‘I particularly enjoyed the industry engagement offered in my courses…’
Bachelor of Commerce in Strategy and Entrepreneurship, and Economics
Studying towards a Master of Strategic Communication
Sahar began her career journey while still in her teens, working in the Sri Lankan tourism industry.
At the age of 23, Sahar was ready for a new challenge and had a clearer vision of her lifelong ambition – to run her own social enterprise.
‘I wanted to travel, broaden my cultural horizons, and explore work opportunities internationally. I felt that New Zealand would be a great place to experience all of the things I wanted to,’ she says.
‘The University of Canterbury’s Bachelor of Commerce degree offered the versatility in study I was looking for. The degree runs the unique major of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, which aligned with my career plans. The flexible degree structure allowed me to take on a second major, Economics, at no additional tuition fees – a valuable addition to my degree.’
UC’s online learning tools, team projects, and overall contemporary learning environment helped ease her back into the classroom after her years in the workforce.
‘I particularly enjoyed the industry engagement offered in my courses – a particularly memorable opportunity was forming a project proposal in consultation with Christchurch-based social enterprise, Trade Aid.
‘I was also able to work in a range of part-time jobs that helped me build different skillsets, cover living costs and, most importantly, make Kiwi friends.’
Getting involved outside the classroom also helped support Sahar’s integration into University life. UC offers more than 160 student-run clubs, and Sahar was appointed the Marketing Manager for the University of Canterbury Global Society (UCGS).
‘We networked with international and domestic students to nurture multicultural understanding on campus. This was one of my most fulfilling student experiences because we contributed to real community engagement.’
Through these types of extracurricular involvement, Sahar gained the opportunity to represent UC as a student ambassador in Sri Lanka. She organised seminars in her home country to grow interest in UC by sharing her learning journey in New Zealand.
Sahar completed a Bachelor of Commerce as a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society, the world’s largest academic community for students.
‘The membership extended me further opportunities of travel grants, global networking, and access to Asia-Pacific and international conferences,’ she says.
‘I now work for the UC’s Study-Abroad and Exchange Team, and continue to engage with the wider student community. As a part of my professional development, I’ve begun my part-time master’s degree study in Strategic Communication.’
‘I have been inspired by the innovative business movement here in the city of Christchurch. It’s been amazing to be a part of a revitalising city, with local start-ups, and a buzzing arts scene and food culture. Christchurch is also very diverse, in its people and landscapes – a Sunday favourite is driving up to the Port Hills and down to the beach, crossing paths with people from all across the globe.
‘Coming from the beautiful island of Sri Lanka, wanderlust is second nature. Exploring New Zealand has been on my bucket list, and I now feel fortunate that the South Island is my backyard. A hiking expedition or kayaking trip is never too far away.
‘My international study experience gave me the opportunity to balance complementary academic and professional learnings from the get-go.
‘It’s helped me to realise my personal strengths, resilience, and adaptability, both in and out of the classroom. The learning never stops when you move out of your comfort zone, and for that I am grateful.’