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Student story

Kairi Matsunaga

20 July 2023

"There are a variety of courses at UC, I believe that motivated me in many ways..."


Foundation Studies Certificate

Bachelor of Arts in Media and Communication with a minor in Cinema Studies

It was a two-week visit through high school that inspired Kairi to complete university study in New Zealand, choosing Christchurch as her destination for a change of pace from bustling Tokyo.

"I grew up in one of the busiest cities in Japan, so I wanted a more relaxed place near to nature. I found Kiwis very friendly and kind, so I choose New Zealand," she says. "Also, New Zealand is very safe place to stay for non-New Zealanders so I believed that my parents felt okay with me going to New Zealand to study."

Staying at Ilam Apartments for her first years at UC was the best way to transition to life overseas, getting a taste of independent living within the campus community.

"It was quite comfortable because most of things you need are prepared and provided, and I did not have to worry about the power bill, which I realised was one of the important points after I left. It is also the place to meet new people and to make new friends."

Kairi also first completed a Foundation Studies Certificate through UCIC on campus, to prepare and have a strong start to her uni experience.

"When I came to NZ, I had no idea about study at universities. The Foundation courses gave me the basic ideas and information for study. For each subject, the courses provided me adequate knowledge so I did not feel completely lost when courses at the University started."

It was through her Foundation courses that Kairi came to choose her Arts degree when officially starting at UC, with inspiration from a course in humanities.

"At first, I was going to study in Commerce," she says. "However, I realised that Commerce was not what I wanted to study, although I enjoyed it. When I told the director about that and my dream, he kindly made time to search information on different options and discuss my future. In the end, I decided to swap a Commerce course into an Arts one."

She ended up choosing to specialise in Media and Communication and Cinema Studies as subjects she already had a lot of interest in, and both complemented each other well towards her career goals in media, along with extra courses in fine arts and theatre.

"There are a variety of courses and lectures at UC, I believe that motivated me in many ways. I would like to work in the movie industry, and I am very interested in movie distribution and advertisement.

"The courses in Media and Communication exposes many different areas of media (such as mass media, journalism, new media and advertisement). In some assessments, we examined and created influential media. In Cinema Studies, we appreciated movies from different genres in each course and studied the theories and philosophies.

"I enjoyed the occasional practical assignments, such as creating advertisements, doing presentations and group projects."

In her final year, Kairi took the Arts internship course and completed two internships: the first with the New Zealand International Film Festival, helping with their marketing to target audiences and as an usher at the event, and the other with Film Cooperative as a production assistant within a crew of local filmmakers.

"I believed that the experience of these internships would be an advantage for my future. I could experience different aspects of my interests. Also, it would be difficult to find good and safe internships or jobs on my own, and with the support of the coordinators at University, it also earns points for the degree. I suggest many people take the course."

Now graduated, Kairi looks back on her experience in New Zealand and at UC as "the best choice" for her studies, within a community of "very nice, friendly and helpful people" that helped her realise her potential.

"I needed to make an effort and be courageous, but it was comfortable, fun and worthwhile. I believe that for future students who want to focus on study and also enjoy life there, UC is a good choice."

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