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Student story

Dongshen (Colin) Li

20 July 2023

"I have been enlightened and inspired by the abundances of knowledge and course content..."


Bachelor of Commerce in Management and Marketing

“No one can deny that Canterbury is a gorgeous place with breath-taking scenic views,” says Colin, who came to UC from China to study towards his degree.

Colin wanted to study Commerce because of its practical applications in everyday modern life. Studying a double major in Management and Marketing, he hopes to combine the two disciplines in his career.

“I have been enlightened and inspired by the horizons and abundances of the knowledge and course content in these subjects,” he says. “The courses take an insightful angle to study the successful businesses in our daily life such as BurgerFuel, TradeMe or Joe’s Garage. All the theories that we learn are beyond just sitting in our books but actually become applicable and profitable in real business. Not only does it expand my mindset of innovation and entrepreneurism but also grants you with practical opportunities to propose and implement your business schemes like a Dragon’s Den.

“I enjoy so much in these courses which comprise perspectives of anthropology, psychology, law, IT and so many others. It shapes me into a better business seeded player who equips advanced communication and presentation skills, more importantly, a good command of theoretical knowledge and down to date business acumen.”

Colin opted first to study at UC International College (UCIC) which offers pathways for international students to prepare for degree study.

“UCIC was like a lovely family that spared no effort to provide a professional service and offer warm care. UCIC offers exactly the same course as UC but in a relatively small and comfortable environment. This makes it easier for brand new students to get used to university life and the local study surroundings. Compared to the big classes at UC, you definitely get more chance to say when you don’t understand about the teaching material, and ask the lecturer for help.”

When entering into UC proper, Colin was impressed with facilities for students, especially its new building projects on campus.

“UC is stepping into one of the most modernised and well-equipped universities across the country,’ he says. ‘With the brand-new Engineering Core and Science building being completed, students enjoy a more convenient and resourceful education environment. Except for the main library Puaka-James Hight, UC also has two other libraries, among which the EPS is the top on my list. A relatively quiet environment and automatic book cabinet provide you with an exceptional studying experience and there are a number of cosy meeting rooms for group meetings and working.”

One of Colin’s priorities has been to get actively involved in the campus environment beyond study. As an international student completing a business degree, Colin has been able to bring a unique perspective and contribution to UC.

“I’ve been active and harvesting so much from engaging UCSA and the clubs under that. I joined international clubs like AIESEC, social clubs like U-Can Dance and business clubs like entré.

“Among all these, AIESEC is one of the best clubs for either international students or Commerce students. As a student-run, non-profit and international organisation that develops leadership, AIESEC in Canterbury provides me with a legit business environment and model for me to learn and upgrade myself. In 2016, I was elected to be the Local Committee President of AIESEC Canterbury and in charge of more than 20 members and $10,000 worth of customer flow. It is another significant part that allows me try out what I have gained and learned from classes into real business.

“It also allows me to take part in the contribution of Student Wellbeing in UC. As the originator of the Hijab Awareness event, me and my team successfully raised the averseness of respecting Muslim Culture and Woman Empowerment. I feel honoured to undertake this opportunity and responsibility to defend and improve the diversity of UC. For now, I am working as part of the National Team of Partnership Development for AIESEC New Zealand and interning for Christchurch Educated under Christchurch District Council.”

Following his student wellbeing initiatives, Colin recommends overseas students should try to meet new friends, and recommends living in university accommodation as a good way to start. As someone from China, but having lived in Canada and America since childhood, Colin is a ‘world citizen’ that thoroughly enjoys meeting other students from abroad.

“Living in UC Accommodation is a good way to explore your socialising. From there, I met and made my best friends from United Sates and United Kingdom. We enjoy and appreciate the stunning nature given by New Zealand and go on road trips and hiking as much as we can. I harvest the most precious friendships and the best time in my life.

“And from there, I also get to meet many awesome Kiwis that I am currently flatting with. Here I found so many lifelong connections and it initiated my two-month Great Europe Trip across 13 countries including Germany and Austria.”

Outside of his many ventures, Colin makes sure to keep fit and check out the sights and events around Christchurch city.

“I am a runner as well as part-time appreciator for contemporary art. Being versatile in person and in life is always the key to becoming a better individual.”

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