After quickly regrouping and pulling our Hilo lives back together, we’re starting to look toward the future again. I’ve been corresponding with the faculty of the music department at the University of Otago in Aotearoa (New Zealand) again, and they have been very encouraging about my beginning Ph.d. studies there in February 2008. Some details remain to be worked out, but unless a major obstacle is encountered we will likely be in Dunedin by January.
What is exciting about this is that there are no issues in having my family accompany me there. Foreign students seeking a Ph.d. there are entitled to resident tuition rates (about $3,000US) while they are resident there, and for up to a year during out-of-country research. My daughter is entitled to attend school for free and treated as a resident of New Zealand as well. If my wife decides she wants to work she can easily obtain a work permit. The university has some family-ready accommodations in their inventory that are on or very near to the campus and Dunedin’s major shopping center.
Secondary school begins in early-February and ends the first week of July. University classes begin in late-February and finish in late-June, to the timing appears to be excellent as well.
I was speaking with a colleague who knows a lot about Aotearoa, and she related that the country is very encouraging of people to not only study in but actually move there. The country itself has about 2.5 million people, of which about 1.5 million live in Auckland. While we have no plans of making the move permanent, New Zealand seems far more welcoming of us than Ireland was. Perhaps I should withhold that comment until we actually make it through immigration there 😉