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Student story

Juhn Chris Espia

20 July 2023

"A hall of residence offers things that are rarely found in flats outside of the Uni..."


Studying towards a PhD in Political Science and International Relations

Assistant Professor, University of the Philippines Visayas, Iloilo City, Philippines

With a well-established academic career in Political Science underway, Juhn hopes his PhD studies at UC will strengthen his knowledge and skills as a political analyst.

In the Phillipines, Juhn holds several degrees in Political Science and is an Assistant Professor with the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV), teaching undergraduate courses in comparative politics and public policy, and conducting research in electoral politics. He was also a Fellow in the Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI) on U.S. Foreign Policy programme at Bard College in New York.

Juhn was presented with a New Zealand Aid Programme (NZAID) Scholarship to conduct PhD research at UC, to help contribute to the field back in his home country.

"Political Science trains you to look at the world in terms of power-saturated phenomena, and makes you think and analyse how people and institutions at all levels (from peer groups to government policy-making) get (or don't) what they want, and how.

In the last few decades, political scientists have gone down from the proverbial ivory tower and have led or initiated important changes on the ground for making people's lives better. The opportunity to help others has motivated me to undertake further studies in my subject," he says.

"The University of Canterbury has a very good reputation globally and has the best Political Science programme in New Zealand. I intend to return to my post as a lecturer after earning my degree here at UC and be a more prolific scholar."

Moving to New Zealand was an easy transition for Juhn, as someone passionate about travel.

"Christchurch is like my home city, Iloilo: not too big, generally quiet, and not a lot of people and vehicular traffic," he says.

To settle into the Christchurch lifestyle, Juhn decided on staying at Sonoda Christchurch Campus close to UC.

"A hall of residence offers things that are rarely found in flats outside of the Uni – security, cleanliness, and lots of quiet time. The latter is very important for PhD students who are writing constantly," he says.

"Sonoda apartments has really nice and approachable Residential Assistants. I was picked up promptly at the airport and was given a room immediately. That helped a lot with the settling down."

He recommends getting to know fellow residents as one of the best ways to look after your wellbeing and enjoyment of campus.

"Having good relations with your flatmates is about respect. Respecting their space, food in the fridge, and knowing when to tone down goes a long way in making sure your stay will be awesome.

"Second, make friends or go flatting with your mates. I can get lonely sometimes and having your mates nearby could help you heaps. Me and my friends have a Friday 'pool night' or 'ping-pong' night. This helps all of us unwind after a long week."

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