'I have always had a desire to be an entrepreneur and run my own business...'
Studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance, Management and Strategy and Entrepreneurship
'I have always had a desire to be an entrepreneur and run my own business,' says Neranga, who has come to Christchurch from Sri Lanka to take on a triple major Commerce degree over four years.
'Seeing so many companies expand globally and grow into bigger and better organisations... I just can't wait to be a part of it. Being my own boss is still a few years away so first I plan to work in business consulting. I also have a dream to one day hold a pilot's licence, so my ultimate goal is to be an entrepreneur and pilot.'
Neranga won the UC College of Business and Economics and Lyceum International School Sri Lanka Scholarship which, by covering his tuition fees, made overseas study possible. He feels his degree is already preparing him for his business career.
'Not only am I learning all the applicable theory, but the degree also gives practical experience through team projects, foreign tours, industry related articles, examples and speakers, simulation games, leadership and presentation skills.
'The personalities of our lecturers make study interesting, and their availability to help makes it easier. The workload is just right and allows me time to get involved in extracurricular activities.'
Neranga certainly keeps himself busy outside lectures. He is part of a team developing a new, innovative product and vying for the annual $85k entré Challenge, and he is representing UC in the SDS business case competition. He is also a talented sportsman, having picked up several awards at high school, and is currently the youngest member of the Heathcote Cricket Club's Senior XI. Cricket has provided a good way for him to settle into New Zealand life.
'I've been a fan of the Black Caps for a long time and cricket did fuel my desire to visit New Zealand,' he says. 'People at UC and outside have been friendly and generous. One of many examples of this is my friend Darren Booth from the Heathcote Cricket Club, who has even lent me a car while I am here, and I am really thankful for that.'
Neranga likes to get out and see more of his host country.
'Coming from a small, beautiful village in Sri Lanka, nature is something I find unbelievably amazing. I have travelled a lot around New Zealand and the scenic beauty is really breath taking. In the holidays I have gone fishing in the Marlborough Sounds, hiking, and skiing at Mount Hutt.'
He has also had the opportunity to travel to China, having been selected to take the MGMT 228 course which is a study tour of the country.
'On the tour we had to conduct English speaking classes for Chinese students and I was awarded one of seven best teacher awards voted for by the Chinese students. It was a highlight of my university career thus far.'
When he started at UC, Neranga opted to live in university accommodation, first at University Hall and then Ilam Apartments, which gave him a taste of flat-sharing. He now lives with fellow students in a house near the University but stays involved with the halls through his part-time job as a caterer for the 500-plus students.
'My flatting experience was really awesome, and I have made friends and connections I believe will last a lifetime,' he says.
Neranga is keen to point out that he appreciates people's kindness, without which moving to New Zealand 'wouldn't have been the same'. He says, 'I am grateful to my parents, teachers and friends who have always stood by me and helped me reach where I am today. I'd also like to thank UC, the lecturers and tutors for the outstanding jobs they perform.'