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Student story

Caitlin Swan

20 July 2023

"I’ve enjoyed meeting new people as well as easy access to social activities and UC facilities..."        


Bachelor of Arts in Māori and Indigenous Studies and Te Reo Māori, with a minor in Education

Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Māori and Indigenous Studies

Master of Teaching and Learning endorsed in Primary

Research Assistant, UC

With an aim to become a primary school teacher, Caitlin looked to study subjects that would benefit her teaching in New Zealand classrooms.

"I undertook a BA because I wanted to learn Te Reo and about Māori culture," she says. "I also pursued a BA with Honours to extend myself and my abilities to question assumptions and look below the surface."

She found her studies inspirational, both academically and personally, which was reflected in a number of scholarship awards. Caitlin has so far received a UC Senior Scholarship, an Arts Scholars Scholarship, and a UC Summer Scholarship for her results; as well as being a part of the Golden Key Primary School Mentoring Programme.

"I love everything," she says. "It’s challenged my beliefs, I’ve met some amazing people and I feel I have a broader outlook on life."

Throughout her final BA and honours years, Caitlin was also a Research Assistant for two research projects within Aotahi: School of Māori and Indigenous Studies – the Tuhinga Māhorahora Project, involving transcribing and analysing writing from Māori immersion primary students; and the international Comparative Language Input Project analysing the speech of Māori immersion teachers, to add to research on indigenous immersion programmes around the world.

"Through working on these projects I increased my understanding of linguistic analysis, learnt how to use various software programmes and improved my reo. I also gained many contacts and workplace experience."

"Take advantage of all available opportunities," she advises. "You can do the bare minimum and get awarded a piece of paper or you can fully participate and be transformed."

Now studying a Master of Teaching and Learning, Caitlin’s collective experiences so far at UC have given her an insight into implementing more te reo and tikanga Māori in primary schools.

"My studies in Māori and Indigenous Studies and Te Reo Māori have been invaluable as a student teacher. In all the schools I have visited, there is an attempt to promote te reo Māori and Māori culture. However, not all have the knowledge to do so, and I’ve been able to support my teachers and peers in this area. I’ve also been informed that my knowledge of Te Reo Māori and Māori and Indigenous Studies makes me highly employable."

UC’s community persuaded her to study here, and so far Caitlin has made the most of opportunities on campus.

"I enjoy the supportive and welcoming staff and students, and the excellent campus, ie, libraries, cafés, social areas, free health care and a large variety of clubs.

"I received excellent career and degree advice, support from Disability Services and was extremely impressed by the Māori Department."

Caitlin decided on staying in Ilam Apartments close to campus for extra convenience while at UC. She has also received a Helen Macmillan Brown Bursary and a UCA Accommodation Scholarship to support her time there.

"It’s very close to Uni and there is freedom from flat worry, ie, there is physical security, maintenance and no need to find replacement flatmates if they leave. It’s also great to have a cleaner, a fully-furnished flat, excellent study area, common spaces and car parking.

"I’ve enjoyed meeting new people and flatmates as well as easy access to various social activities and UC facilities, and the friendly available staff."

Caitlin recommends using UC’s accommodation options to be part of your full student experience.

"If you want the convenience of being opposite university, secure living and multiple social opportunities, UC Accommodation is for you."

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