ArcadiaNZ Past Review

By (Chemistry and Women's and Gender Studies, Brandeis University) - abroad from 02/16/2016 to 06/28/2016 with

Arcadia: Auckland - University of Auckland

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I feel much more capable of acting independently, and i learned a lot about New Zealand culture, especially in my classes. It was the most difficult but best decision I've ever made.

Review Photos

Arcadia: Auckland - University of Auckland Photo Arcadia: Auckland - University of Auckland Photo Arcadia: Auckland - University of Auckland Photo Arcadia: Auckland - University of Auckland Photo Arcadia: Auckland - University of Auckland Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

All of my courses were great--not particularly difficult compared to my home university, but I was looking for a less rigorous academic experience while abroad. Arcadia's coordinators have been doing their jobs for a long time and do an amazing job of explaining specific obstacles you might come across.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Absolutely the best. Jane, Kate, and Georgia were amazing as sources of information, resources, and friends. The group activities were well-planned and incredibly fun, and they are just the best people!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in Parnell Student Village and loved it. Although most study abroad students live in Carlaw, I randomly chose PSV. I liked being further away from campus and being right on the Domain as well as Parnell, and it was good to have a home that felt more separate from school. The flats themselves are beautiful, and living with a combination of Kiwis and Americans was the perfect arrangement. I lucked out with a corner room with lots of windows, a balcony, and views of the Domain and CBD. Just be aware of the risks of living with random flatmates--they might not always be the most clean or considerate.

* Food:

I cooked for myself. Buying groceries in Auckland was similar enough to at home that I could find all the basic ingredients I wanted with a few exceptions. I honestly miss the food I made there every day--Vogel's bread, the free range eggs, Marmite, Jed's coffee, Pic peanut butter, Hob Nobs...Eating out in Auckland was also excellent, but obviously can get expensive. Coffee pretty much anywhere is incredible though!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I learned an incredible amount of NZ culture as well as American culture from the outside. I could have been more integrated, but I chose to spend a lot of time with other study abroad students since we had the most similar interests (i.e. travel within NZ). I wish I had done a better job of making Kiwi friends BUT I had an amazing group and I don't regret any decision I made--we got to see so much of the country.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I went to the Uni health centre once to get a physical for a summer job, and it was a hassle. You have to fill out enrollment paperwork, wait for it to be processed, call in for an appointment (difficult with just an American phone), wait for an opening, and then come in multiple times for the appointment, which ended up only being five minutes in my case. I also happened to see a very rude nurse + doctor. If you actually get sick, I'm sure they'd be more helpful, but also be aware that drugstore medications are different as well as what needs to be prescribed. Bring your own decongestants/cough drops/etc if you get colds often and are picky. Also melatonin is prescription only.

* Safety:

I never felt unsafe, besides a few incidents of street harassment--and in any case, it was much less frequent than at home. I walked home through the Domain every day, sometimes after dark or late at night, and was very comfortable, although some other people might not be. I went everywhere in Auckland in groups and by myself, and I traveled on my own frequently. Before the semester began and over weekends I went backpacking on my own, and after exams I traveled to Australia and the South Island. NZ is a relatively safe place and I would recommend at least trying to travel independently--it was an amazing experience.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

I loved Arcadia. I think even if our admins and group events had been terrible, I would have no regrets simply because of the friends I made.


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Fairly easy, but i budgeted A LOT. I often went out with friends without buying anything, which is a difficult place to be.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Maybe $60? Hard to estimate in USD.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? You don't need to spend money on clothes, etc.--just more stuff to bring back later. It's worth spending less on groceries and more on eating out, drinks, traveling--you're only going to be there for a short time and it's okay to just have fun, to an extent. If you can, try to let go of stress around money.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The coordinators
  • Program trips
  • My friends <3
* What could be improved?
  • Really nothing!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known how happy I would be and how hard it would be to leave! This can be a very personal experience though, and hard to explain when you come back without sounding trite or cliche. Just remember that it was real.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.