What is the student life like - is it hard? fun? I have heard good things from some friends but I want to hear from some current students. Is it a good place to study?
I studied engineering at UC for one semester before heading to the U.S. and a absolutely loved it. As with all NZ universities, the experience is much different to college in the U.S. This is cool because by doing both you get to live two very different experiences, but also very important (at least for me) because it gave me a much better understanding of what uni life is like in NZ. Without that semester I feel like I would have really missed out.
Anyway, there are a few key points about UC that I really valued. Firstly, the people. UC attracts a lot of engineering and law students, which means that there is an honest, academic, hard working culture. However, all of us chose to study these subjects at UC instead of universities like Auckland, Waikato, Victoria and Otago. The main reason for this is that we love the campus campus culture, lifestyle and access to the ocean, mountains and beautiful south island. In my experience, people that appreciate the outdoors and natural state of New Zealand are the healthiest, happiest people to spend time with. This is why I made so many great friends at UC.
UC and UoA compete fairly evenly for the title of best engineering university, and ultimately I don’t think one is significantly better than the other. I imagine that given UC’s campus size and space, there is much more opportunity to work on physical projects in workshops. Similarly, I am confident that the earthquake rebuild is providing a lot of work experience opportunities for UC students. However, as a first-year I didn’t chose to get very involved with that stuff so I can’t speak to that too much. I am not sure about the ranking of other degrees, but I know that UC is one of the top universities in a range of subjects.
As I mentioned, the UC lifestyle is incredible. My friends and I would often take road trips to ski in the mountains during the weekend and to see friends in Dunedin. This is certainly not something to take for granted, because if you end up working in a big city, then it can be difficult to take these trips so easily. The flatting scene is great and filled with awesome, fun people from around the country. I lived in R&R Hall as a first-year, and I highly recommend it. All the halls are slightly different and while you can’t go wrong, I wouldn’t change a thing about my experience.
Overall (as you can tell) I had an incredible semester at UC. I would do it again in a heartbeat and I highly encourage you to head to UC!