Lizzie Garside is studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand
“Applying to UC was made so much easier with the help of Study Options. They helped with my application and were in contact throughout my enrolment.
“I enjoy that my degree is very social. This means collaborative study often takes place in class. On a good or bad day, being able to take time out and do something completely different and interactive really makes the whole university experience. My lecturers and tutors have been supportive, chatty and happy to answer my questions. I also had the opportunity to tutor a first-year maths course which helped me to understand the local academic system and how departments are run.
“UC’s engineering degree comprises of applied workshops and industry projects. I completed my internship at Hamilton Jet in Christchurch. Here, I worked for the manufacturing engineering department to implement procedures to aid the quality of products on the production line. This complemented the interest in manufacturing engineering that I developed during my third-year papers. My internship has improved my professional abilities and my understanding of management styles, which are essential skills that can help me succeed beyond the degree. It has also narrowed down the type of workplace and industry that would suit me to work in in the future. The work environment in Christchurch is relaxed and offers more opportunity to find myself a placement than I would expect in the UK.
“At UC, I have never felt out of place. I have always been involved with Kiwi friends and have found it easy to meet and get on with new people. During my first year, I stayed at University Hall. Living at the hall gave me the opportunity to make friends and settle in quickly. It was fully catered, which was convenient and allowed me to just enjoy being at university. For the rest of my degree, I have been flatting with friends and later with my partner. I enjoyed flatting, and found it straightforward to join a group of friends to share housing with.
“Christchurch has plenty of green spaces and there is always somewhere new to go and explore. It’s easy to take a drive for an impromptu beach day or to go tramping up in the Port Hills when the weather is perfect. Skiing at Mt Hutt or outdoor rock climbing at Castle Hill is only an hour and a half away! Christchurch itself is vibrant with modern buildings, new markets and bars on the riverside, and is decorated with street art around every corner. Buses are easy to use and cycling around is even easier. I feel very comfortable here and enjoy the slower pace of life. I see myself staying back in New Zealand to work after graduation.
“I also chose New Zealand for the adventure and the climate. I have always enjoyed outdoor sports and studying in Canterbury meant I could continue exploring. Since coming to New Zealand for my university studies, I have travelled the length of the country, kayaked through Fiordland, visited the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, seen the intelligence of keas and skied through winter, surfed in summer and skated around town! Travelling the South Island during the holidays and weekends has been a highlight. I have explored Dunedin, Queenstown, Takaka, Kaikoura and the hot springs at Hamner in these short adventures.
“I have loved my whole study experience in New Zealand. It has been easy to make the most of activities and to meet new people through university clubs. In my final year, I hope to use my course options to determine the industry I have a passion for. Once I have graduated, I plan to stay in New Zealand and work.”