'The connections you make, and the opportunities you’re given, are priceless...'
Studying towards a Bachelor of Arts in English and Media and Communication
Tahlia’s time with UC has focused largely on getting the best value from the study and work experiences available toward her career prospects. She’s so far completed a number of internship courses giving an inside look at where her English and Media and Communications studies can lead, locally and overseas.
‘I’ve realised that while a degree is a great foot in the door, it’s the opportunities that have come from studying that have made me see how valuable tertiary education is,’ she says.
First taking the 200-level Arts internship course saw Tahlia working with Neat Places, promoting interesting eateries, events and activities around Christchurch. She also took the COMS 207 course on social media business strategy, which included implementing her studies into an internship with a local start-up company.
At the end of her second year Tahlia also took part in the Global Awareness Summer Programme involving an internship and three weeks of study at Peking University in Beijing.
‘My entire perception of China was changed on this trip, and I came back with a totally different mindset towards different cultures. But I also learned how similar people really are, regardless of where you come from,’ she says.
‘I would go above and beyond to recommend the Arts Internship programme to any student. The connections you make, and the opportunities you’re given, are priceless, and to be able to have work experience before graduating is what makes graduates stand out.’
The connections she made from her placement with Neat Places led to continued work outside of study, which really supports her writing skills development.
‘I’m studying towards a BA in communications, while working in the industry I had planned to be in when I graduate,’ she says. ‘Some days I’m researching disruptive science, while other days I’m writing about the best pizza in Christchurch – the projects are varied, and that’s what keeps me motivated.’
Initially choosing her two majors was inspired by her passion for writing, and wanting to support industries communicating effectively with clients.
‘As everything moves online, and we start to lose face-to-face contact, it’s important that businesses and clients can still feel connected to each other. To be a skilled communicator you have to ensure that what you’re putting online is sending the right messages to the right people, and it’s so easy to get that wrong.
‘I love that there are now more PR and social media based papers within the Media and Communications department. More and more people are starting to realise that there is more than just the journalism career path from a degree in Media and Coms, and it’s great that Canterbury can offer those different courses.’
Staying at University Hall in her second year as a Residential Assistant was a way for her to help first-year students in similar study find their motivation, with the added benefit of being close to campus.
‘It was a great opportunity to be able to motivate and encourage first year students who were struggling with what to study and what career path to go down,’ she says. ‘Again, it was another opportunity that I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t attended Canterbury, and I learned lifelong skills. Being an R.A. taught me so much about myself as well.’
For her own career goals, Tahlia plans to have an impact on the growing number of start-up companies in Christchurch and beyond.
‘I love the opportunities that are available here, and it’s so exciting to be on campus while the city is changing so frequently. I really believe that Christchurch will be an amazing hub for innovation and entrepreneurship in 5 years’ time, so to be able to study in the city and see all the progress take place is pretty unique.
‘Eventually I want to move into the communications sector of a not-for-profit organisation – or start my own PR company and take on not-for-profit clients. I’m passionate about helping to make a difference in the world. My dream job however would be a travel writer of some description – nothing makes me happier than travelling and exploring new places.’
Tahlia has spent time travelling and working overseas between high school and uni, including Australia, England, Europe, South America, Beijing and the Middle East. She looks forward to adding to her extensive list with an upcoming exchange to University of California, Berkeley, this year.
‘I love studying and I love my job, and the experiences I’ve had while travelling are so unique. I’m always looking for the next adventure and to get off the beaten track, and experience different cultures.’