Maria O’Connell

Maria O’Connell

Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Latin America, Social Realities in Mexico


Hey! My name is Maria, and I am from Beachlands, Auckland. I am currently a student studying at the University of Auckland. I am doing a Bachelor’s in Global Studies, majoring in Human Rights, Politics and Spanish. I also do a conjoint with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Psychology and Criminology. 

I applied for this amazing opportunity as it gives me a chance to see the world in a completely different sphere in terms of economy, society and culture. This programme not only aligns with my chosen degree (Human Rights, Spanish) but career aspirations, in which I want to save victims who have been human trafficked. With Latin America holding high human trafficking rates, it is important for me to understand their lifestyle in order to provide empathy for future clients.

I am looking forward to learning about their indigenous cultural practices and seeing how they perceive the world through a Latin American lens.

  • Adjusting Back To Nueva Zelanda

    Today marks a week since I arrived home in New Zealand. Many components of my lifestyle in Mexico were different, and I had to adjust. Adjusting back home made me recognize the differences between Mexico and New Zealand and the changes within myself over my time away. Although I have spoken English my entire life,…Continue Reading Adjusting Back To Nueva Zelanda

  • The Colors of Cueztalan

    Upon finishing up our course work for this programme , we got the amazing opportunity to stay in Cuetzalan for our final week. This part of the trip was a chance to not only experience a different  social location of Mexico , but understand indigenous ways of living. The town of Cuetzalan was a gorgeous…Continue Reading The Colors of Cueztalan

  • To Fight In Favor Of Life

    Our final topic for this program was Environment and Sustainability. Due to studying the major of Human Rights and Politics, I had no in-depth understanding of this area. However, I was very excited to learn something that was completely outside of my specialization. Throughout this week, I realized how much human rights and politics interconnected with…Continue Reading To Fight In Favor Of Life