Wananga landing Wananga landing
Student story

André Bertel

20 July 2023

"This degree will enhance your understanding of learning and education in a wider social context..."


Bachelor of Arts in Education with a minor in Human Services

School Teacher and Karate Instructor, Oita City, Japan

As a professional karate coach, André decided to study Education at UC so that he could "study academically the psychological and sociological influences on the way people learn".

In fact, as well as improving his teaching and coaching ability, André found that he also gained a much broader understanding of social justice.

"When you consider that education and educators essentially function as the gatekeepers of society, the academic analysis of education becomes utterly imperative," he says. "This is an exciting aspect of education study, as it shows that educators can help to mitigate inequalities and, in doing so, literally contribute to a better world."

André had heard good things about the College of Education at UC, so coming to study as an adult student he was confident he was making the right choice.

"I was told by several different people that Canterbury had the best education programme in New Zealand. In all my years at UC, I knew I was in the right place.

"The best thing about studying at UC is the quality of the lecturers. If you are serious about your studies, they take a real interest in your work and, more importantly, they offer feedback. That can be especially useful if you are considering postgraduate study."

André's involvement with karate goes back to his childhood and in the thirty years or so that he has been practising, he has won 17 New Zealand titles, and in 2006 became the youngest person in the world to be graded to Sixth Dan (sixth degree black belt).  He has been in demand to teach the martial art around the world and, thanks to careful scheduling, he was able to maintain his coaching career throughout his years of study.

"I used the time in between semesters to give technical seminars in Australia, Italy, Germany, South Africa, England and Japan. During term time, as I was too busy with study to travel, I trained hard every day for two to three hours and taught karate locally.

"My point is that I could continue to have a career outside university while keeping my grades in the A range. I think this is a question all serious athletes ponder on when they are looking at study."

André adds that studying an Arts degree in Education at UC is a "great choice. Even if you have a professional qualification in school teaching, coaching or otherwise, this degree will enhance your understanding of learning and education in a wider social context."

Having completed his studies, André now lives in Japan and frequently travels the world for his school teaching and work as a karate instructor, which he documents on his YouTube channel

More student stories
Privacy Preferences

By clicking "Accept All Cookies", you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.