A semester at the University of Otago, New Zealand Past Review

By (Wildlife Ecology, University of Maine at Orono) - abroad from 02/21/2014 to 06/19/2014 with

CISabroad (Center for International Studies): Dunedin - Semester on the South Island, New Zealand

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned many things, too many things to recount here. I gained confidence talking to strangers to learn about their way of life. I met people with different perspectives and backgrounds. I learned how to travel and take care of myself when out of my comfort level. I learned to be tolerate and accepting of people, even if the culture I was raised in is not so fair. Going to New Zealand was more than worth the cost, and I think my experiences will continue to help me in the future.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I'm not sure if I ever talked to the CIS person in New Zealand, but I believe I was given their contact information

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was luckily placed in a very nice flat with four girls who I got along well with.

* Food:

I never ate at the university, and no meal plans were provided. Food is expensive in NZ compared to the United States.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I was only living with one other person from New Zealand, so I interacted mostly with international students.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't have any health issues, so I don't know how the healthcare would have worked.

* Safety:

Dunedin feels very safe, and for the most part is. The culture is very friendly. Obviously you can still be in dangerous situations, especially if you are around inebriated people (mainly in North Dunedin). I never had any issues.

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, heating, and everything else is more expensive in New Zealand. So be prepared to spend more than you do at your home university.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? At least a hundred I think, often more.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Limit how much you eat out, and try to use only as much electricity and heat you actually need.


* 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?
  • Housing
  • Prepaid my electricity bill
* What could be improved?
  • Class scheduling
  • Placement with locals
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? New Zealand isn't tropical year round, especially on the South Island. The humidity and fast changing weather makes it difficult to dress appropriately for an entire day.

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.