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Student story

Venecia D'souza

20 July 2023

"Coming to UC was honestly the best decision I have ever made for myself..."


Postgraduate Diploma in Science in Geology

Sales Consultant Team Leader, Aida Sales and Marketing Pty Ltd

Piano Teacher, Trinity College London

Since a young age growing up in Bombay, India, Venecia has always held an interest in the world around her and how it came to be.

“I always questioned why the earth worked the way it did – why were there mountains, volcanoes and oceans? Why did the dinosaurs go extinct? And what would happen to the human race if another big earthquake or tsunami were to happen?

“It was then that I decided I wanted to do a course that could get me outdoors, and Geology was the perfect course for my mission to answer the questions I had as a little girl.”

Venecia went on to complete a Science degree in Geology at a university in Mumbai. She later came to New Zealand to visit family, which introduced her to a whole new way of life from India, and inspired her to continue university studies.

“As we were touring the country, we landed in Christchurch and I loved it. It was just after the earthquakes and there was so much work happening everywhere and I realised I wanted to get amongst this crowd and be a part of this beautiful city.

“I eventually found out University of Canterbury is very famous for its geological studies and the papers they offer were of my interest. I decided I wanted to come back to Christchurch to know more about the earthquakes and the people.”

As such, Venecia’s postgraduate diploma studies in Geology focused around geomorphology, tectonics, and disaster management, as well as interest areas in Water Resource Management and Antarctic Studies.

“Geological studies always has something for me to look forward to and I will never get tired of learning something new every day. Being outdoors for most of the day gives me a deep sense of satisfaction. Plus, the relationships I build with fellow colleagues out on the field is a bonus. No two days are ever the same and I love that challenge.”

The fieldtrips throughout her study was definitely a highlight, as they made sure she got to see the geological formations she was learning about in person.

“I have been on several fieldtrips through my course at Uni that I have lost track of how many I’ve actually been on. They were super fun and I loved every bit of it. Thanks to that practical style of teaching with the endless number of fieldtrips, I know where I want to be five years from now career wise, and that’s really important.

“I also recommend joining all the various clubs that promote outdoor activities. It’s the best place to meet fun, like-minded people and learn so much about New Zealand at the same time. Plus, it’s a good way of taking a break from books and assignments.”

The community culture was also one of her favourite things about life at UC and New Zealand in general.

“The very fact that there are so many people from culturally different backgrounds still amazes me. I have made friends like family that I know will last for a life-time. I lived at the Sonoda Hall of Residence, which always seemed like my home away from home.

“Coming to UC was honestly the best decision I have ever made for myself. I loved how all my professors are so friendly and always go out of their way to make sure you know what you’re doing. It made learning seem so much easier.”

Now graduated, Venecia works at Aida Sales and Marketing “interacting with several people from completely different cultural backgrounds on a day to day basis” and teaches piano and keyboard. Her latest hobby has been learning new languages, including French and recently te reo Māori, alongside cooking, reading and being in the outdoors with friends.

With her passion for Christchurch in particular, Venecia has a clear goal in mind for her future career.

“I would love to join the Civil Defence team one day to help out with disaster management, search and rescue operations, and emergency responses during a disaster,” she says. “It’s funny how my interest in earthquakes and disaster management in Christchurch helped me decide what career I would like to get into.”

Venecia emphasises that the practical side to Geology is the most important part of finding your own career and study goals.

“Get lots of work experience, be it in the form of internships or temporary part time work. Just theoretical knowledge in this field isn’t enough at all. Get out and about, and do lots of practical self-study! Involve yourself with people outside of your study, work on some projects and narrow down your ideas as to what exactly interests you. Have a firm thesis topic in mind and know how you are going to get about it. Geology is a fun, but challenging area to work in.”

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