Natalija.

Master of European Union Studies.

Tell us about the academic side of UC. How would you describe it?

Rewarding and stimulating. There’s a strong research focus which is something I like about UC. You don't often get that at an undergrad level. The readings are really interesting and the lecturers give you as much support as you need.

Tell us about your exchange!

I did a semester abroad at Berkeley, California. It was really fascinating. The American students were very engaged in politics and activism. It was interesting to see their perspective on things. I met a lot of international students and went travelling around the States and Europe afterwards.

Would you recommend going on exchange?

Absolutely. I tell everyone who's thinking about it to just go for it. It's probably one of the best opportunities you can get to travel and study. You can go to heaps of places – England, France, China, Asia, anywhere! Next year I'm hoping to go to Singapore as part of my master’s degree.

Have you had other opportunities for success?

I’ve had the opportunity to participate in a couple of research projects. One of them is a project for the National Centre for Research in Europe where I’m collecting data on what New Zealand embassies tweet about.

"There’s a strong research focus which is something I like about UC. You don't often get that at an undergrad level."

Sounds interesting!

It is! That's one of the good things about UC – there are more opportunities to get involved because it's a small campus. The lecturers know you and encourage you to join in. Research skills are really important for any career in public policy or NGOs, and the practical experience shows you can apply your skills in real-world contexts.

Academics aside – what else have you been up to?

I was vice president of the Canterbury Schools Debating Council, I'm the events manager for Amnesty International and I've done a musical with Musoc. I was just in the chorus but it was lots of fun! The clubs are a great way to meet people.

How would you describe your overall UC experience?

It's been incredible. I really enjoy being on a campus that is so centralised. You can see your friends every day and study outside on the lawns. Going to Berkeley helped me realise the calibre of our own lecturers. UC’s academic quality is up there with the best universities in the world.