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Student story

Sherry Chen

20 July 2023

"I love being able to meet different people every day and share their stories with the rest of the world..."


Bachelor of Arts in Media and Communication and Psychology

Master of Strategic Communication

Kairuruku Whakatairanga | Marketing Coordinator, Te Whare Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury

Sherry knew that she wanted to study Psychology at university with her interest in understanding people. After an internship as a journalist in China however, Sherry also decided on Media and Communication studies, as the perfect companion subject to her passions.

"I found media to be a fascinating field! I love being able to meet different people every day and learn their unique stories and be able to help them share their stories with the rest of the world," she says. 

Combining Psychology with Media and Communication, Sherry’s BA degree gave her a well-rounded view of events in the world and the people in them.

"My Psychology degree combines theory and practice by teaching me knowledge that can be applied in real world scenarios. This degree can be used in numerous fields including: education, media, politics, etc. My Media and Communication degree will assist me in receiving a career in the communication profession. This degree also assists in developing relationships between media and the public as well as internal communications, all skills that are deemed useful by government departments.

"If you like media, marketing and communication, this would be a perfect course for you at UC!" 

She also got to put into practice her skills as a marketing intern with Christ’s College, after some CV writing help from the UC Careers team.

"No matter if it is writing articles for the College Newsletter with the marketing team, or dealing with different situations regarding international students in the International Office, my work challenged me every day," she says.

After settling on New Zealand for her overseas study, Sherry completed foundation studies in Auckland before moving to UC, after hearing about its reputation in her majors. She found that the campus lifestyle suited her need for a diverse student community.

"The first year up in Auckland was a pretty big struggle being in a new environment. Now, I don’t feel like I’m an international student at all due to my many kiwi friends," she says. "Everyone is very helpful, friendly and patient. Also, there are many different spots around campus to study and relax, my favourite being the top floor of the library with a spectacular views.

"I enjoy the magnitude of my classes, because they tend to be smaller in size, and therefore lectures and students alike can communicate more often. Also, the lecturers and professors are extremely helpful, informative and willing to assist students."

Ilam Apartments was a big contributor to settling into UC, living with multicultural flatmates right on campus grounds.

"I find it to be a great place to meet people from all over the world and make friends from different cultures!"

Sherry made quite an impact on the student community herself as a committee member and participant in UC Language and Cultural Exchange (UC LACE), helping organise the 2016 and 2017 International Welcome events for new students. She also gave students ongoing support as a UC Mentor, to help others settle into UC and kiwi culture.

"Since I was an international student myself, I have once been in their shoes and can provide pointers and answer questions based off of personal experience," she says. "I had many mentees from different countries who I help in adapting to life here at UC."

Sherry also became the Chinese Communications Manager for Global China Connection (GCC) on campus, a non-profit run by students for all nationalities looking for China-related business and study opportunities.

"Being part of a university club is one of the best experiences; through this experience, I got to learn how to engage with diverse groups of people and also improve my leadership skills."

After completing her BA, Sherry decided to continue on into UC’s new Master of Strategic Communication (MStratCom) programme.

"I still wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the media and communication industry to better prepare myself for a future career," she says. "I decided to do an MStratCom, because I think this degree can provide me more opportunities to develop my skills in public media relations and organisational communication through applied course content."

The one-year programme improved her communication skills further. Her favourite part was the PACE 495 internship course, which she completed with the College of Arts for their international marketing campaign.

"I enjoyed this programme a lot, especially the wide range of course options. During my internship, I created three videos for the China market for College of Arts to promote the BA degree. These videos might be used to promote UC BA in China in the future, how cool is that! 

"If you love media and communication and public media relations, and also want to prepare yourself for careers in professional media for public relations and advocacy, MStratCom would be a perfect option for you. Even though it is only one year, you can learn so much from this programme."

As such, Sherry hoped to gain a career in either education or in media once she graduated.

"In either case, I will pursue a career in which I am challenged in day-to-day activities where I can utilise my skills and knowledge efficiently for organisational growth, as well as create a healthy working environment."

Following her MStratCom degree, Sherry quickly started pursuing her career goals by gaining a role with UC’s International Relationships Office (IRO), where she supported the University’s partnership collaborations with other overseas institutions.

Now, Sherry is the Marketing Coordinator for the Postgraduate Research Office | Te (Tari) Rangahau Tāura, working on marketing material for graduate and postgraduate programmes offered at UC.

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