A young swimmer with a Paralympic dream has moved to New Zealand to make her mark and study one of the most forward-thinking courses in the country.
Georgia Gray, a talented 22-year-old, arrived in Auckland in early 2015 to pursue a Master of Public Health at Massey University, after graduating from Oxford University.
The champion para-swimmer is also on a mission to qualify for the Rio 2016 Summer Paralympics after being headhunted by New Zealand’s Para-Swimming head performance coach, Jon Shaw. Gray, born in London to Kiwi parents, was born with a congenital defect which meant she was missing her right hand.
“I moved here for swimming, but I also really wanted to pursue a Master of Public Health,” Gray says. “Massey University was the most understanding and athlete friendly university in New Zealand. And they offer a great course in Public Health.”
Gray, who is based in Browns Bay on Auckland’s North Shore near Massey University’s modern Albany campus, has chosen to study via distance, so she can travel for training when needed.
“This year promises to be pretty busy if I qualify, with lots of international camps, but Rio is my aim right now. Swimming was very secondary to me during my first degree, and now it has sort of become the basis of my day, so it’s been a bit of a shock to the system, but everyone has been so supportive.
“Massey has been really understanding when I haven’t been able to physically attend, sending me lecture notes, or posting lectures online. It’s been a great experience.”
And just when you thought her life couldn’t get any busier, Gray and her British partner, Kit Menzies-Wilson, who made the move from the UK, have also set up a joint tutoring business in Auckland.
Gray plans on devoting more time to study after Rio and even has plans for further qualifications.
“I’d really like to pursue a PhD at an overseas university on reproductive health in a developing world setting. I’ve always geared my study towards helping others, and think that reproductive health is one of the most pressing demographic issues populations face today.”
Gray says she also hopes to pursue a research dissertation at Massey, “possibly on the topic of cultural attitudes towards euthanasia in New Zealand”.
Learn more about discovering your dreams with Massey University here.