Sweet as New Zealand Past Review

By (Biology and Environmental Studies, Brandeis University) - abroad from 07/04/2012 to 11/17/2012 with

Arcadia: Wellington - Victoria University of Wellington

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Being abroad teaches you that no matter who they are or where they are from, all people have a lot in common and enjoy the simple pleasures in life. It also teaches you independence and gives you confidence in new situations. New Zealand gave me a real love of adventure and forced me to do things I never thought I would.

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.

Classes at Victoria University of Wellington were definitely easier than what I was used to. There were fewer assignments, expectations were lower, and the grading scale was very favorable (75% and above is an A). However, the final exams tend to count towards more of the semester grade.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Arcadia's staff in New Zealand are perhaps the most fabulous people on earth. Jane, Kate, and Alex were warm, supportive, caring, and insanely hilarious. I couldn't have asked for a better bunch of Kiwis!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Everton is a complex of student flats/apartments. They remind me of suites with 5 single rooms, a bathroom, and a kitchen. It had everything I need and was comfortable enough. New Zealand has a problem with leaky buildings and my flat was really cold and damp. My flatmates and I became good friends.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I lived right in the CBD or center of Wellington and felt very connected to the city.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

New Zealand is honestly the safest country. There are no guns, no poisonous animals, and typically nothing bad ever happens there. The only thing to be aware of is natural disasters, such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, which are very common.

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)

Food is slightly more expensive in New Zealand, but there is definitely a difference in quality. It is very fresh. It is easy to find budget-friendly places to eat or stay in NZ, as there are a lot of foreign backpackers travelling through. Also, for entertainment most people tend to get outside and enjoy nature (hiking, kayaking, camping etc...), which is of minimal cost.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? just about $100 NZD (about $85 US dollars)
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Eat meals at home during the week and enjoy local restaurants on the weekends. Plan trips around the country ahead, as you can usually find really cheap deals on one of the two airlines in New Zealand.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local 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?
  • people
  • sights (NZ is beautiful)
* What could be improved?
  • cold dorms
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It rains a lot and Wellington is super windy. Be prepared clothing wise. Don't take too much- take just enough nice clothes and a few outfits for traveling/doing outdoorsy things. Also, Don't be afraid to talk to new types of people or try new things. Remember that the most important thing to do while in New Zealand is to smile

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.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Marine Biology

Course Department: Biology
Instruction Language:
Comments: The course was ok. Material was interesting but the lectures and exams reminded me of high school. The laboratory was not stressful, but gave good hands-on experience with marine organisms from local bodies of water.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Intro to Maori Society and Culture

Course Department: Maori Studies
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Very interesting to learn about Maori people and culture, as they are an important part of life in New Zealand. It gave me a better understanding about New Zealand's history and made me feel more aware of different references and events. The coursework was almost too easy, but I definitely got a lot out of it. Overall, I really enjoyed it.
Credit Transfer Issues: