A Great way to travel around NZ and a relaxing semester August 17, 2018

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 01/16/2018 to 06/26/2018 with

Frontiers Abroad: New Zealand Earth Systems

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned more about the Maori people and their culture which was really really interesting and I think very valuable. I also got a lot of experience in field ecology.

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.

During the semester we conducted assigned research projects. however, as a student that went to Auckland University instead of Christchurch, there were significantly less projects to choose from. I did not get the project that I wanted, but nevertheless the work I was doing was helpful to the community and local hapu (Maori community). I really did enjoy field camp and the research class we had to take during the semester but I felt it was not as rigorous as the classes at my home college. It was a nice break to have a more relaxing semester.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Really beautiful housing in Auckland, Carlaw Park has spacious flats and i really enjoyed my flatmates. I had a lot of internet issues all semester but hopefully they have fixed it by now. During field camp our sleeping arrangements were pretty comfortable, during the last week when we lived in tents, having a sleeping pad was helpful.

* Food:

I mostly cooked on my own, and the Countdown is a 15 minute walk away, but there are plenty of options to eat out, especially up Parnell rise. During field camp I personally felt like I had always had enough to eat but there was a lot of people to feed so I know that some people were still hungry. If you have a dietary restriction they will provide food for you.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There were many fascinating cultural experiences that we had especially in field camp. We got to stay at the local Marae in some places and learned about the connections between Maori stories and natural disasters.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not really have any serious health issues but I felt like if I did the program coordinators could assist me and I would get help easily.

* Safety:

I felt pretty safe throughout the program and during the semester. The security measures in the Flats are good as long as you keep your flat doors locked. during field camp there were some more dangerous moments such as when we were in Kaikoura and there were at least 60mph winds but we had to wear high vis vests and no one got hurt.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

because of the limited research project choices, I did not get the experience I was looking to get. I had hoped to get a project in marine bio but was unable to. However if you are more interested in ecology, geology or culture then you will have more satisfying choices.

Finances

* 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)

Traveling in NZ can be really expensive but it is worth it to spend money to travel around this beautiful country. Auckland itself can be expensive to live in though.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent at least 100NZD a week (its less in USD) but traveling was much more expensive
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you want to save money traveling, stick to hiking and don't do more expensive activities like skydiving, rafting, scuba, or helihiking. Also for transportation, if you rent a car it can be safer than buying a car which may break down. But if you do want to buy a car, split the cost and make sure that it is in good shape to travel in as there are a lot of remote roads in NZ. Plane tickets are usually not too expensive.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local 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?
  • cultural experiences
  • field camp activites
* What could be improved?
  • integrating the geo students and the earth systems students
  • more research choices for auckland students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known more about the academic rigor of the program and that I would not get the marine biology research that I wanted

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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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.