political, whether you’re discussing nuclear energy, terrorism, GM foods or even traffic control measures.

"Dunedin is a small and very student-centric city. With that come pros and cons – the pros being an intellectually vibrant milieu with lots of youthful energy. Residents of Dunedin benefit from regular free admission public lectures, an active local music scene and an abundance of people to party with whenever they feel like it. The main disadvantage is that it’s actually quite hard to find anywhere that isn’t frequented by students if you feel like escaping the cocoon back to the ‘real world’. A more general disadvantage of New Zealand is the distances and dire infrastructure that make visiting any other city a project that requires considerable exertion and planning!"

Jo found it easy to apply through Study Options...

"If you're thinking about applying, my advice is: Get on to Study Options right away.  Having an agent deal with your applciation might actually make it easier than applying to a UK University without one.  The staff at Study Options have all lived in Australasia and can answer most questions you can throw at them about it.  They also seem to be rather well-connected, as they managed to persuade NZ Immigration to grant me a visa in three days instead of the usual ten - so if you're as scatty as me, indispensable."