'I had never expected I could take part in a performance outside my home country...'
Studying towards a degree in Translation with the University of Hong Kong, Gloria had no hesitation taking up an overseas exchange to experience more of the world.
‘I am a person with a global mind. I like to get in touch with people from all around the world and I enjoy learning new languages and cultures,’ Gloria says. ‘I want to work in language-related or culture-related fields.’
Having the freedom to credit interest courses from her exchange, Gloria wanted to study at an overseas university with a wide range of Arts courses to choose from, and quickly settled on UC.
‘UC has a competitive ranking in Australasia and it provides a variety of courses which suits my interest as an Arts student. In addition, Christchurch, where UC lies, is a beautiful and peaceful place with lots of natural sceneries and an interesting historical background.
‘I made a number of genuine friends and thanks to them, I adapted to the life as an international student quickly and seldom felt lonely,’ she says.
Using Ilam Apartments accommodation on campus was a big part of settling into life at UC and in New Zealand.
‘It's a valuable experience to stay with other UC students with different nationalities. I always got inspired talking with them!
‘Moreover, the room in Ilam is really spacious so I am able to build my own cozy place there. In addition, I enjoyed the activities held during exam period, like study supper and cupcake-making sessions. I really appreciate the effort Ilam Office made to give us a little study break and to ease students’ study pressure.’
Gloria ended up choosing courses from Japanese, Linguistics, Geology and Music that she thought would be particularly engaging. She definitely found UC’s teaching style to be a welcome change of pace, with more support and emphasis on self-driven learning than she was used to.
‘Lessons in Hong Kong are more one-sided and the relationship between teachers and students are not so close. However, I found that the relationship between students and teachers were more like friends at UC. Lessons were very interactive and students were given more freedom and flexibility in their studies.’
Gloria particularly enjoyed the chance to do Music course MUSI 100, which she had not tried at her home university.
‘I felt instant connection with the course and it turned out that I enjoyed it very much. Individual assessments were carried out once a while so as to keep track on student’s performance and understanding. By the end of the course, students were given chances to compose a little bit, which is something I have never done before. I am really happy with the result and what I have achieved!’
It was through this course that Gloria first learned about Gamelan, a musical ensemble that plays Indonesian music made up of percussion instruments. The opportunity to take part in UC’s Gamelan ensemble had such an impact on Gloria that she later signed up to one back at her home university.
‘It was definitely one of the most valuable and unforgettable performances I had in my life. I fell in love with Gamelan music after the first practice, it sounds really unique. After rehearsing for a couple of months, we performed in the Air Force Museum with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.
‘I had never expected I could take part in a performance outside my home country! I felt really proud to be part of the ensemble. On top of gaining precious performing experience with a professional orchestra, I have made several close friends in UC Gamelan as well.’
Other life-changing experiences from her time here was travel around New Zealand, starting with a trip to Hinewai Reserve with the UC Tramping Club.
‘I have been to Auckland and Rotorua in the North Island, Greymouth, Fox Glacier, Queenstown, Wanaka, and Dunedin etc. in the South Island. I enjoy travelling in New Zealand a lot, especially the south Island. Crystal clear lakes, pure white snowy mountains, broad braided rivers…. I have never got bored of these.
‘Travelling in New Zealand is completely different to travelling in other countries. In New Zealand, you can stay away from the hustle and bustle city life and the materialistic world. It is a process of learning how to appreciate nature that I can never experience in Hong Kong.’
She couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity to study here, and highly encourages other students try an exchange to gain more global knowledge.
‘Study Abroad is definitely one of the most memorable experience in my life,’ she says. ‘In order to maximize your experience, it is better to choose a country that is completely different with your home country.
‘New Zealand is a very unique country with an interesting Māori cultural background and lots of stunning natural sceneries. It is always on those “Must-go countries in life” lists. You will realise how small human beings are and how big the world is. If you want to get inspired, come to UC!’