Absolutely Incredible Past Review

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 01/06/2016 to 06/22/2016 with

Frontiers Abroad: New Zealand Earth Systems

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learnt a ton about geology (which is what I came for) that I would never have been able to learn in a classroom from field camp and I learnt a lot about New Zealand and the South Pacific which was a region I had never been to before or known much about prior to coming here.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The host university here, University of Canterbury, is less academically rigorous than Middlebury College but there is a difference in that it is structured like an English school system: less busy work during the semester and a final exam that can be worth 50-60% of your overall grade.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The individual research project required by Geol356 (a Frontiers Abroad only class) was incredible. You get to do a full research project, that could be published if you choose to pursue it, as an undergrad and gain invaluable research experience and connections with faculty.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

You live in flats with several flatmates so you end up cooking for yourself or buying food out.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Christchurch is one of the safest cities in the world and New Zealand also has a very low crime rate in general.

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

I would do this again in a heartbeat. The field camp for the first 6 weeks really teaches you a lot about how to do real geological field work and mapping that you just can't get from a classroom. I did some really interesting and unique individual research and made some great connections with professors and faculty here. I also made several really great Kiwi friends and other great American and international student friends that I will definitely see in the future.


* 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 current exchange rate between the NZD and USD makes it easier to live on a students budget but food costs can add up. It is really cheap and easy to get around and see all of the country though. Friends and I comfortably took trips every weekend to go tramping and exploring.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $150 USD
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Keep your receipts and pay in cash to better keep track of your spending as well as avoiding the surcharge for international transactions from your bank.


* 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

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • Field Camp
  • Individual Research Project
* What could be improved?
  • Communication before arriving
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known how much hiking would be involved with field camp because initially it was quite physically demanding but also a great way to get in shape.

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:

Geol356: Field-focused research methods

Course Department: Geology
Instructor: Sam Hampton, Darren Gravely
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This is the class that teaches you how to properly write a manuscript for scientific publication as well as how to design posters and give talks at a symposium. You do an individual research project with a professor here at Canterbury and gain invaluable research experience as an undergrad that you frankly do not get at Middlebury.
Credit Transfer Issues: I will be applying for this transfer credit to count as a major elective and I do not expect there to be difficulty.
Course Name/Rating:

Geol243: Depositional Environments and Stratigraphy

Course Department: Geology
Instructor: Kari Bassett, Stefan Winkler, Eric Hiatt, Catherine Reid
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course had a solid amount of work for labs each week but overall completely manageable. The real crunch is for the final exam that counts for 50% of your overall semester grade in the course but it's not as scary as it sounds.
Credit Transfer Issues: This class has been accepted as an elective transfer credit for the Geology major.
Course Name/Rating:

Maor107: Introduction to Traditional Maori Society

Course Department: Aotahi: Maori Studies
Instructor: Hamuera Kahi, Philip Borell
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class was not very academically challenging but it was incredibly interesting and a really great way to get a basic understand of Maori society both pre-European contact and how it stands in NZ today. I knew nothing about Pacific peoples before coming here and it was one of the best classes I have taken here. Especially interesting when compared with US strategies dealing with Native Americans because NZ is far better off with the Maori. I would highly recommend this class.
Credit Transfer Issues: I believe this transfers just as an interdisciplinary credit but have not yet applied for it.
Course Name/Rating:

Anta102: The Cold Continent

Course Department: Antarctic Studies
Instructor: Bryan Storey, Katja Redel, Susan Krumdieck, Peyman Zawar, Wolfgang Rack, Ursula Rack
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class was not terribly academically challenging but what a cool class. Middlebury does not offer anything looking specifically at Antarctica which is becoming so key to understand climate change and involves every scientific discipline. It's extra special because Christchurch is one of the 5 gateway cities to Antarctica and has a very long history with Antarctic exploration. There are a number of sections that focus on different aspects of Antarctica and the instructor for each section has been to Antarctica, done research there, and is considered an expert and well-known in their respective fields. Would highly recommend.
Credit Transfer Issues: I think this will transfer as an interdisciplinary credit because Middlebury doesn't have anything comparable to it.