Ruihi.

Bachelor of Education.

What are you up to at UC?

I'm in the fourth year of my Bachelor of Education in PE. We’re like a little family here. Our classes are tiny so we get to know each other really well.

Most memorable experience so far?

Last year I did a teaching placement in Porirua, Wellington. People thought I was crazy for wanting to go there, but I got so much value from it. The school has a reputation for being hard to teach at. The fact I enjoyed it made me feel like teaching is something I can be good at.

What did you learn there?

I learned that I'm good at relating to kids, especially the ones other teachers had trouble with. I'm young and Māori so I think they felt more connected to me. They relaxed, and when someone is relaxed you can teach them better.

Is there a strong Māori community at UC?

There is when you look for it. The Māori Development Team is really welcoming. When you walk into the Te Ao Mārama building you get a real sense of belonging. There's a feeling of affiliation between Māori students and staff. You know people are there to catch you if you fall. If you need help, there’s an abundance of it.

"I can go teach in the North Island, Australia, England, anywhere. Wherever there's an opportunity there's a chance."

Speaking of help, what's it like being a Tuakana?

It's fun. We do lots of events and we get to meet the new students. Last year I was mentoring a dude who’s doing an education paper like me. We hit it off straight away. He's a Tuakana this year so now we’re working together.

What are you looking forward to most?

Travelling. Having a teaching degree is really good for that. I can go teach in the North Island, Australia, England, anywhere. Wherever there's an opportunity there's a chance. I might even get to do a placement in Rarotonga next year!

How would you sum up UC?

It’s smaller than you think. You might start out not knowing too many people, but you end up with lots of familiar faces around. At UC you are not a fish alone in the ocean.