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Student story

Xinmei (Ivy) Zhang

20 July 2023

"I think it is a great opportunity for me to broaden my understanding in healthcare via analysing data..."


Postgraduate Diploma in Health Sciences endorsed in Health Information Management

Master of Applied Data Science

As one of the first students in UC’s Applied Data Science programme, Ivy has come to learn how vast and important the field is within modern society.

“Along with the exponential growth in size and availability of data, it is essential to have further insight in this “big data world”,” she says. “Meanwhile, Applied Data Science provides us with the opportunity to combine data science capabilities and other skills from a range of backgrounds.”

Travelling to New Zealand with a friend for study, Ivy first decided to enrol at UC in Health Sciences, following her healthcare studies in China.

Living with a homestay family for her first three months in Christchurch helped to introduce her to the new city, which she stills keeps in touch with today. Ivy also studied English with an English language school during this time to prepare for university.

“There I met a lot of friends who came from China, Korea, Japan and Thailand. We all met great people and enjoyed the study and life here,” she says.

With English as her second language, Ivy at first found UC’s discussion-focused method of teaching to be a bit daunting. With support and encouragement from her classmates and lecturer, it soon came to be one of her favourite things about studying at UC.

“Gradually, I got used to this way and enjoyed it. No one would laugh at me when I spoke in broken English, and everyone helped me engage in discussion. I think this is why I never give up. I met good friends and tutors in the process, and they helped me a lot in motivating me to study hard,” she says.

Ivy also found a lot of support from UC services to help her with written and spoken English.

“I highly recommend the Academic Skills Centre to all students. I am a frequent visitor, I go there to seek help about my academic writing and other study things. For example, there are workshops about how to make notes, how to manage time and how to prepare for the final exam. Importantly, they also helped me a lot in settling me into university life.

“I also met my good friend Andrew who came from Indonesia, he was my Mentor in Health Sciences as well. He helps me not only in study but also in campus life. I think the mentoring service is fantastic.”

As a passionate cook, Ivy also finds having her part-time job with Hell Pia to be another great way to practise English and get to know Christchurch life better.

From these experiences, Ivy was inspired to continue studying with UC’s new Master of Applied Data Science after completing her Postgraduate Diploma.

“I heard about the new programme which focuses on building data science capabilities,” she says. “I think it is a great opportunity for me to broaden my understanding in healthcare via analysing data.”

With her previous Health Information Management studies having such a strong focus on data monitoring and administration, Applied Data Science meant she could continue to build on her past knowledge. Ivy plans to combine all of her studies in a career as a data analyst for the healthcare industry.

Even though her studies have challenged her communication skills, Ivy advises other international students to not be put off, and to practise their skills as much as possible outside of classes.

“Do not feel afraid when you meet problems! I doubted myself many times, but I never thought of giving up. If someone asks me “what have you learned from this degree?” I would say that I know how to think and solve problems instead of feeling depressed when I meet a challenge.”

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