Kristina Singdala

Kristina is from Vientiane, Laos. She is at UC studying towards a Master of Business Information Systems. 

I got my undergrad in Australia and now I’m getting my Master’s here in New Zealand. I chose UC because I wanted to go to a university in a quieter city where I could focus on my studies.

When she returns home, Kristina wants to work for a company that has a positive impact on the community.

Laos is still a developing country. There are so many projects going on right now especially in rural areas that can really improve the lives of so many people. When I go home I'd like to make a difference by working at a large scale company. I’m so used to working in an international setting now, I’d like to continue that style of working!

For now, Kristina is enjoying the relaxed pace of life in Christchurch.

Christchurch is a fairly quiet and compact city. It's in the midst of so many beautiful spots to visit. You can go sightseeing or hiking or just take in the beauty of nature. The UC campus is lovely too and it feels very safe.

While her focus is mainly on her studies, she’s found that she has time to pursue other interests too.

After testing the waters I discovered that we do have some free time beyond our studies. I joined the University chess club. We get together to play every Thursday evening. It's a good way to get your mind out of your studies and meet some different people.

Kristina particularly enjoys the atmosphere in her classes, where students are encouraged to ask questions and participate.

There’s less of a hierarchy at UC. The students and teachers are on a more similar level. Here, we do a lot of collaboration and group work. The teachers try to get us out of our comfort zone and mix us up, so we learn to work with different people and be flexible in how we relate to each other.

She says international students are very well supported, whether needing advice on their studies or just settling in.

The International Relationships Office has been great. Any questions I've had they've always gotten back to me and explained everything really clearly. There’s a Student Care office too which is really helpful for students who might be struggling with their studies or feeling homesick. I haven't had to use it myself but it's nice to know it's there.

Kristina describes UC as a very diverse campus that welcomes people from anywhere and everywhere.

The UC student population is very diverse, and that's a good thing. It doesn't limit you. When you're in a community where there are so many different nationalities, backgrounds and interests, you can kind of blend in. At the same time, you get to meet so many different people that you never feel isolated.

Her proudest achievement at UC so far has been an internship with a New Zealand company. She says gaining real world experience during her studies will have a huge impact for her career.

I've been doing a data visualisation project at a company called Dairy Works, creating a dashboard for their sales team. It's been a great way of gaining professional experience. I’ve gotten to know the local working culture and interacted with professionals. I’m creating a useful tool for them too, so it doesn't feel like an internship. It feels like I’m actually working and being a part of something.

Another highlight for Kristina was achieving third place in a uni competition – not for the award, but for the skills she gained.

I did the See Me Live competition where we had to work in a team of people to develop and present a business idea. It was a great experience because it really puts you out there. It's especially good for shy people because it really doesn't give you a choice – you have to participate! Being at UC has opened my eyes to what's important when working with people.

Overall Kristina says UC is a place of balance, support and growth.

UC offers a great balance between free time and study time. The people, the staff and the facilities are all highly focused on the students. There’s so much support for overseas students and the introduction to Master’s level coursework has been very gentle and accessible.