Kevin Smith Hinge

Kevin grew up in the islands of Vanuatu and now lives in Port Vila. He is studying towards a Master of Policy and Governance at UC, with a view to contribute to the social and economic development of his country.

My research area is looking into whether there’s potential for the space industry to help grow a knowledge-based economy in Vanuatu and other small island states. Aeronautics is a multidisciplinary field with a company already established in Vanuatu so it is a timely focus.

He says his research area has already had an impact on the young people he’s talked to back home.

I work in education back in Vanuatu. On my trips home I've had a chance to speak about the space industry in high schools. I can see young people starting to visualise new pathways for themselves. It’s inspiring to see their eyes opening up to new possibilities.

The support and encouragement available at UC is what has made the university really stand out for Kevin.

UC and Christchurch is like a second home for me. I love the way the whole university is set up to make students feel settled. The relationships we have with teachers and staff are hugely positive. They make an effort to get you off running. The support we receive is incredible, with tutorials and extra help if you need it. There’s no excuse to fail.

Kevin has become a supporter himself, joining the Pacific Development Team as a mentor.

The Pacific Development Team provides support for all Pasifika students. I've been a mentor, helping younger students who are coming in. The team also runs events, from welcome parties to shared meals throughout the year. It gives Pasifika students a chance to relate with other people like them, and find an extra sense of belonging and support.

Overall he says UC is a really fun place to study with a great student vibe.

UC is basically an international institution because it hosts students from all over the world. Being able to blend in with so many different cultures is amazing. I've made a lot of friends through football from Europe, Asia, Africa – all over the world. Doing a sport or an activity outside of uni is something I would encourage people to do because it expands your horizons even further.

Kevin lists a range of reasons why he thinks UC is a great place for international study.

Firstly, it is an internationally recognised institution. Secondly, Christchurch is at the centre of the South Island. Its location gives you the opportunity to travel around New Zealand and experience what this country is like. Then there’s the city itself. Christchurch has a unique community feel and there’s a special sense of connectedness between people. It is a really nice place to be!