Ribu.

PhD in Civil Engineering.

What’s your background and why did you choose UC?

Ancestrally I'm from Nepal, but I was born in Thailand. My family came to Christchurch 15 years ago. UC was a natural choice for me because it ranks highly in engineering and it's close to home.

How would you describe your experience so far?

In terms of academics I've been very happy with the level of research and education that UC provides. As a student experience, it's been amazing. There’s such a diverse range of people who all have unique talents and perspectives.

Any highlights to share?

I went on exchange to Berkeley, California. It was unreal! I got to live away from home and push myself academically. In four months I managed to travel to six states, and made some lifelong friends!

Sounds amazing. Most memorable moment?

During the US electoral campaign they had some controversial speakers come to campus and it actually provoked a riot. Seeing that gave me a new perspective on free speech. Another time, we visited a national park and came within 10 metres of a wild bear. Luckily we were in a car! You never get those experiences unless you seek them out.

"In four months I managed to travel to six states, and made some lifelong friends!"

What other global exposure have you had?

After the earthquake in Nepal I travelled over to do an internship with a local engineering company involved in the rebuild. It was a great learning experience because it gave me exposure to issues faced in developing countries which we don't have to deal with here in New Zealand.

How have your international travels shaped you as a person?

I’ve become more tolerant and open to different ideas. Now when someone gives me an opinion I don't agree with my reaction is to go, “hang on, let me try and understand it from their perspective”. Also, having taken some risks I've become more willing to try new things.

How would you sum up the uni experience?

Overall I’ve found that university is more about the friends you make and the experiences you share. It’s a chance to bring your personal and professional values together, and with the right balance of study ethics and career planning thrown in, it’s definitely one of the most rewarding experiences you can have.