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Student story

Ri-Anne Foo

20 July 2023

"There are always lots of events going on..."


After months of researching and exploring different study options, Ri-Anne decided to pursue her studies in Computer Science as she enjoyed coding in high school and loves seeing what she can do with codes.  She developed a curiosity which led her to explore and learn more about computer science. 

"I knew that the tech industry was a growing one and there is a need for more people in the field," she says. 

The career prospects and job opportunities led her to study the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at University of Canterbury (UC). 

The support that UC offers is one of her favourite things about the University, having started studying online in Malaysia during her first year. The staff members, including teachers, coordinators, International Relationships Office team, and Student Support have been helpful and supportive through her studies and wellbeing. 

"My favourite things about UC are the support it provides as well as the vibrant student life! While I was studying offshore, my lecturers and course coordinators were very understanding and helpful regarding any questions or difficulties I experienced.

"I felt that studying online was tougher as the resources available were limited, but the staff at UC did their best to bridge that gap. I have felt the same since I arrived on campus, and I am very grateful to be able to talk to the tutors and course coordinators whenever I encounter problems in the course. Besides that, there are plenty of resources available for students, including those that care for their wellbeing."

Once on campus, the student community helped her settle into life in New Zealand with some unique opportunities.

"UC has lots of clubs and societies, and there are always lots of events going on, which has provided me with the opportunity to try things I've never had before and gain new experiences.

"CMSA (Canterbury Malaysian Student Association) was great as it allowed me to connect with other Malaysians, and the events they held gave me a taste of home. CompSoc (Computer Society) and WiTSoc (Women in Technology Society) have held workshops and talks with people in the industry which were helpful in improving my skills as well as getting a better understanding of how the industry works."

Ri-Anne is also part of the UC Mentoring team, being inspired to volunteer with an interest in helping and supporting other students. 

"Having someone to turn to when I had questions or uncertainty about where I should look for the support I needed when I was first starting was great," she says. "I decided to be a mentor as I wanted to help others feel as welcome as I did and provide the same help I was given."

Her experience in New Zealand has been incredible so far. The pristine sceneries, and the friendly people are some of her highlights in her day-to-day.

"I like the culture here," she says. "I heard from others that people here are warm and friendly, and I have experienced it first-hand! Life here is also more laid-back compared to the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur, the city I grew up in, which was an interesting change. New Zealand also has some of the most beautiful natural sceneries, and I am looking forward to exploring more while I am here."

Her student visa allows her to work part-time while she completes her studies. This experience helps to develop her professional and personal skills.

"I am working part-time at a restaurant café on campus called Ancestral. This job allows me to put into practice my communication skills and get more familiar with people on campus, especially after COVID lockdowns, as I am getting used to in-person interactions again. It also helps that it is in such a convenient location!"

Now that she is one year away from graduation, she wants to share her advice with newcomers.

"Learn more about the industry outside of classes. UC, UC clubs, and societies run lots of events that are beneficial, such as industry talks and workshops. The industry is ever-growing and changing, so there are certainly good opportunities in this field."

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