'Learning a language is not easy, but it does give you advantages and will definitely be useful someday...'
Bachelor of Arts in Japanese and Management Science
Studying towards a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Japanese
Victoria's appreciation of the value of learning new languages has brought her from Taipei, Taiwan, to Christchurch to study.
'People always ask me why I am learning Japanese in New Zealand, but I do enjoy learning two languages and two cultures simultaneously,' she says. 'Learning a language is not easy, but it does give you advantages and will definitely be useful someday.
'I decided to learn Japanese because I found it difficult to travel in a country without knowing the language. I like Japanese food and am interested in Japanese culture, especially animation, and I thought it would be nice if I could actually speak to Japanese people in their language! I'm also developing useful translation skills.'
Now studying towards Honours in Japanese, Victoria took Management Science in her undergraduate Arts degree.
'I took Management Science because I believe it will help me see things from a different perspective and will help me in my career. It has taught me about problem solving, critical thinking and a lot of other skills that can be applied in almost every modern business.
'I have a strong passion for language learning and travelling, and hopefully I can make a career out of it one day - I'd like to work in large international organisations.'
As an international student, Victoria has settled into life in Christchurch nicely and being in a university environment has helped her make plenty of friends and connections.
'It's great to be experiencing a life that is so different to home, and I feel welcome here,' she says. 'The staff in the International Relations Office are friendly and willing to help. I've joined the Japanese Society and the International Students Group and these clubs, and events in the city, give me the chance to make friends and learn about New Zealand in ways I wouldn't otherwise.
'It's a beautiful campus, and from the start my classmates were very friendly, and that helped me get through the initial shock of studying away from home. It's easy to make friends when the classes are not so big.'
'Speaking to a native speaker in their language can be scary, and that does discourage you sometimes, but once you're through that stage you get that great satisfaction of being able to do it. It's okay to make mistakes, it's all part of the process of learning.'
One of the features of the BA that drew Victoria to UC was the opportunity to do internships that count towards her degree. She took advantage of this and worked as a researcher for a Japanese business. She also worked for a business providing holiday programmes for Japanese-speaking kiwi children.
'That was a great opportunity to practise Japanese in a business environment and learn about the Japanese working culture - and especially to see how my two subjects could be applied together.'
Victoria's efforts with her study were recognised when she was awarded the Japanese Consul's Price in her third year.
'I felt honoured, and relieved, that I have really achieved something during my years here as an international student.'
In her spare time, Victoria likes to get out into the city parks or to the library to borrow novels or comic books, and to catch up with friends to watch movies.
'It feels great when I realise I no longer need subtitles, in either English or Japanese!'