Clarissa.

Bachelor of Speech
and Language Pathology.

Why did you choose Speech Therapy?

Helping people is my driving force. I find it sad when people can't communicate their wants and needs. I speak multiple languages so I have lots of ways to get an idea across. I want to help other people communicate better too.

You’re from Malaysia – how does Christchurch compare?

I'm from a town just south of Kuala Lumpur. It’s really busy. In Christchurch there are no traffic jams, the air is cleaner, the lifestyle is more relaxed. It's a nice place to study.

Tell us about the play you created!

Last year I directed and co-wrote a play for the Canterbury Malaysian Students’ Association annual Malaysian Night. It was called Whanau. It tells the story of three close friends of different races and it incorporated some New Zealand history as well. It was a big production with 70 cast and crew.

Wow! How did it go?

It was a full house! The thing that really struck me was how so many people got to learn from the experience. I learned how to lead and direct 70 people. For others, it was a way to build confidence and make new friends, play music or act on stage. The play’s message was around friendship, family and forgiveness and felt amazing that people responded to it in such a positive way.

"UC is very accommodating to international students. Any time they need support or feel homesick, the student care team is there to help."

What are you up to this year?

I'm president of Operation Friendship. We connect Kiwi families with international students. Once a month they have dinner together. It’s a way for international students to feel accepted in the Christchurch community. It's also a good way to get used to the Kiwi accent!

Is there a lot of international support here?

UC is very accommodating to international students. Any time they need support or feel homesick, the student care team is there to help.

Is the campus quite diverse?

Very much so! It's given me a chance to learn about New Zealand and heaps of other countries as well. Who knew I would get to make friends from Finland, Brazil, Colombia, the USA... At UC, the whole world is right here!