Having worked for an oil and gas company in Brazil for seven years, Fernando is taking time off to study towards a Master of Engineering Studies in Renewable Energy at UC.
This New Zealand Scholarship represents an opportunity for me to shift my career into renewable energy. I’d like to be part of the transition towards environmentally friendly energy choices, to help with Brazil’s development and make a difference on climate change.
Fernando chose UC because he wanted to study in a reasonably large city with good access to the outdoors.
Part of the reason I chose UC is because I love travelling and surfing. I was looking for a place where I can find a balance between my work and personal life. At UC I can get a great quality education as well as contact with nature.
After arriving, he found it easy to settle into life in Christchurch.
The people here are very welcoming and friendly. They’re happy to answer any questions you have, from where to buy food to which places to visit. Despite the fact that everything here was new for me – new culture, new language, new people – within just two weeks I felt right at home.
Fernando has found himself very well supported as an international student.
UC is very well prepared to receive its students. They have up-to-date facilities and the lecturers are very approachable. You can get help with your assignments in the library and the UC Learn webpage is really useful. You can access all your study materials, check your grades, submit assignments, and chat with lecturers and other students. It's easy to find support here.
He says the lecturers at UC have an excellent knowledge base and the learning is relevant to real world applications.
For one of our courses we went to a marae (Māori meeting grounds). We looked at their needs from an energy perspective and developed some renewable solutions for them. It was a great experience in terms of learning how to build a relationship with a community.
After he finishes, Fernando plans to go back to his company and use his new knowledge to grow their renewable energy resources.
I want to change the future – for my own career, for my company and for my country. Brazil needs more people working in renewable energy. Oil and gas attracts a lot of money and people forget that there are other options. We need more people with the skills to do good work in this field.
At UC, Fernando has been able to form international connections and friendships with people from all over the world.
It's been an amazing experience to work with people from so many countries. I can learn from them, and we can exchange our cultures and experiences. We support and look after each other. I'm sure I’ll remain in close contact with the people I've met here.
Fernando says that putting himself in new situations has taught him how to be more adaptable as a person.
You grow faster when you go out of your comfort zone. Not that there’s anything to worry about here at UC. It’s exceptionally supportive and everybody is here to help you. I'm 35 years old and I never imagined I’d be here, getting my Master’s degree at this age! It’s challenged me in all the best ways.