UCMe - James, Software Engineering, University of Canterbury, NZ
James MacKay

POTENTIAL

James Engineering

Tell us about what you’ve been up to at UC!

I’ve just finished a double degree in Software Engineering, maths and philosophy. Next I’m getting a Masters of Human Interface Technology. I’ll be exploring practical uses of virtual reality, using the amazing equipment at the HIT lab.

Exciting! Thinking back, why did you choose UC?

I knew I wanted to do something in STEM after high school, but I wasn’t sure what. I chose UC because it offered the widest variety of courses in first year. I was able to try a range of things before deciding what path to follow.

Are there any aspects of UC that took you by surprise?

It’s been surprising to see how much the campus has changed in four years. I’ve noticed loads of new buildings and facilities pop- up. It’s fun walking around and seeing new things. There’s so much I still haven’t explored!

Tell us about your stint overseas!

As part of my double degree I was able to go on exchange to the University of Leeds in northern England. I was there for two months before coming home due to Covid. It was really cool. I lived in a hall with 100 other students from all over the world. It was great to meet people with so many different backgrounds.

Did you get to explore a little too?

Yes, I went to London where I visited Westminster Abbey and went to a recording of the TV show QI. I also joined the uni walking club. We went to a small English village and hiked around the forest. The sense of history there is amazing.

"I chose UC because it offered the widest variety of courses in first year. I was able to try a range of things before deciding what path to follow."

It sounds like you’ve really broadened your horizons in your time at UC.

I’ve definitely had a lot of unexpected experiences! In first year I tended to keep to myself, but as time progressed I took up more and more opportunities, from attending events to heading overseas on exchange. It’s good to branch out. You learn interesting things and come across cool opportunities.

Any parting words of wisdom?

One thing I’ve learned is to keep an open mind. From unique experiences to managing Covid 19 - sometimes you just have to go with the flow. Don’t worry too much if you run into hurdles. We all fail assignments and miss deadlines from time to time. It’s not the end of the world and your lecturers will be there to help you.