Frontiers Abroad- Earth System Science: Experiencing the Wonders of New Zealand from Every Angle Past Review

By (Environmental Biology., Barnard College) for

Frontiers Abroad: New Zealand Earth Systems

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned independence, open-mindedness, and confidence in myself. I learned how to look in the world in the eyes of a Kiwi, which really allowed me to view things in perspective. I gained great field an lab skills and a knowledge of the ecology and geology of New Zealand. I met amazing people of all backgrounds.

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.

The workload typically consisted of periods of extremely high amounts of work surrounded by periods where little work is due, so it is easy to get caught with all of your work due at once. Make sure to spread out your work on larger projects. The New Zealand educational system is focused more on career application rather than straight content, which can contrast with traditional liberal arts college education.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The faculty on the program consisted of both New Zealander and American professors. They knew a lot about American higher education and New Zealand. The program had great support services and did a good job communicating with students and parents if there were ever any issues. The small size of the program allowed for personal attention. At some points, certain aspects of the program could be disorganized, but this was always due to circumstances beyond the programs control and the program quickly would adapt in these situations.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Housing at Auckland consisted of a students apartment with five American study abroad students. You could choose to be housed with or without other students from your program. The apartment had separate bedrooms with a nice common room and full kitchen. It was overall a nice place to stay, and only a couple blocks from campus. During field camp, we stayed in various types of accommodation, including dormitories, cabins, and campsites.

* Food:

I am vegetarian and there was always a decent vegetarian option. Some food during field camp was better than others. If you eat meat, but prefer not to eat meat at every meal, I would suggest signing up for vegetarian meals. The best food, though, was cooked for us by our program director, Dan!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I enjoyed going to festivals, like the Pasifika Festival and White Night- a night of free cultural activities throughout town. Auckland has a vibrant night life. During field camp we had some special trips and events, like white water rafting, tours of kiwifruit farms, camping, etc. Many of my classes had field trips. The university had heaps of clubs you could join and go on trips with. Most of the social/non-academic parts of the program, however, need to be self-motivated.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Auckland was overall very safe and my program took care to make sure we were always taken care of, physically and emotionally. Whenever students fell ill, the program made sure they received medical assistance. Half of my program attended the University of Canterbury for the semester. There was a serious earthquake here at the beginning of the semester. The program responded quickly and efficiently. All students were safe and accounted for and transferred to the University of Auckland for the remainder of the semester.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? The amount of money could vary a lot depending on where you buy food and how often you go out for food. Food was generally quite expensive and I usually spent over a hundred New Zealand dollars after each visit to the grocery store, which occurred every couple of weeks. Restaurant prices are comparable to those in the United States.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Make sure you have money for travel! You and your friends will often want to travel to other parts of the country on the weekends. Renting cars can be cheap, splitting the 100 or so New Zealand dollars between those you are traveling with. Hostels cost about $20 a night most places, though camp sites can be found for much cheaper.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

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  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

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  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

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A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't join this program if you don't like hiking, camping, swimming, beaches, mountains, rocks, adventure or science. If you love these things, you will have a great time! The type of students that would benefit the most from this program are self-motivated students in an environmental science/geology/ecology related major with a love of the outdoors.