New Zealand "Land of the Long White Cloud" Aotearoa: The most amazing experience of my life. Past Review

By (Marketing, Bryant University) for

Arcadia: Dunedin - University of Otago

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My experience was definitely worthwhile. It was worth the expensive airfare and the $5000 loan I took out to make it all happen. There is no price I would not pay to do it over again. I have gained a more "cultured" view of the world and although their society is not that different from my own, it is a much more relaxed culture and a fantastic escape from daily US living.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The school system in New Zealand is very different from that in the US. The only problem I had was when choosing classes, because the levels (100, 200, 300 etc) did not connote the same difficulty as they do in the US, they are actually much harder. Students in New Zealand go to college for their specific major, and do not take many other core classes or "gen ed" requirements. They generally only take 3 courses at once and the workload is significantly less than what I was used to in the US. The class sizes were much larger due to the size of the student body in comparison to my own, and this resulted in less one on one interaction with professors and a long turn around time between grading assignments. I was not a huge fan of this structure, but one of my classes was of a size I was used to and I received an A in the course and loved it. The credit transfers are also different from my home university. Whereas I take 5 courses weighed at 3 credits each, my New Zealand institution weighted each class as 4.5 credits. This was beneficial in the sense that I did not need to take as many classes in order to fulfil my full time student status at home.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Both Arcadia and the University of Otago were very helpful in providing a fluid transition from US living and educational life to NZ living and educational life. The Arcadia staff members were some of the most caring, knowledgeable and helpful individuals I have ever met. They should be kept forever!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

Grocery shopping was a little more expensive than in the US on certain items, but balanced out for the most part. Eating out in NZ is incredibly expensive for sit down restaurants, but more affordable for take away or fast food options. Cooking at home with flatmates can be a great bonding experience and will save you a lot of money if you can split food!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Arcadia fostered a very "get to know everyone" environment which was really helpful during orientation. They understood that everyone was in the same position and didn't know many other people in the program, if they knew anyone at all, and orientation was a great way to build friendships that lasted throughout the entire semester. They included fantastic weekend trips and activities that helped us share in experiencing all that New Zealand had to offer. Outside of the program was fantastic as well. I was hoping to meet and form friendships with more NZ locals, but they are very reserved in making friends with international students, because they know we will be leaving at the end of it. There were a TON of american students which was frustrating in the beginning but nice in the end. I made friendships there that I was able to take home, and we can talk about shared experiences. Overall it was the best experience of my life thusfar.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I felt very safe in NZ and the student health care that is provided is quite good. They offer 100% reimbursement for most doctor visits and prescriptions. Although they refused to cover treatment for my back pain, the other visits I had went very well and I was reimbursed in full.

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


* 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)

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The country
  • Meeting new people
  • The Arcadia staff
* What could be improved?
  • Bryant University's helpfulness
  • Better housing, not everyone was placed in nice flats
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Someone that is outgoing and adventurous would be best suited for this position. If you want to stay inside or party your life away, go somewhere else. Kiwis do their fair share of partying on campus, but there is SO much of the country worth seeing and 5 months is not even enough time to see it all, so every second you have should be spent planning your next adventure. You will not regret it, and I would drop everything to go back in a heartbeat.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Gender and the Media

Course Department:
Instructor: Annabell , Gabby Hein
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I LOVED this course. It was a small class, taught in a very similar fashion to what I was used to at home. Both the main professor (Annabell) and her assistant professor (Gabby) were incredibly knowledgeable and provided relevant and interesting materials for study. I received an A in the class which reflects my strong level of interest and engagement.
Credit Transfer Issues: