Category Archives: Student Success

Opportunities and advice for making the most of your time at UC, as well as stories featuring students who are excelling in their field.

UCMe and ‘Believe U Can’ launched this week

A new ‘Believe U Can’ campaign and a refreshed version of the popular UCMe profiles launched nationwide this week, promoting UC by celebrating some of our star students (and staff in the UCWe).

UC students are inspiring, enterprising and courageous and the campaign aims to showcase the many faces of our student community.

Believe U Can weaves the story of UC and what differentiates us through each student’s personal journey. The campaign draws inspiration from you our students and brings to life the idea that belief in yourself and others can take you anywhere.

The narrator is Wairaamia Tikao Taratoa-Bannister (Ngāi Tahu, Waitaha, Ngāti Māmoe, Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngāti Raukawa) and the others featured in the video are your classmates and UCMe students.

As in previous years, the nationwide UCMe billboard, poster, bus stops and online campaign tells the stories of students who have taken everything UC has to offer and transformed it into their own unique experience. This year we have the biggest ever cohort – 31 students – and for the first time some are accompanied by siblings, academics and support staff who have contributed to their UC experience.

Charlie Ikosi, from Papua New Guinea, is one of the students featured in the Believe U Can and UCMe campaigns. He is the recipient of a New Zealand Manaaki Scholarship from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and offered to take part to encourage other people to make a difference.

“I want to inspire people back home who have a dream of coming out into the world and getting a world-class education and taking it back home to help improve their communities.

“I feel very privileged to be here and I want to give back, by being an example. Reading about it and hearing about it is one thing but I wanted to put a face to it. When the campaign comes out I really want to share it with my friends so I can inspire them to be inquisitive about the environment and to think more widely than just what they see at home.”

Read Charlie’s inspiring story

Free for all UC students: Blackbullion

This year UC has partnered with Blackbullion to provide free access for all UC students. Blackbullion has a range of articles, animations and quizzes focused on topics like budgeting, scams, debt, money tips, and entitlements.

There is much more than just this inside of Blackbullion, however. For example,

  • Do you know what an NFT is, and why Jack Dorsey was recently able to sell the very first tweet posted on Twitter for $3million?
  • Do you know what inflation is, and what kinds of things can cause it to go up or down?
  • Do you know what ethical investments are, and how you could go about making some?

Blackbullion has got these topics covered as well.

We encourage you to create an account using your institutional email address (either or, try out the budgeting tool, and have a look around at what interests you.

If you run into any technical troubles with your account, you can email

UC Students Win National Speed Climbing Championships

Two University of Canterbury (UC) students have taken out the top spots in the National New Zealand Speed Climbing Championships in Tauranga.

Photo credit: Conor Boyd Photography

Alongside their degrees, UC students Sarah Tetzlaff and Tom Waldin are ascending the ranks of speed climbing, winning the 2021 Aotearoa championships.   

“I’m very proud – and mildly surprised – to have won the male speed championship,” Waldin says. “Speed climbing requires a specific wall and the only one in the country is in Mt Maunganui. This makes speed climbing a very difficult discipline to train for, living in Christchurch, so I’m very pleased I managed to take the win.”

Waldin, currently in his fourth year of Civil Engineering, and Tetzlaff, working towards a Bachelor of Environment Science, both juggle their studies and training for this competitive sport from their homes in Ōtautahi.

“Through balancing sport and studies, I have developed the time management skills and techniques required to succeed in both,” Waldin says.

For Tetzlaff, access to digital learning materials through AKO|LEARN have made her success possible.

“I’ll train in the morning or afternoon around my uni schedule and watch lectures online when it suits me better. I’m also not opposed to being a bit of a weekend warrior with my study if I get behind during the week.”

These two national champions are hopeful to attend the Open World Cup later in the year, depending on travel restrictions.

If it is possible to travel overseas in October, I would love to compete in the Open Speed and Bouldering World Cups in China and Korea – but I’m not holding my breath,” Tetzlaff says.

Photo credit: Conor Boyd Photography

With the competition season over until September, Tetzlaff and Waldin are looking forward to getting stuck into their studies and heading outdoors for rock climbing.   

“I’m hoping to really push my climbing level at the Castle Hill Basin, Milford Sound, Mount Owen and many other amazing places,” Tetzlaff says.

These quick-footed students also have ambitions of increasing their speed records.  

Waldin won his final with a time of 10.11 seconds – just .6 of a second in front of his opponent.

“That time is quite far off my personal best, but I was very happy considering I haven’t had access to a speed wall in the last six months,” he explains.

Tetzlaff only has herself to beat, having made a new NZL female speed record with her 11.14 second climb.

With competitions wrapped up until spring, these two speedy students will hit the books and get out and about in the south island’s beautiful rock landscapes for outdoor climbing.

“The NZL competition season will kick off again in spring,” Tetzlaff says, “so I have a bit of time now to relax, rehydrate – and then hit it hard!”