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Student story

Changhoon Lee

20 July 2023

"UC helped me to make a connection between my previous work experience and local design practice..."


Master of Engineering Studies in Civil Engineering

Civil Engineer, Robert Bird Group (RBG)

Following work as a professional civil engineer in South Korea with a heavy industrial company, Changhoon was keen to take his career to the next level through study overseas in New Zealand.

The Civil Engineering postgraduate programme at UC captured his interests because of its reputation throughout the country.

"The strong point of the programme is that students can scratch real design practice and learn how to utilise the computer tools and design models for civil engineering," he says. "UC helped me to make a connection between my previous work experience and local design practice such as AS/NZS codes. Studying with other students and seminars organised by UC enhanced me to understand working culture in New Zealand."

He was particularly interested in studying in New Zealand because of the support given to international families of students, with his partner able to work full-time and children able to enrol in schools as domestic students under his visa.

The learning and living environment available was also a big selling point for Changhoon.

"UC is located in the beautiful city Christchurch where we see cutting-edge buildings and natural landscapes. It is easy to focus on studying 24/7 in the library as UC is surrounded by peaceful nature.  I enjoyed the fluctuating weather, fishing, trekking, flat whites, and salmon dishes in Christchurch throughout a period of one year."

He also recommends other students make use of extensive support such as seminars for international students, free English speaking and writing classes, and forming connections with staff, students, and alumni.

"Students can meet friendly staff and hang out with friends who have diverse backgrounds. I stayed in College House with international students so that I was able to meet people worldwide.

"I have also been in Korean Student Association (KOSA) where I used to regularly meet lots of friends and help each other for study and problems in living. KOSA was officially formed in 2019 and Koreans and Kiwis join the club to broaden their horizons. I recommend newcomers join this club."

Since graduating, Changhoon and his family have enjoyed living and working in New Zealand.

Changhoon was quick to land a role with Robert Bird Group (RBG), an international engineering consultancy, where he designs water pipe works, roading, and land development through 3D modelling design.

"My final destination is becoming a chartered civil engineer and working in all areas in New Zealand," he says.

"I hope I can remind someone of a successful example of immigration, and that every student and newcomer does not give up on their study and future in New Zealand under any circumstances, and can jump over the next hurdle."

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