Category Archives: Student contributors

Blogs written by UC students.

My six weeks of university in China

Three months ago I was sitting outside Tiananmen Square at midnight, bonding with a chain-smoking military guard over the song Africa by Toto, and I wondered – how did I get here?

While this realm of existentialism is probably best left to Jaden Smith, (and the puns left to actually funny human beings), the specific case of ending up in China was a result of the absolutely primo opportunity offered by UC to take part in a six-week summer programme at Peking University, Beijing. I was lucky enough to be (definitely by accident) selected for this.

Aside from living in a totally different world, the opportunities on this programme are endless. We (attempted) to learn Mandarin, were taken to many traditional ceremonies, got involved with the expat community, worked on research for Chinese/New Zealand immigration, spent 3 days in Guangzhou meeting students, and heard some of the most phenomenally weird and wonderful stories of China’s history in daily classes at Peking. Additionally, I got to risk my life every morning; one commutes to campus by bike.

It’s a phenomenal place where social and technological evolution is accelerating at a ridiculous rate, and I would highly recommend anyone to apply for this fantastic opportunity. If I can make the cut, frankly anyone can. In the famous words of Chinese philosopher Shia LaBoeuf; “Just DO IT.”

Tim Marshall

Find more information about the six-week summer programme to Peking University here>
Applications close Tuesday 31 July 2018

Apply today for First Nations’ Futures Programme

Madison Williams, PhD student and First Nations’ Futures Programme Scholarship recipient 2017 shares her unique experience with you.

The First Nations’ Futures Programme was a great experience where we got to spend two weeks at Stanford University learning about indigenous economies, the environment, and indigenous development. It was a unique opportunity to learn about other cultures, while sharing our own, at one of the most renowned university’s in the world.

From the time we arrived we were surrounded by inspiring leaders who shared their knowledge and experience with us. The other fellows were so supportive and we learned a lot from one another throughout the programme.

The programme provided me with the opportunity to develop my ideas and reflect on how my work can benefit my people. It was a challenging and rewarding experience, which encouraged personal growth. It was a great privilege to participate and a once in a lifetime opportunity. 

The First Nations’ Futures Programme provides an unrivalled opportunity for aspiring Ngāi Tahu leaders and other Māori postgraduate students to gain access to leading international research and thinking within a uniquely indigenous context. Applications are also invited from Ngāi Tahu and other Māori undergraduate students who are close to completion of their degree and who intend to apply for postgraduate study in 2018-2019. The First Nations’ Futures Programme is held at Stanford University for two weeks in October/November every year.

Submit your application now> Applications  close Thursday 31 May, 2018.

Understanding Ramadan: 15 May – 14 June

Ramadan is an important festival for the Muslim faith, and this year will go from the 15 May until the 14 June. Wasim Khan, a doctoral student at UC and member of the UC Muslim Student Association, explains what Ramadan means for UC’s Islamic community.

“Ramadan is a month in which Muslims are obliged to fast as God Almighty says in Quran’s chapter 2, verse 183, “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed upon you as it was ordained to those before you, so that you learn self-restraint.

Ramadan is also the month of the revelation of Holy Quran. Fasting is the fourth pillar of Islam, among the five pillars. Fasting means no eating, drinking, husband-wife relationship, or immoral activities (lies, cheating etc)  from dawn till sunset. These are the basis of why we Muslims fast and what makes Ramadan important.

Next is the role of fasting in personal lives and society. The main aim of fasting is to train ourselves how to abstain from what God Almighty has ordered us to stay away. It is a practice for spiritual elevation and having more control on our desires as we are the best judge for ourselves since no one knows whether we are fasting or not.

From society’s perspective, Ramadan is a month of giving and taking special care of poor people around us. Paying Zakat (alms-giving), which is one of the five pillars of Islam, is encouraged in Ramadan. Spending a lot for charity is also encouraged in Ramadan. So overall Ramadan is a month (a) to be a better person, (b) more self conscious with spiritual elevation, (c) controlling desires and bad habits, (d) experiencing how it feels when we are hungry like many of the people around us, (e) equality for rich and poor; (f) lastly it is now common in various countries to practice “intermittent fasting”, so we can understand the health benefits of Fasting based on the scientific research conducted so far.

On campus we arrange five prayers at our Musallah (prayer room) at 37 Creyke Road, and we arrange Iftar (breaking the fast) and dinner for over 100 students. This gives us an opportunity to spend time and pray together for the whole month, which is an exciting experience we share at UC during Ramadan.

Ramadan Kareem!