Zhibin (Denny) Du
'UC gave me such valuable experiences and opportunities...'
With a goal to start a career in the forestry industry, Denny decided on travelling to New Zealand from China, as recommended to him by family and for the opportunity to experience study in the unique New Zealand environment.
‘New Zealand is a good place to study as it provides a better environment for me to live in and pursue my future life quality,’ he says. ‘New Zealand has high diversity of landscapes and cultures, and Kiwis are friendly and willing to help international friends.’
Denny was keen to study at UC for its Forestry Science degree, particularly because of the field trips and internship opportunities it provides.
‘If you want to study Forestry, UC definitely is your first choice. UC has a strong reputation both in New Zealand and around the world. It also provides field trips to sites around New Zealand and many opportunities for going into forest and mills related to forest operations.’
Denny describes his first months at UC being a challenge due to his language barrier, but after making it a goal to talk to his classmates and lecturers often, he built up confidence and even became a Class Representative in his second year.
‘I found teachers and staff are enthusiastic with their works and people. With the help of them, I did better and better,’ he says. ‘While at UC, I find and believe that everyone has incredible potential to do great things as long as there are opportunities for them, to make contributions and try different things.’
Getting involved with student clubs was also a big help to settling at UC.
‘I take part in UCCSSS (University of Canterbury Chinese Student & Scholars Society) and Forestry Society (FORSOC). We have BBQs every term and bus trips per semester. We just basically play and have fun. More importantly, we have employer evenings to meet with major players in the forestry sector and get some idea from these companies on what type of employee they are looking for.’
Denny feels prepared for work after uni, due to the degree covering a large variety in subjects and being ‘not only about trees’.
‘I also have the opportunity to study other subjects such as biology, statistics, landscape, climate change and even urban design (more canopies, less carbon). It can help me to touch more interesting topics and know more about our environment.’
He had the chance to apply his skills in field trips around the South Island, including Hanmer Springs, the West Coast, and smaller trips to orchards, plantations and harvesting operations around Christchurch. ‘I am excited to have had these field trips in my study period at university,’ he says.
Denny also had the opportunity to complete a summer internship assisting with inventory, valuation and translation in China with Chandler Fraser Keating Ltd, an international forestry consultant company, and stocktake with a sawmill located in Northern China.
‘These experiences gave me lots of information on how the industry and companies work and operate, and I learned some useful practical technologies related to what I study.’
His biggest highlight however was a one-semester exchange to the University of British Columbia in Canada, with the help of the UC International Mobility Outbound Exchange Award.
‘It was an incredible and unforgettable experience. I got the chance to explore other cities and to see different people with different lifestyle and cultures. I met and made many friends from different places of the world. Many of them are outstanding in their own fields and have strong motivation about life.
‘Based on my previous experience at UC, I adopted the new environment quickly and absolutely enjoyed my exchange life. I became more and more international, which is really what I want to be. This experience greatly broadened my personal horizons.’
Denny hopes to start a career in forest management once he graduates UC, and plans to make the most of his international expertise.
‘I would like to have opportunity engaging in international trades on forestry products. For example I can act as a bridge to improve communications and business between China and New Zealand with the rapid development of globalisation,’ he says.
With so much gained from his time at UC, Denny is grateful for the opportunities he has had so far and plans to get even more involved in volunteering and community engagement during study.
‘University life at UC is full of such incredible opportunities. I may not remember everything I learned in class after study but I won’t forget such experiences in my life time. UC gave me such valuable experiences and opportunities to improve myself, from an academic and practical skills aspect to my individual life.’