When it comes to marketing the University of Otago both internationally and domestically, there are a group of individuals that make our job really easy – the academic staff. We have an exceptionally talented and hard working body of academics that are passionate about their research, education and encouraging students to ask questions, think for themselves and ultimately, hopefully contribute to making the world a better place. As part of our blog series, we are regularly going to sit down with one of our academics and ask 5 questions, so today we’re catching up with Dr Anna High, from the Law Faculty, Anna currently teaches Evidence Law and Criminal Law.
What is your area of research expertise, and what is it about your particular area that motivates you?
“I have a number of research interests, but my current focus is Chinese Law. My DPhil (equivalent to our PhD) focused on the negotiated existence of unregistered orphanages and child welfare NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organisations) in China, and their interactions, as quasi-legal organisations with state actors. I’m in the final stages of preparing a book on this topic, based on my DPhil fieldwork and updated data gathered in 2017.”
How did you find your passion?
“I studied Mandarin from primary school right through to University in Australia. Being a Chinese speaker opened a lot of doors when I was at university, including great clerkship opportunities in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing. By the time I was choosing my DPhil topic, I knew I wanted to study the nature and role of law in Chinese culture. The topic I chose to focus on – Chinese child welfare law – also intersects with my interest in how the law protects vulnerable populations.”
How did you end up in Dunedin?
“I’m originally from Horsham, Victoria, and attended university at the University of Queensland. My journey to Dunedin has taken me almost right around the globe – from UQ to University of Oxford, to complete the BCL, MPhil and DPhil in law as the Queensland Rhodes Scholar ’08; to the US, where I first taught at Marquette University Law School, and then at Loyola University Chicago School of Law; then finally to Dunedin. Our family felt the time was right to return down-under, and we were excited for a sea-change in a beautiful part of the world with a world-class university.”
Favourite place in Dunedin/secret insiders tip?
“My family loves Sandfly Bay, early in the morning when you get the beach to yourself. The hike from Sandy Mount down to the Bay is amazing, especially when the flowers are out, although really hard work getting back up the dunes.”
Favourite place in the world to travel to?
“Being married to an American, and having studied in China and Europe, I’ve been on some amazing holidays around the world. Places that stick out: Grand Teton National Park, Umbria, the Black Forest and Shanghai.”
What advice you would give your 20 year old self?
“Take your time figuring out what you want to be, where to go, what to study, where to travel. There’s no need to rush into a major or try to set your life’s trajectory in stone when you’re so young.”
Thanks for your time Anna, we think you’re a star, and we are lucky to have your knowledge, passion and expertise here at Otago! If you would like to find out more about studying at the University of Otago, click on the link below.
Nicky Richardson is an International Marketing Coordinator at the University of Otago. With degrees in music and marketing, she is a recent graduate of Otago herself – she loves Otago so much she ended up getting a job here!