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Rugby scholar Karla Akeli, an Aucklander, travelled south to study for Lincoln’s specialised sport and recreation degree and take advantage of the university’s renowned Sports Scholarship Programme.

“It’s great to be able to play rugby and study at the same time,” she says.

As part of the rugby scholarship programme, students receive training from Canterbury Rugby Skills and gain access to specialist programmes and facilities.

Some of New Zealand’s top rugby players have been part of the programme and Karla’s keen to become one of them.

She’s chosen to study towards a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation, as she’d love to have the opportunity to work in the sporting sector, “even without playing if I don’t go further with my rugby”.

While one of her ultimate career goals is to join the police force, she also likes the idea of teaching physical education at a high school.

As far as her studies are concerned, Karla enjoys group work the most.

“The lecturers are really helpful too and I like the friendships you make at Lincoln,” she says. “It’s such a small uni, everyone’s so friendly and you get to know people quickly.”

Involving herself in many extracurricular activities, she enjoys the events offered on campus and is a member of the Lincoln University Pacific Island Students’ Association (LUPISA).

LUPISA provides social, cultural and academic assistance and organises social events to support Pasifika identity on campus. It operates alongside the Lincoln University Students’ Association (LUSA) and Karla enjoys the opportunities it provides as she hones her sporting abilities and prepares for a career in the sector.