Category Archives: Postgraduate study

Postgrad Student Blog: Into the Unknown

If you have ever stopped to think about why you have chosen certain paths in life, surely, like me, you won’t find an immediate answer. However, over time, that questioning inevitably finds its response as a consequence of the first step of the journey itself.

I clearly remember the day I started the Master of Human Interface Technology (MHIT) programme at the HIT Lab NZ. Each one of my classmates introduced themselves; everybody had different backgrounds. I was not the exception. When my turn came, I said: “Hello, my name is Gonzalo, I have a background in psychology, and I am uncertain as to what I’m doing here.” We all laughed together with empathy. I believe that was a shared feeling. Surprisingly, communicating my uncertainty brought an immediate sense of security. After that precise moment, I knew that I had lied. Indeed, I couldn’t have been anywhere else. The HIT Lab NZ was the only place where I wanted to be. Since then, the response to my self-contemplation started to take shape.

I joined the MHIT program to learn about cutting-edge technologies, with a focus on innovative training tools to promote the development of engaging learning experiences. My studies in psychology equipped me with rewarding knowledge and expertise. However, as expected, there was not so much scope for the analysis of technical developments. Thus, I carefully considered how compatible my background and the MHIT program were. That insightful thought was probably one of the biggest warning signs. Something told me “do not risk it”.

I suppose that I could tell stories about how I developed skills that were not within my reach before undertaking the MHIT programme, or how much I now enjoy writing code. But I suppose I’m not writing these lines to sell something, but rather to share and provide meaning to people with similar desires or experiences wanting to venture into unfamiliar areas of research.

More than a year has passed since that first day of class. Happily, I have finished the programme, and I believe I have acquired a unique set of skills not often found in my profession. Without a doubt, the overall experience offered by the MHIT programme provided the necessary grounds required to achieve my personal goals. But that’s not the end of the story, as I’ve only grappled the surface, and I’ve realised there is so much I am yet to learn.

Today I am grateful I did the MHIT programme. Of course, it was not easy, as nothing worth having is easy to achieve. Thus, as long as the desire exists, I encourage those who question themselves, to venture into unknown areas of knowledge. I truly believe the beauty of thinking thrives through diversity. Certainly, great things will come with the right amount of passion and the right combination of skills. The MHIT programme has provided those skills for me.

Gonzalo Suarez

Hangarau Tangata, Tangata Hangarau | The HIT Lab NZ, is the University of Canterbury’s primary research centre for virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), applied immersive game design, and human-robot interaction. At HIT Lab NZ, we cultivate connection between industry and our students to create highly skilled graduates who are ready for careers in industry or academia.
For more information about our Master’s or PhD programmes, visit our website or contact our friendly team at

Change Direction Postgraduate Expo

Graduate and postgraduate study provides you with specialist skills and applied experience. It can also open up a new career direction.

Do you have an intellectual curiosity about a specialist topic? Maybe you wish to boost your employment or develop your career, or change direction completely?

Check out the great opportunities that postgraduate study can offer you, at the Change Direction Postgraduate Expo from 15-17 September at UC.  Find out more and register here.

Be A Part of Change – UCount

grey box with red text that says Tel UC what counts to you
Already 1 in 5 students have done the UCount.
1 in 3 postgraduate students have completed the UCPEQ.
Results from these surveys inform decisions across campus!
Will you tell UC what counts to you and be a part of what informs decision-making and change at UC?


Why should you care about participating?

The surveys will ask about learning and teaching (UCount), the research culture in your department and experiences with Supervision (UCPEQ), the student experience outside of the classroom, the Student Levy, and more.

These results can improve the student experience, by driving change within the University.

Here is a chance for students to have the power to make change.

What else is in it for me?

We’re glad you asked! A completed survey before 30 August puts you in the grand prize drawing for a $1,000 Aotearoa NZ Travel Voucher – you can use this for flights, accommodation, experiences, or even a campervan. Go wild!

There’s $1k for UCount and $1k for the UCPEQ.

In addition to the grand prize, each completed survey means you go into the daily prize draws, where you can win double passes to UCSA’s Tea Party, free drinks to Ancestral (hey bubble tea), $10 vouchers to Therapy Cafe, UC Hoodies (valued at $70!), or $50 to the University Book Shop (treat yourself).

Has anyone actually won any daily prizes?

Yes! Since 10 August, 2 students have won double passes to Tea Party, 49 students have won free drinks from Ancestral, 10 students got $10 to the Therapy Café, 2 students have cosy UC hoodies now, and 2 students won $50 to the University Book Shop! AND there are still 56 prizes to give away!

Okay cool, how do I take the survey?

A couple of emails have been sent to your UC email address.

If you don’t have the email, or can’t find it, flick an email and they’ll help you out.