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Student story

Rebekah Bisson

20 July 2023

"I enjoyed being able to engage in a project that influenced a community..."


Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Political Science and International Relations.

Rebekah’s first choice of university was always UC, after looking for the opportunity to get involved in the Christchurch rebuild with her interest in human geography.

"I am so glad with my decision. I love studying at UC," she says. "It was a big step moving away from home, but I really do feel at home here. The people I have met have made me feel so welcome and included, I am proud to call Christchurch my home away from home."

Coming from Oamaru, Rebekah stayed in Rochester and Rutherford Hall (R&R) to have a mixture of independence and support for her first year.

"This was a great place to be. Moving away from home was a big thing, R&R made this transition easier. I enjoyed getting to know people from all over the country, studying a variety of degrees and subjects. R&R provided an academic support network, cultural and sporting opportunities, as well as a great group of people to live with."

Rebekah is also involved with student clubs at UC, including LAWSOC, Eco clubs and other social clubs. She is currently on the Executive team for GeogSoc and UCPOLS, the Geography and Political Science societies, and helps organise club events for students.

"The club scene on campus is an important part of student life," she says. "I have really enjoyed meeting and working with students across the clubs I am involved in and across different levels of study. It is an amazing opportunity to work with a number of students who share a common interest and to provide events for other students."

As for her study of choice, Rebekah has made sure to include everything she has a passion for within her double degrees.

"I have always loved learning about how people interact with the world. So, Geography seemed the perfect fit, and Political Science was the perfect accompaniment. As for Law, I found it intriguing how our legal system works here in New Zealand. The three together, to me, interrelate and allow for a breadth of knowledge in areas that interest me."

Her range of subjects combine particularly well when it comes to study that can contribute to the real world and make a difference.

"This is especially prominent in Geography," Rebekah says. "I have enjoyed getting to know what Geography really is; many people look at me sideways when I say I am studying Law and Geography, to them it seems a strange combination. It is great to tell them how well human geography relates to my studies, and inform them on how amazing it is. There is so much more to Geography than crayons and coloured pencils!"

Indeed, one of her favourite things about her chosen subjects are the field trips on offer to experience them in action first hand.

"I was fortunate enough to go on a field trip to Westport as part of a Political Science paper looking at regional development. We were able to stay in one of the many field stations UC has. I enjoyed being able to engage in a project that interacted with and influenced a community. It was also a great opportunity to interact with academic staff and fellow students outside of the classroom."

"Another field trip opportunity was delivering surveys in a community that had been severely affected by the earthquakes. This was a great opportunity to experience community based research first hand, and get involved in the regeneration of Christchurch. I would highly recommend making the most of the opportunities given to learn outside of the classroom, the real world experience gained and interaction with local community groups is invaluable."

With her unique combo of degrees, Rebekah makes a lot of use of UC support services, including the Academic Skills Centre, Course Advisors in Law and Arts, and the UC Librarians.

"UC offers a great array of support networks, staff are always willing to help. There really are so many, I am always learning of new support services offered to students."

Rebekah recommends anyone looking to study at UC to get involved with the UC community and its community projects, for its emphasis on real world learning and the support available.

"UC is a great place to study. You get to meet a range of people who are as equally as passionate as you. The work you do is relevant, and contributes to the wider community. The prospect of studying in Christchurch at this time is exciting!"

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