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UC Choice


16 October 2023

PhD in Linguistics



You’ve got a few degrees under your belt!

Yes, I’ve been at UC for quite a long time. I started in 2013, and since then have earned a Bachelor of Science in Linguistics, a Master of Science in Linguistics, a Master of Applied Data Science, and I’m currently studying for a Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics.

Wow, you must have found a great learning environment.

It's very supportive, and I think that’s why I stayed at UC for my PhD. Normally in linguistics they encourage you to do your PhD elsewhere, but I've got such good relationships with everyone from the department lecturers and advisors through to the admin staff, I wanted to finish my linguistics studying journey here.

What about the UC community?

I really found a sense of community when I started getting involved in clubs like the UC Linguistics Society, Golden Key, and the SVA. There's also a rainbow advisor as part of the equity team, and there’s a serious push for rainbow-friendly events and spaces. And there are policies and strategies to make it safer and more affirming for rainbow students.

Did those club experiences teach you anything in particular?

It gave me the confidence to work out my rainbow identity and develop into the community person I am today. Before being involved in clubs, I didn't think I had any leadership potential. I picked up skills like leadership and governance - skills I still use today when I am trying to make a difference within my community.

How have you put those skills to use?

I’m now involved in the wider community of Ōtautahi as co-chair of Qtopia, secretary of Christchurch Heroes, and co-chair of the nationally focused Ethnic Rainbow Alliance. Qtopia is a rainbow charity that does a lot of work alongside UC, so it’s been valuable to have that connection outside in the wider community but also alongside the student community.

There are many instances where I received great support from my lecturers. When I needed it, they helped me work out how to take a break for a few years. Both the department and admin staff were very supportive, saying it's OK to take a break when you need it, and they helped me work out how to continue on my journey.

You’re originally from Lower Hutt, but it sounds like you’re really a part of Christchurch now.

Once you start exploring the city beyond campus and becoming involved with the wider community, I think that’s when you really start to feel like you belong. That's how I've stayed here for the last 10 years, because I feel like I don't just belong to UC; I also belong to Christchurch.

What’s your favourite spot on campus?

I really like going to the Foundry. It's a nice spot, outside by the river. That's my go-to space to socialise. But if I need to relax or if I have friends coming over and I want to show them something, I'd normally go to the 11th floor of Puaka-James Hight because not only is it quiet, it's also got really nice views.

Any advice for new students?

Find a sense of community, a sense of belonging. People are very kind at UC, they’re open to building networks, they’re friendly. Community is important.

What three words would you use to sum up your UC experience?

Challenging. Empowering. Fun.

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