UCMe - Jonas, PhD Engineering, University of Canterbury, NZ
Jonas Aust

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Jonas Engineering

What brought you to UC from Germany?

I wanted to broaden my skills in Engineering and Management. I was also inspired to come to New Zealand by my grandad. He’d always wanted to travel to Ōtautahi Christchurch but sadly passed away before he had a chance. I wanted to realise his dream, so coming here has been a matter of the mind and the heart for me.

What have you enjoyed about the campus and city?

I love that everything is within easy reach. It’s a very bikeable city and you can get everywhere really quickly. Plus it’s just over an hour to the ski fields and 15 minutes to the beach!

How would you sum up the UC student experience?

UC genuinely looks after its students and provides a perfect study-life balance. From the many clubs and recreation opportunities to workshops and well-being services, there’s tons of support and it’s easy to make friends.

Speaking of clubs, you started your own?

I founded the UC Deutsch (German) club with some mates. We have movie nights, weekly get-togethers, and other social activities. We also offer academic support. It’s a very global club with members from all over. This year’s executive are from Germany, Denmark, Croatia, Malaysia, Chile, and Ethiopia. It’s fun to learn about each other’s cultures and our similarities and differences!

Tell us about your PhD!

I’m based at the Air New Zealand Christchurch Engine Centre, looking at how we can improve visual inspection of turbine blades. The goal is to improve passenger safety. There are over a thousand blades in a single engine and if even one fails it can cause a fatal accident. My project looks at risk management, software engineering and much more. It's a hands-on PhD!

"Christchurch is a very bikeable city and you can get everywhere really quickly. Plus it’s just over an hour to the ski fields and 15 minutes to the beach!"

How have you changed as a person in your time at UC?

I’ve taken on a lot more responsibility, from running a club to tutoring and other leadership roles. I’ve been able to develop my soft skills, which can be just as valuable as learning the ins and outs of research.

Are you happy you came?

Coming to UC was the best decision I ever made. At first, language was a challenge but I found kiwis to be really supportive. Getting my masters at UC was like being surrounded by a family, and my PhD is really interesting and industry relevant. I’m so thankful to have had this unique opportunity.