Rachel Tan - “Student life: be financially savvy with a sustainable and green lifestyle”


Rachel Tan

Rachel is a PhD candidate at the Higher Education Development Centre, University of Otago. She likes to meet people and is a big fan of nature and photography.

Not long after I came to Dunedin, I enrolled in the sustainable living course held by the Dunedin City Council. The ad about the free course in the weekly Star paper attracted me because I associated sustainable living as being financially prudent, an important lifestyle for a student.

The knowledge would be important to me because I come from a tropical country and I had little idea about “the art of flatting” in New Zealand.

I immediately emailed the tutor, Dr. Maureen Howard and was warmly welcomed to attend the lessons at a community centre in the city. She is very passionate about the environment and encourages people to live sustainably but never made judgemental comments on people’s choice of living.

My favourites were the excursions such as visiting a community garden at the Kaikorai Valley and making recycle items at the Green Island Landfill.


Being the only international participant, I learnt a lot from the other seven participants about living in Dunedin. In addition, I gained a deeper insight of the local community through interactions with each participant coming from different age group.

More importantly, these energy saving and green living practices are very suitable for a student like me.