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Student story

Daniel Yu

20 July 2023

"UC became my best choice of university..."


Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineer, Aurecon


Tell us what motivated you to study at UC.

Even before I started high school, Engineering was my topmost choice for a university degree. Now thinking back to it, it must have been heavily inspired by all the science fiction I have read and loved. Since UC is always known to be the best university for Engineering in New Zealand, naturally, UC became my best choice of university.

On top of that, I also got the opportunity of doing the STAR maths course offered by UC, in which I got to do both of the first-year Engineering math courses in high school. Not only that but I also got offered 30,000 dollars of scholarship for studying at UC. All these made me certain that UC is my best and only choice.

What inspired you to study Mechanical Engineering in particular?

I was always wanting to become a mechanical engineer since I was a kid. Which I reckon has a lot to do with my father, who was always helping me make all sorts of cool toys when I was younger. We still have at least 3 slingshots that we made at home. Even one of my design projects was inspired by the slingshot guns we used to make.

What you do like about campus life? What UC experience will you always remember?

I really love the friendly and accepting environment of UC and our Mechanical Department. Everyone I have met has been really friendly and willing to give out help.

My best memory was during my second year, basically, all Mechanical Engineering students got stuck on an assignment. Every Mechanical student was in the Eng Core building for that weekend working together and trying to help others as soon as they made any progress. I got to meet at least two-thirds of all Mechanical students during that weekend, and we have all been friends since then.

Have you taken part in any extra opportunities at UC outside of study?

I was trained as a workshop tutor at the mechanical workshop, and I was also an ENGME mentor. ENGME is a student lead, faculty-founded programme that offers new students peer support from older students who have “been there and done that”. I was selected to be a mentor for my final year.

These are fantastic experiences that everyone should have a go at, especially the mentoring job.

If you have used any of UC’s support services, how have they helped you?

I have booked a few sessions with the Academic Skills Centre to check my CV and reports. The staff there are always very friendly and helpful. They would read my reports and CV before they give me some suggestions, more importantly, they will offer me tips from the insider’s view to help me write something more likely to be accepted.

What advice would you give to someone considering studying at UC?

UC is definitely a good place to do your university study. UC has all sorts of activities to support new students in effectively all aspects. But one will have to be willing to participate in all these events to be able to receive all this help. So, the most important thing is to always keep an eye out on your emails.

Any challenges you have learned to overcome as an international student?

The first thing that comes into my mind, and I’m sure to every other international student’s mind, is definitely the language barrier. Man, it is a hard feeling to have some funny stories to share with people, but not knowing how to tell them.

But it has been a lot better since I have been here. Which I give a big thank you to all my friends, flatmates, and my lovely girlfriend for. I thank my friends for tolerating my terrible accent, I still hate to hear myself speaking English; I thank my flatmates for correcting me all the time, it’s so helpful to have someone to tell you what to improve; and I thank my girlfriend for keeping me speaking English every day, although as my English gets better hers seems to be getting worse (oops)!

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

It has been really good. The people I met here are literally the nicest bunch in the world and Christchurch has got a decent amount of entertainment around the city. It was always fun hanging out with people in here.

Christchurch has such a friendly climate too, although most people would complain about the winter… I mean the winter here definitely loses in competition to Tauranga. But as someone who hates hot weather, Christchurch’s cool summer is just heaven to me. Most importantly! There are basically no mosquitos in summer!

One thing about Christchurch that is worth talking about on its own is how flat it is. I have always heard about how Christchurch is really flat, but I was still shocked when I saw the entire city from the Sign of the Takahe. I definitely recommend anyone who hasn’t been there to pay it a visit. It’s one of the coolest city views I have ever seen.

What’s your favourite thing about living in Christchurch?

I really like how Christchurch is fairly close to so many places, which made it so easy to go on road trips to places like Akaroa or Lake Tekapo.

What are your career goals?

I really want to do jobs with material science and fluid dynamics, so it would be great if I can be a vehicle designer of some manufacturing company, and maybe become the head engineer when I get older.

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