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Student story

Emily Macfarlane

20 July 2023

"I am learning skills that I can use for the rest of my life..."


Bachelor of Arts in Japanese with a minor in Spanish

Inflight Service Manager, Air New Zealand

Emily admits that she spends a lot of her time "dreaming about travel", so her choice of study makes perfect sense. After learning Japanese throughout high school, Emily developed a real passion for the subject, even taking part in an AFS international exchange for a year so she could visit Japan and experience the culture and language first-hand.

Thrilled by her experience, Emily says she "wanted to learn more" and decided to continue learning Japanese to degree level at UC.

"The Japanese programme is known to be good at Canterbury, plus I live in Christchurch and all my friends and family are here. UC has great teachers and students."

Emily says that by learning languages she is "learning skills that I can use for the rest of my life."

She intends to put those skills to good use in her career. "I hope to teach English in a high school in Japan," she says, "and then possibly move onto translating or interpreting."

Emily has taken steps towards reaching that goal, currently working at Air New Zealand as an Inflight Service Manager.

"The role involves managing the inflight service and crew, and resolving issues that arise onboard. It also involves managing delays and emergency situations. We fly to Japan, LA, the Pacific and Australia. It’s a lot of fun. I travel to Japan a lot, so my degree has helped me a lot there," she says.

The chance to study something she is passionate about has been invaluable, but Emily also took part in the Japanese Society (JSOC) to explore her interest beyond the classroom.

Adding another string to her bow, Emily took the opportunity to study Spanish as a minor.

"I like learning languages and connecting with people, and Spanish is such a universal language. I really enjoy it. I would love to travel and teach in South America or Spain as well sometime soon. They have such a rich, vibrant culture that draws people in. Plus the architecture is so grand and awe-inspiring."

"I also did French, mostly as an interest paper. I love the flexibility of study and the atmosphere at UC."

She adds: "I also like the grounds here. It is very pretty, no matter what season."

Emily admits that Japanese, or any language, is tough to learn and takes hard work.

‘But it is a lot of fun and a great skill, so stick with it. Also, with Japanese, don’t be daunted by the writing, you’ll pick it up soon enough!’

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