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Student story

Karel Doorman

20 July 2023

Ngāti Rongomaiwahine

"Having studied Russian at university was a real advantage..."


(Ngāti Rongomaiwahine)

Bachelor of Arts in Russian with a minor in Linguistics, and a Bachelor of Laws

Content Generator, Education Perfect

An international career in government or law is Karel's ideal future goal, allowing him to meet people from around the world and use his extensive language skills.

Karel has always had a passion for foreign languages, spending a number of years studying Spanish, French and Japanese before going to university. Enrolling at UC with an Undergraduate Entrance Scholarship for his high school grades, Karel had an easy choice picking Linguistics study to expand on his knowledge with language history and analysis.

Deciding to major in Russian was for a new challenge, which would make full use of his familiarity picking up foreign languages.

"I loved that it was a relatively small class, so we got on quite well together. It also involved learning about the unique Russian culture and history, which I found fascinating. I talk to a lot of people online who live in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, so having studied Russian at university was a real advantage," he says.

"Russia and New Zealand are currently negotiating a free trade agreement, so we can expect more business coming from Russia in the future. But of course, the biggest perk is the reaction people have discovering that you are studying Russian. Most people seem to think it's quite cool that you're studying a language that is a bit unusual and generally considered difficult."

Choosing to also do a Law degree, meanwhile, was a surprise addition after completing a psychometric test suggesting a career as a solicitor would match his skills.

"I decided to take first-year Law and I really enjoyed it!" he says. "Law is an excellent degree to hone your analytical skills. I love the way that each question is like a logic pule, and the law is the rules that you use to solve it."

Taking part in Te Pūtairiki Māori Law Students' Society in the Executive team was a great way to supplement his Law studies with discussions, study groups and connections with other Law students, which Karel highly recommends.

"Law is a real challenge, but definitely worth it if you like an intellectually stimulating course of study," he says. "I would really encourage people to run for club executives, they offer a fantastic opportunity to get some leadership and teamwork experience and look great on your CV!"

Enjoying role-playing board games and pules in his spare time, Karel was also a member of the SAGA Inc. student club. The social community was easily one of his favourite aspects of UC.

"UC also has a great student culture, with a huge variety of clubs to choose from. I would really encourage students to join some clubs, as they provide a great way to meet new people and it can help to differentiate you when you are on the job hunt at the end of your studies."

Using UC's support services is also his advice to other students, with the Māori Development Team particularly helpful towards his studies.

"I have greatly benefited from using the Māori Development Team," he says. "They provide weekly tutorials for all the 100 and 200-level Law courses, which are extremely useful. Also, the team are really friendly and are so keen on helping you out."

Having now graduated, Karel currently works at Education Perfect, which provides online learning resources for schools around the world, creating content for their language courses. He is looking forward to pursuing his law career in the immediate future.

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