Uatifoti Saofai

INSPIRE

Uatifoti Business

Tell us about your passion for commerce!

I grew up surrounded by businesswomen. My Mum and Aunty both ran stores in Samoa. They would let me look after customers and organise purchases. That’s where it all started!

How are you finding your degree so far?

I’ve actually found it a bit easier than school. At UC the subjects come to life because they show how the theories apply to real life situations. The lecturers are really friendly and helpful. You get the feeling that they want you to succeed.

Have you connected with the Pasifika team at UC?

Last year my sister started at UC and we went together to some of their events. We went to a ‘Jandals’ night where we played games, met the leaders and shared a laugh. We also went to a Fiafia night where they showcased Pasifika talents from all around Christchurch.

It must be great being able to share your uni experience with your aiga (family)!

I love having my sister here on campus with me. She’s my best friend. When she enrolled last year, uni became a whole different experience for me. I love being able to talk to someone who knows me very well. It took her a few weeks to get used to uni life and I was really glad I could be there for her. Now she’s loving it!

Awesome. You were part of the Emerging Leaders Development Programme (ELDP), how was that?

It was one of my favourite uni experiences. ELDP is a scholarship programme for students from all around Aotearoa New Zealand. They bring us together at a retreat before uni starts and keep us connected with different activities throughout the year. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity. It made my transition to university so much easier.

"At UC the subjects come to life because they show how the theories apply to real life situations. The lecturers are really friendly and helpful."

Any advice for others just settling in?

Go at your own pace. Take opportunities willingly but don’t force yourself to do things. It’s okay to take time to get comfortable – it took me a while to find my feet.

It sounds like you’ve really blossomed here!

UC has brought something out of me that I didn’t know I had. I’ve gained a new sense of confidence in myself. I almost didn’t come because I was so afraid of the crowds, but I’m so glad I did. I wouldn’t change it for anything.