Liyana.

Bachelor of Commerce.

Where’s home for you?

I'm from Penang, Malaysia. I’m here as an international student. I chose UC for the nature and environment, plus it fulfilled all the criteria I wanted in a uni. I’m really enjoying it so far! I'm getting into the community, my language has improved, and I've made a lot of new friends.

Is it very different to back home?

Yes. New Zealand is very laid-back. Even if I have a test tomorrow, I still feel relaxed! There's less pressure than in Malaysia, although I'm still doing equally well. I'm just happier doing it.

Have you got out into nature?

Yes, I'm in the UC Climbing Club. I’ve climbed two mountains since last year! One was Mount Olivier which is near Mt Cook and is 1832 m high. I’ve also climbed Mount Somers and done the Rakaia Gorge walkway. I'm kind of adventurous and I love heights!

What have you done community wise?

Last year I joined the Student Volunteer Army. We went on missions and helped people in their homes. I really enjoyed getting out in the community so I applied to be on the exec team and got accepted as Treasurer. It's fun being the only Malaysian and the only Muslim on the Exec!

"You realise that everyone is the same at heart. I like giving people my time and energy and seeing how happy it makes them in return."

How is it being a Muslim at UC?

It's interesting. People don't judge, they just want to learn about you. I get weird questions like, what colour is your hair?! It's fun and it's a great learning journey. I learn about them, and they learn about me as well.

Favourite aspect of UC life?

The people, the culture and getting involved. The more you do, the more you develop your character. You realise that everyone is the same at heart. I like giving people my time and energy and seeing how happy it makes them in return.

Any advice for international students?

Get over your fear! People might think I’m brave, but I can be quite shy inside. I challenge myself to get out there. Talk to people and get out of your comfort zone. UC is a great place to be!