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Student story

Sol Cerson

20 July 2023

"Settling into your hall and university life is almost seamless..."


Studying towards a Bachelor of Laws, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Relations with a minor in French

Studying a range of subjects within his Arts and Law double degree, Sol has been able to combine his French background with his interests in community service and support.

"Studying Law, I am learning more about the system that we live in as New Zealanders, which is then contrasted by my international relations and French papers which switches my internal focus to a global external view. I enjoy this contrast as it keeps me open minded and encourages me to look at situations from multiple perspectives," he says.

Going into a Law degree, Sol’s initial expectation that study would involve "memorising a book full of rules" was blown out of the water.

"I’ve found Law a lot more interesting than I ever expected as it is more based around the psychological mindset that being a lawyer involves. So my advice to anyone coming into Law is to not be daunted by what you’ve previously heard. Start your studies with an open mind."

Since finding his new passion for law, Sol plans to use his degrees to help change the world from a higher perspective.

"I am studying the degrees that I am as I feel like it will give me a platform to continue working towards a common good, helping individuals and communities on an international scale. I desire to represent New Zealand as a diplomat or ambassador, preferably in a French country as that is where my family is from."

Sol’s UC Emerging Leaders’ Development Programme Scholarship has given him an early taste of carrying out community-focused work in the city, involving leadership skills workshops and group projects with other scholarship students.

"The connections made through this programme has kick started my time at university and has opened up many experiences and relationships which have already started to positively shape my time here at UC," he says.

UC’s unique role within the city was one of his biggest motivations for moving here from Hawke’s Bay.

"What stood out to me about Christchurch is the balance of student life with the rest of the city," he says. "The University is still heavily involved with the wider city, meaning there’re all sorts of opportunities and experiences that we can participate in as a Christchurch citizen rather than strictly being a student."

Community was also a big motivation for choosing to stay at Rochester and Rutherford Hall accommodation for his first year in Christchurch.

"Being in a hall first year is a great way to stay open and aware of opportunities presented by the University while also feeling a sense of community and support to settle into the change of scenery," he says. "For me, the approachability of staff, tutors, and other students around the campus and in my hall is what made settling in so easy. Everyone is always open for a chat or to answer questions.

"Having the entire campus on one site with the halls of residence in close proximity creates a sense of community, which I feel is extremely beneficial as it encourages students to feel more relaxed and open to each other and their studies. The more people you meet the more homely it’ll feel."

For future UC students, Sol reassures that life in the halls will to set you on a strong start to uni.

"If you’re nervous about the change that you’re getting yourself into, don’t be. Settling into your hall and university life is almost seamless, and is followed by what will be some of your best memories yet."

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