Staff Spotlight: Croisella Trengrove

Deputy Head of University of Otago Flats
Croisella is originally from French Pass in the Marlborough Sounds, a must go to part of the beautiful South Island. Croisella has an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Canterbury, and also has a Certificate in Wool from Lincoln University where she studied sheep and learnt to be a wool classer! Now living in Dunedin and working at the University of Otago Croisella has a daughter who is an IT graduate and works for a mining company and a son who is a student at the University of Otago.

About the University of Otago Flats:

The University of Otago flats were developed to specifically cater for study abroad and exchange students staying for just one or two semesters. International students have the unique opportunity to live the local student lifestyle, and additionally university staff endeavor to place at least one local student “Kiwi host” in each University Flat. They are fully furnished with private rooms and shared common areas.

What language have you always wanted to learn?

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Croisella: As a child I wanted to learn French, and I had two years of French at High School, which really helped me last year when I went to France. However, the language I would most like to learn now is Maori, one of the three official languages of New Zealand. (English, Maori, and Sign Language). International students can take Maori 110 at Otago and learn Maori too :)

What is the best story that you have heard from a return student?

Croisella: That they want to come back to Otago and study as a Post Graduate! That they are missing us! and we have frequent stories of Kiwi Hosts going overseas and staying with their international flatmates, one of our RAs stayed with 25 different students she had met here at Otago as a Kiwi Host when she went on Exchange herself to North America!

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Croisella: I often say to staff and students alike that at the end of the day the students are our clients, if we don’t have students then we don’t have a job – it’s quite simple really! International students are my department’s life blood, we love them! It naturally follows that good customer service is huge! We try the very best we can to ensure that our residents have a safe and happy time with us.

We have after hours pastoral care and maintenance staff, we work in closely with our wonderful 24/7 Campus Watch security staff and we help students who are homesick, unwell, injured, struggling academically, having relationship issues etc. Our maintenance men can even help out with bicycle repairs and car maintenance from time to time as well!

two college students

What unique qualities does the University of Otago Flats have?

Croisella: Perhaps the most unique quality that University of Otago Flats have are our Kiwi Hosts, New Zealand students who flat with our international students. We house our international students in individual flats of around 4-6 residents and try to always have one Kiwi Host in the flat. The Kiwi Hosts help international settle into life at Otago and can help interpret the local lingo for internationals as well as show them around campus, Dunedin, and sometimes the wider Otago region – and generally help them enjoy their Otago Experience!

Another quality unique to Uni Flats are...Dee and Tumua, the Community Support Co-ordinators, who I work with -- pictured here! They arrange our functions and events and are also go to people for residents who might need a little bit of help with things.