20 December 2018

The Theory of YES | Study With New Zealand

Matthew Le
Bachelor's student

Let me ask you a question! Have you ever been in a situation where you want something badly but are afraid to ask for it?

Take these examples: You have always dreamed about that upgrade to a first-class seat on a flight but are too afraid to ask the flight attendants, or you have had a big crush on a person for a while but are not brave enough to ask him/her out etc.

If you answered “Yes” to any of the above questions, welcome on board with the rest of the world! Because I can assure you that it is absolutely normal to be in such a situation. You have been there; the flight attendants have been there; the man/woman, whom you have a crush on, has been there and so have I. Yes, I have been there before.

Up until this point, I still have no idea how to describe that specific feeling in that specific kind of situation. It is very much nerve-wracking. It is also very tempting. It is, in fact, the ongoing internal debate that won't stop until we take action.

Generally, we often perceive this as the difference between victory and embarrassment. From which, we tend to develop the invisible fear of embarrassment and take the soft option, the easy way out. Unless you are a dumb and fearless 17-year-old like me!

****** Yes, I did NOT chicken out.

In fact, I went all the way.

And luckily, I took a W.

W for Win.

Hi there! My name is Matthew Le, a Vietnamese international student in Auckland, New Zealand. I am in my last year of high school and currently in the process of considering/choosing university for my next year. And here is the story of how my two best friends and I got offered to travel to Christchurch for two days, for FREE.

It all started with a typical night at home. I was just laying in my bed, scrolling through my Facebook feed and low-key looking for a potential ball date. My eyes stopped at the graphic poster online about the University of Canterbury's (UC) Info Evening in Auckland. To be honest, I was very reluctant to even think about going to it. However, I still signed up for some reasons and then forgot about it completely the next day.

Later that month, I ended up being dragged to that info evening because one of my best friends decided to go. I seriously wanted to stay at home as I thought that it was just going to be a long and boring seminar. Surprisingly, it was very informative and eye-opening, especially in terms of scholarships and career pathways that studying at UC can lead you to. I was impressed by it, very much. But still, there was something missing that intrigued me to explore more about the university itself. Metaphorically, there was an aggressive and hungry wave under a calm surface. Either way, I was pretty happy that I SAID YES to going to the Info evening. Two days later, as an international student, I got offered FREE flight tickets to the UC Open Day in Christchurch. Not to mention, I was even allowed to take a friend with me on the trip.

****** At that moment, I was legitimately overwhelmed.

I was honored to be chosen.

I didn't know that I could get free flight tickets just with a single YES to that Info evening.

And for once, I was grateful for it.

****** However, something was not quite right.

I was not entirely satisfied - a little greedy to be exact.

I wanted to stay longer, not only to understand more about the university lifestyle but also to explore Christchurch, the "Garden City" of New Zealand.

****** “What if I ask to stay a little longer?” I asked myself.

“Nah, they probably won't accept it.” “Come on, UC stands for the University of Canterbury, not the University of Charity.”

“But they might!”, “How would I know if I didn’t ask.”

“What do I have to lose anyway?” another question, I asked.

And this is exactly what I meant by the 'ongoing internal debate’.

Realistically, there were only 2 outcomes for the situation:

  1. Either I would have an amazing trip with 2 of my best friends for a little longer
  2. Or we would still go, but just for a day. However, it would also mean that I got rejected.

****** “It’s fine! I guess. I’m already used to being rejected according to my love-life.”

“All of my friends have already made fun of me badly because of that, I don’t mind adding just one more reason to the Matthew-making-fun-list.”

Long story short, I SAID YES to writing the University of Canterbury a proposal. The proposal that consisted of over 500 words. The proposal that took me 2 hours to brainstorm, plan, draft and complete. The proposal that unexpectedly changed our winter holiday forever.

Within a week, UC got back to us with a "Yes, sure!" in addition of:

  1. FREE accommodation
  2. FREE offers of dinner and breakfast
  3. COMPLIMENTARY pick-ups from and to the airport. 

Moral of the story:

Let's rewind!

  • First and foremost, if I didn't say YES in the first place, none of this would have ever existed in our wildest dreams. More specifically, I wouldn't have been able to get those free tickets to Christchurch.
  • Secondly, if I didn't say YES to overcome that invisible fear of embarrassment and ask for more, our winter vacation would have never rolled out that much fun.

All in all, if there is one thing that I got to learn during this whole process of getting ready, travelling to Christchurch, having fun, travelling back to Auckland and writing this blog, it would definitely be:




Because you could NEVER know where a single YES could take you.

For me, it took me and my two best friends over 1,000 km away from Auckland, to the most beautiful city in winter I have ever seen, Christchurch.

It also got me to understand more about the awesome UC lifestyle that every high-schooler has ever dreamed of experiencing.

Credit to the University of Canterbury:

Why UC?

  • Simply put, UC offers absolutely amazing educational foundation that you will be able to turn into an amazing career. Find out more: UC7
  • Another reason? Their accommodation has everything you could possibly think of, literally and surprisingly. My special shout-out to the lovely Japanese-influenced Sonoda apartment. What is better than an environment with friendly, like-minded people and a 24/7 clean-and-tidy restroom? Interested for more: Halls of residence
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About the contributors
Matthew Le
Bachelor's student

Hey, I’m Matthew. Born and raised in Vietnam. I spent the last 2 years in high school here in New Zealand. And now, I’m an international student at the University of Auckland. I am turning 19 soon. And I don’t like that. So… I’ve decided to live the last few months of being 18 by the "Theory of YES". Saying YES to things that scare the heck out of me.