An Unforgetable Journey to Middle Earth! Past Review

By (Sociology and Anthropology, Arcadia University) - abroad from 07/02/2015 to 11/14/2015 with

Arcadia: Wellington - Victoria University of Wellington

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I can't really explain the multitude of experiences I gained while abroad, but I can say that I have changed greatly since coming back. While abroad I was exposed to new ideas, I met amazing people from around the world with different perspectives that challenged, yet enlightened me! Also, I finally had the chance to live in a flat away from my parents, which has given me so much more confidence as an adult. I want to write so much more, but it would take up pages! Oh, and don't worry about forgetting your experience cause the memories will stay with you for a life time. Your gonna start dreaming of leaving America like I am, since the rest of the world has so much more to offer.

Review Photos

Arcadia: Wellington - Victoria University of Wellington Photo Arcadia: Wellington - Victoria University of Wellington Photo Arcadia: Wellington - Victoria University of Wellington Photo Arcadia: Wellington - Victoria University of Wellington Photo Arcadia: Wellington - Victoria University of Wellington Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The classes at Victoria University are extremely interesting, but they are very rigorous! It was difficult for me and my fellow Americans to get used to the course work, which revolves around writing many research papers. For many of the assignments you must do your own research and it was far more challenging then anything I have done in the U.S.. The professors however are extremely friendly and love to help international students. Their hours of availability can be a little difficult, but a quick email usually does the trick. Also, a huge part of Uni in New Zealand has to do with going to tutorials! It's the best way to meet your classmates, and you can ask loads of questions about the material reviewed in class.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Kate and Jane are amazing! They are some of the most helpful and kind people I have ever met in my whole life. Words can't describe how awesome they are, and they provided us with loads of opportunities to experience kiwi culture. The information Kate and Jane give you too is far more useful then the info you get at the orientation run by the University. Also, get to know your student-program mentor! My program had the lovely Laura, and she gave us loads of information from which grocery stores to go to, too which clubs/bars to visit.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Okay, so here's the hard part about living in New Zealand and it's called no central heating or cooling :P I lived in Everton Hall a nice flatting community for international and Kiwi students, but it did have its draw-backs. For one, if you come during winter bring all the warm clothes you can find, and bring lots of blankets! I forgot that New Zealand was so close to Antarctica and didn't bring much in terms of warm things. So, when school started I was dying of cold! The heaters they provide don't do much and waste a lot of energy, which will raise your energy bill. I swear your gonna be roughin it for the first few months until October. I was wearing probably two layers of clothes inside my flat. Also, the internet at Everton is pricey at 40 New Zealand dollars a month, and it's not that good. But, the good thing about Everton hall is how close it is to campus and Wellingtons main CBD. Also, the staff at Everton are super cool, and really nice! Basically if you decide to go to Victoria University in Winter/Spring (Trimester 2) bring warm things and I hope you love rain and lots of cool wind ;) But, once spring comes the city will heat up and you'll only need a t-shirt and shorts! Also, try to stay for summer cause I hear its amazing, but most international students leave before then.

* Food:

Wellington doesn't really have anything that great when it comes to eating food. I actually think New Zealand food is basically English food, but I'll leave that up to you guys to decide :) Also, eating out in New Zealand and drinking alcohol is super expensive! Before you know it your money vanishes, so I recommend that you guys go to this lovely organic market that happens every Sunday by Te Papa. The food there is way cheaper then the stuff you buy at the grocery store. Quick tips: Organic market for vegetables and fruit, regular grocery store for meat and pasta (all meat is expensive, so look for deals). Try to limit how many times you go out, cause you need the cash to travel New Zealand :D

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

So, I gave it a four cause for me at least I met a lot of kiwi's (New Zealanders), but many of the Americans in my program didn't. Kiwi's are super nice, and love American culture, but they are elusive! In lecture you can't really talk, so use tutorials to meet kiwi's. Also many Americans get sucked into the international scene, since so many other nationalities go to Victoria as well. Then they end up spending more time with them than meeting Kiwi's. But, international students are really cool, so don't pass that up either. I recommend joining clubs, cause that's how I met most of my kiwi friends. Indoor soccer is really popular, and so is kayaking club! Oh, be careful of heavy drinking cause it's basically sport in New Zealand. You'll probably become and alcoholic like me after the program finishes :P Fun fact New Zealanders wear mostly black, white, gray , and brown for clothing colors. Plus, they're super pale. I stood out a lot when I wore a blue shirt, and light pants. Also I'm very tan, but I think that difference attracted a lot of them to me, cause they wanted to meet someone different. Best advise I can give you is come in with an open heart, and don't be afraid to say hello! Trust me they're gonna love you :)

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The health care in New Zealand is great! The insurance that Arcadia provides you covers many things. I actually had to go to the hospital after a night of drinking with my Kiwi flatmates cause I got drunk under the table. But, the ambulance got to me quickly, and it didn't cost me anything to ride the ambulance. But, the insurance doesn't cover alcohol related injuries, so I had to pay 394 New Zealand dollars for the treatment. Apart from that a friend of mine broke her leg in New Zealand and she had it fully covered under the insurance. Also, the health care is so much cheaper than in America, but medications do cost a little.

* Safety:

New Zealand is by far the safest country I have ever gone to! The city had officers patrolling on foot down Courtney Place, when everyone was clubbing to make sure everyone was safe. The police are super helpful, and really talkative. However, after a certain time drunkards come out, and may cause fights. So, be wary of that one fact, but other than that you'll be totally safe.

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

Kate, and Jane made this adventure of a life time unforgettable, and the support Arcadia gave me while over there was amazing. They made you feel at home in a strange place, and they were always willing to listen to you when you felt home sick.


* 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)

The U.S. Dollar was extremely strong at the time I went to New Zealand, but don't let this fool you. At the least you need 200 New Zealand dollars to survive. Even more if you want to party a lot, or eat out a lot. If you are good a keeping to a budget then you should be okay, but everything cost money over there.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 150-250 New Zealand dollars
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Use the farmers market as much as you can for fruits and vegetables. Try not to spend everything on alcohol and meat, since both are pricey. When traveling buy your ticket South early, since it's cheaper. Also plan adventures with friends, so you can cut costs down.


* 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
* 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?
  • Well Organized
  • Cross-Cultural Exposure
  • Adventurous
* What could be improved?
  • Community Building
  • Up to Date Information
  • More Activites
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish they told us that it would be freezing in winter, but that was bad judgement on my part. Also I wish they gave us a guide detailing must see places in New Zealand, and they should probably re-write the information on how much daily expenses are in New Zealand.

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 Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.