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Student story

Aerinn Nguyen

20 July 2023

"I feel like I’m always welcomed to be myself..."


Bachelor of Science in Financial Engineering

Deal Advisory Analyst, KPMG, Wellington


What was your life like before coming to UC?

I had been a student at Wellington Girls’ College (WGC) for 3 years. While studying there, I learnt about New Zealand and its people, as well as getting to experience my life right in the capital city, the heart of the country.  I lived with my homestay parents who took care of me as their own kids.  I had made good friends, through study and through common personal interests. I had also received a lot of advice and help from the teachers and staff at WGC to improve myself and adapt to the new environment. 

Coming to UC and being exposed to many people from different disciplines, I started to learn more about myself, my strength, weakness and interests.

Tell us what motivated you to study at UC.

After high school in Wellington, I decided to try a new breath of fresh air by coming to Christchurch and studying at UC. One of the reasons was, of course, to have a change of environment, and to challenge myself with an unfamiliar, brand new journey. Another motivation was for me to explore a wide range of majors and degrees which would prepare me for the future. 

At UC, I was offered a top-class education and facilities, a real campus life, professional study environment, and a wide range of interesting courses that could be combined. 

What inspired you to study Financial Eng?

I started off as a Maths student, so I always knew that no matter what I would do in the future, it would be numerically related. However, it was still not good enough to narrow down my major choices. 

When I researched about UC and its programmes, Financial Engineering caught my attention immediately. It was not a traditional major, indeed it was quite a new major and was only offered at UC. What I liked the most about the course was that it offered the combination of courses which included a variety of areas. Those could be listed as Mathematics, Statistics, Economics, Finance, Computer Science, and Software Engineering, all of which are much needed in the future, especially in the digital world we are living in. 

Have you taken part in any internships, or been awarded any scholarships at UC? 

I was luckily awarded with a UC International First Year Scholarship and Undergraduate Entrance Scholarship before I came to UC. Those scholarships gave me more confidence and helped me get ready for university. 

I also aimed to apply for an internship that would take place at the end of the second year. I went to a Careers Fair which was held by UC to meet with many employers that were relevant to my degree and applied for some of them. Having been through different assessments and interviews, I eventually got an offer from KPMG – one of the global ‘Big Four’ accounting and consultancy firms, with whom I am now excitedly waiting to have my internship in Wellington. I hope that it will be an exceptional chance for me to learn and be trained to work in such a professional environment.

Have you stayed in any accommodation on campus? How have you found it? 

During my first year of university, I had a chance to experience living in Unihall – a campus accommodation for first year students. Although it was not my first time in New Zealand, it was my first time living in Christchurch. Therefore, staying at Unihall gave me an opportunity to slowly blend in and adapt to the life in this new city. 

At Unihall, there were RA’s and staff who always welcomed me and assisted us with any need, and they also constantly checked up on us to provide necessary support. Moreover, I met and made new friends, some of whom now still stay as my close friends. There were also social as well as academic activities during the year, especially during the exam period for us to have the best experience both living at Unihall and studying at UC.

How have you found life in Christchurch and New Zealand as an international student?

As an international student, New Zealand is the perfect place! I feel like I’m always welcomed to be myself. I am also lucky enough to have experienced living in 2 different cities, Wellington and Christchurch, and I love both of them. 

Christchurch, in my view, is a city that contains countless opportunities for us youngsters. I also like that in Christchurch, it is easy to go everywhere with an excellent public transport service. Malls, stores, restaurants are spread across the city, and there are enough of them to make it comfortable living anywhere in this city.

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