Yassi Sahba

'You have to be open to trying new things. Whether it's meeting new people, or bungy jumping...'

  • Yassi Sahba

Study Abroad student

Certificate of Proficiency Engineering

Back home in Dallas, Texas, USA, Yassi is double majoring in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics, which she chose so she could make a contribution to one of the world's biggest issues.

'Engineering is all about improving the quality of people's lives, and I always knew that I wanted to study engineering because I think it's one of the best ways I can help more people,' she explains. 'I hope to work in the energy sector, specifically with improving energy storage methods so we can make alternative and renewable energy a viable option for the world's energy needs.'

During her degree, Yassi seized the opportunity to study at UC on the Study Abroad programme, and have her work credited towards her degree.

'After deciding to come to New Zealand for a semester, I found that UC and Christchurch were the perfect place for me. UC has a great engineering school, so I was able to stay on track with my degree plan, and Christchurch is a great central location for exploring the whole country.

'The professors here are very understanding of Study Abroad students, and they have been more than willing to work with me to make sure I have a successful semester here.'

There are a few differences between studying at UC and in Dallas that have made it a worthwhile experience academically.

'Back home, we don't have tutorial-style classes, so it has been great to work more closely with the lecturers and other students within the classroom setting,' says Yassi.

'Since I hope to work with renewable energy, the opportunity to fabricate my own solar cell in class was great. In the same class, we also discussed microfluidics, the physics behind the field, and its various applications. I found the topic very interesting and I would not have been able to study it back at my home university, so it was awesome that UC offered that course.'

In Dallas, Yassi is a member of Engineers Without Borders, IEEE and Habitat for Humanity, and she also plays for the university water polo team. Studying overseas has also meant trying new things, something Yassi recommends others should do.

'With Christchurch's great location, I've been hiking and camping all over the country during weekends and holidays. On weekends when I don't travel, I explore Christchurch, from the Friday food trucks to the Saturday morning farmers' market and evening musical performances by Kiwi artists. I also go to UCanDance classes during the week with a group of Study Abroad students - something I never would have considered doing back home.'

Naturally, there are cultural differences between New Zealand and the US, but Yassi says she has found it easy to adapt and enjoy herself here.

'As clichéd as it sounds, you have to be open to trying new things. Whether it's new food, or meeting new people, or bungy jumping - which I did and would highly recommend. You'll be surprised how much you can enjoy things you never would have thought about doing.'

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