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University of Waikato student scores dream placement

5 December 2011
University of Waikato student scores dream placement at Toshiba

University of Waikato mechanical engineering student Toni O’Sullivan is off to Tokyo to work with technology giant Toshiba.

Toni, 26, leaves for 11 weeks in Japan today (Dec 5) in what she describes as a dream work placement.

“Work placements are a requirement of our third year and I’d applied for a few others and then saw the placement with Toshiba advertised in student magazine Nexus,” says Toni.

“Six weeks after applying I got an email to say that I got it. Toshiba are covering the cost of my flights and providing me with a dormitory to live in. I will be engaged in an unpaid internship working on the development of vibration control technology for fields ranging from elevators and railways to washing machines.”

Before coming to Waikato, Toni spent a few years living in Perth after studying Japanese and Linguistics in Dunedin.

“I wasn’t entirely happy in the work I was doing in Perth. There was something missing, I missed doing things like maths and physics and was always good at them when I was at school. I got to know a few engineers and realised that’s what I wanted to do.

“With the internship it wasn’t specified that we have to speak Japanese, but my time studying Japanese in Dunedin probably helped.

“When I was in high school I went to Japan for two weeks and got by with my limited Japanese. It’s been five to six years now since I’ve spoken it but I’ve downloaded a few tablet apps to help reacquaint myself and I’m looking forward to brushing up via trial by fire.”

Next year Toni returns to the University of Waikato to complete her degree.



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