Wananga landing Wananga landing
Student story

Rodrigo Balcazar

20 July 2023

"I have improved my writing, communication skills, and made friends from around the globe..."


"I want to work for an International Football club, Football is life," says Rodrigo Balcazar.

Master’s student Rodrigo is the third member of his family to study at UC. The Mexican national began his Kiwi experience in year 11 at the prestigious St Andrews College. Following his successful high school studies, he was offered a place studying commerce at UC.

At UC, Rodrigo has achieved many great feats, from starting a student society, to playing top league Football. Alongside this, he still found time to complete his master’s degree in Commerce.

"I was the MC for the University International welcome, twice! This was to over 300 students," he says.

As a passionate footballer, he wanted to study something that challenged him.

"I love football, I love marketing and I love international business. I speak Spanish and travel a lot so I feel like I understand the differences in cultures."

At UC, there is a strong student culture, and a major part of this is the student-run clubs and societies. Rodrigo and his friends saw a need and decided to act – not only to enhance their own student experience, but also to connect and improve the experience of all students.

"I founded the UCGS (University of Canterbury Global Society), to connect students of all backgrounds. After the International Welcome, international students are left to themselves, and we always saw little groups of different cultures and we wanted to integrate all students. We didn’t want anyone to feel alone."

Whilst studying at UC, Rodrigo had the opportunity to take part in an internship in a reassurance broker back home in Mexico.

"I learned how a real company works as I worked and moved around different areas."

Studying towards a master’s degree is difficult and time-consuming to undertake – let alone if you’re doing it in a second language. For future students considering undertaking a master’s, Rodrigo advises:

"If you think you’ve hit rock bottom just keep going – because not long after that you will be finished. Keep positive and keep going."

It wasn’t just Rodrigo’s football skills that improved at UC.

"I have improved my writing, communication skills, and my knowledge, and made friends from around the globe."

Studying abroad offers students the opportunity to experience not only a different culture but also the chance to get out in New Zealand nature.

"I didn’t know much about New Zealand before. I used to come for holidays, but mainly because my siblings were here. New Zealand is great you can do a lot of things here. I’ve done road trips and surfing. I’ve been close to nature and camped in the wild, in a tent! Which was a new experience for me."

Lectures were always engaging, the concepts and theories he learnt were essential for his academic and social achievement.

"ECON 104 was my favourite paper because the lecturer (Steve Agnew) is good, very good."

So far, Rodrigo has loved living in New Zealand. With ample industry opportunities, and a role with a local marketing consultancy earned right after graduation, Rodrigo has a bright future!

"I am going to stay in New Zealand, I love Uni, I would love to work here – maybe in the future I will go back to Mexico but I want to stay here and become someone well-known in the industry."

More student stories
Privacy Preferences

By clicking "Accept All Cookies", you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.