Daniel Chia Matallana
'I think this kind of opportunity is unique at UC...'
Studying towards a Master of Laws (International Law and Politics)
Daniel had previously studied law at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia, and worked for a number of years there as a lawyer, before deciding to turn towards a career in academia.
As a lawyer Daniel specialised in copyright law for the creative industry. His international law master’s studies at UC ties into his humanitarian interests, focusing on privacy laws surrounding new and developing technologies.
‘I’m interested in a wide range of topics, from International Criminal Law to The Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The goal of my research is to contribute to the legal debate on the regulation of new technologies, responsibility, and the processing of personal data,’ he says.
Moving to New Zealand to study at UC, Daniel has been inspired by the Law programme and national politics for his academic career.
‘Christchurch had to do a lot with the decision,’ he says. ‘The way Christchurch has changed and is changing every day is extremely gratifying. In general terms it has been great, most of people are friendly and polite. It is a well-organised country where things work properly.
‘Nevertheless the programme is very interesting and the courses that are offered along with the lecturers convinced me. New Zealand had superiority with its education system, the rank of its universities, and the quality of the lecturers with their expertise and their will to share their experiences and information.’
The support Daniel has as a postgraduate student has made his master’s degree a worthwhile learning experience, including taking oral presentation workshops with the Academic Skills Centre, and engaging with lecturers.
‘I really enjoy the facilities and tools I have as a postgraduate student: Library, postgraduate rooms, field trips, etc. Additionally I find that most of the lecturers and staff are very encouraging and supportive.’
He also has the opportunity to pursue his passion for human rights through the student club Amnesty International, which offers political and humanitarian opportunities for students.
However through his studies, the biggest highlight at UC so far was a field trip to New Zealand Parliament in Wellington to see local politics in action.
‘We had the opportunity to meet the acting Prime Minister, the leader of the opposition in the parliament, and some ambassadors. I think this kind of opportunity is unique at UC and was a chance to contextualise the academic knowledge in real life experiences.’