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Student story

Jessica Clarke

20 July 2023

"I think living in a hall of residence gives you the opportunity to make endless friends..."


Bachelor of Criminal Justice

Studying towards a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services with a minor in Māori and Indigenous Studies, and a Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Primary)

Inspired by criminal law and society, Jessica decided on double degree studies in subjects that gave her a wide picture of criminal history and psychology in New Zealand.

"I wanted to learn about crime, sociology, and law," she says. "Criminal Justice combined all of the aspects I was interested in, which was unique to UC. It had interesting lecturers and had a rounded approach which enabled me to expand into other areas of interest. I love learning about how people can change and how crime is integrated into society."

"I choose a BA majoring in Human services and minoring in Māori and indigenous studies because it is giving me real-life skills. I have learnt about society, culture, professionalism, and gained insight into how these will work together to prepare me for the workforce. I chose papers that interested me, which is why the BA was so appealing, due to its flexibility." 

"I feel like Canterbury is the perfect place for students looking for interesting lectures, friendly tutors, and skills to take them forward in whatever their career choice may be."

Choosing to move from Napier for UC's unique Bachelor of Criminal Justice, Jessica has also loved being in Christchurch.

"I enjoy being in a constantly evolving city. There is always something new and exciting popping up, and events on in the weekends. It's cool to be in a place where the beach and the mountains are close by, so all seasons of fun are covered."

"I'm a huge foodie, so I love exploring the local cafés and restaurants. It's awesome to be able to travel out to any suburb and be able to enjoy amazing local and international foods. I really enjoy going to the Riccarton Bush Saturday markets, which are a great start for any aspiring foodie."

Because of her leadership potential throughout high school, in her first year at UC Jessica received an Emerging Leaders Development Programme (ELDP) Scholarship.

The programme includes workshops, retreat camps, and community projects to develop leadership skills.

"The retreat at the start of the year enabled me to make initial friendships with people in other halls or living in Christchurch. It also gave me many opportunities to take part in guest lectures, take the CHCH 101 paper for free, and to be a part of a mentoring programme with a local high school."

Jessica had chosen to live in University Hall accommodation for her first year of study, and later stayed in Hayashi for ongoing students.

"I like the transparency within the halls, the support, no hidden costs, and the opportunity to meet new friends from all over the world," she says. "The highlight of my UC accommodation experience has been being able to live in a modern warm home, and staying close to the University."

As such, she recommends other students from out of town also take up the opportunity to live in a hall of residence during study.

"I made so many amazing friends throughout my time in UC accommodation, especially in University Hall in first year, where it's specifically catered for first year students," she says. "I think living in a hall of residence gives you the opportunity to make endless friends, support you with study, and provides a stepping stone for leaving home."

She also highly recommends her Criminal Justice and Arts degrees combination, as a way to study multiple interesting and complementary subjects.

"DO IT! I have learnt so much about my field and I am always finding the assignments interesting which has kept my passion alive throughout the degree. There is so much support available, you"ve just got to come and give it a go!"

Now completed her BCJ degree, Jessica decided on a career as a school teacher and has continued onto postgraduate studies in Primary Teaching.

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