'It has been a really great experience working and studying on campus...'
Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Te Reo Māori
Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Diplomacy and International Relations
Master of Arts in Pacific Studies
Studying towards a PhD in Pacific Studies
Pacific Advisor, UC Pacific Development Team, University of Canterbury
Ashalyna always knew that she would go to university but she chose UC because her parents and uncle are UC alumni and she wanted to keep the tradition going.
'While I was growing up, studying at university was always expected of me, as education is a high priority in my family. In my first year I was studying towards a Law degree but later found it wasn't for me. I found that the BA offered courses that I always enjoyed in high school and so I decided to take it up.'
After completing her BA, Ashalyna chose to continue with honours in Diplomacy and International Relations.
'I like that Diplomacy and International Relations covers a wide range of subjects ranging from Political Science, Law, and History to Mass Communication.'
Ashalyna recently completed her master's thesis, which analysed the influence of the Chinese in Samoa by focusing on politics, the Samoan economy, Samoan identity and Chinese aid in Samoa.
'I was motivated to study my thesis topic because my mother is Chinese-Samoan. Outside of academia, there is little information on the Chinese in Samoa so this was a way for me to piece together information to learn more about my family's history,' she explains.
Currently Ashalyna is undertaking a PhD, analysing China and New Zealand's foreign aid and soft power in the Pacific with the help of a UC Pasifika Doctoral Scholarship.
She adds, 'studying at UC has enhanced my fact-finding, analytical and presentation skills and I believe that will help me succeed in future, whichever career path I choose.'
While studying towards her master's degree, Ashalyna worked at Aotahi: School of Māori and Indigenous Studies and is currently an Advisor for UC's Pacific Development Team.
'My days at work vary from advising students to advocating on their behalf, liaising with academic staff, presenting information to classes and organising social events for students.
'It has been a really great experience working and studying on campus. I have made many lifelong friends here and the student life is great! There is also a lot of support and facilities here for Pacific students, which has made the whole uni experience much more enjoyable and has kept me in touch with my Samoan culture.
'I would encourage all Pacific students to use the programmes and facilities that the Pacific Development Team offers. They are here to help us succeed. The PASS programme for Pasifika students helped me achieve results that I never thought I could get. I would also say: study subjects you are interested in and passionate about as it will motivate you to keep going!'