Jieran is from Tianjin University in China. He is studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance as part of a 2+2 programme which sees him spend 2 years in China and 2 years at UC. He enjoys the contrast of studying in New Zealand.

UC is so different. In China, university is very intense. Some of our lectures last a whole day. Here we get a lot more free time. We can do our own self-regulated study and pursue other interests. I enjoy having the chance to do my own things.

When not in class, Jieran keeps busy with a mix of interests.

I enjoy singing so I joined the Glee Club. We get together to rehearse and have fun. I’ve also joined the Student Volunteer Army and the Investment Society. I play basketball at the Rec centre. I like being able to pursue all my different interests and spend time with people. I've made lots of new friends!

Recently Jieran competed in a business case competition through a club called Global China Connection.

It's a competition where you prepare a case to help a New Zealand company navigate the Chinese market. Our team helped a Marlborough winemaker who wanted to become the most Chinese friendly winery in the region. They needed to overcome communication issues and understand what wine characteristics would appeal to Chinese people. We had to present our case and make it clear and interesting. We got second place!

He feels well supported as an international student and says language isn’t a barrier at UC.

UC supports us in lots of ways. If we have any academic or language problems they help us out. There’s a Student Care team and a Health Centre. There’s also UC Careers where they give us great advice about how to get a job. There are internships available and we get to do projects with real businesses around the city. At UC, you use the knowledge you learn in real life.

Jieran has found a sense of warmth in the wider community as well.

I live with a homestay family off campus. They’re very hospitable. Everybody in the neighbourhood is very friendly as well. You walk down the street and people smile at you and ask how you are.

During his study breaks Jieran loves travelling around the South Island.

I’ve been to the West Coast and Lake Tekapo. New Zealand is known as a great place to come, but for me it's the photos that really show how amazing it is. I took a picture from the bus of the sun coming up behind the mountains. It was incredible!

Jieran’s advice for others is to go beyond their ‘comfort zone’.

Don't be afraid to travel far from home. You can have a brand-new life here. It's when you get out of your comfortable life circle and experience something new that you grow as a person. There’s such a great atmosphere here at UC. I've improved my English, made new friends, and contributed to groups and experienced a diverse culture. It's given me a whole new perspective on life.