So Glad I took the Leap Past Review

By (English, Anonymous University) - abroad from 02/20/2015 to 06/30/2015 with

IES Abroad: Auckland Direct Enrollment - University Of Auckland

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The decision to study abroad was, for me, sort of an agonizing decision. I'm sure lots of people decide when and where they're going to study abroad before they even pick their college, but in my case, I barely got my forms submitted in time because I was debating it for so long. Part of the issue for me is that I'm an athlete (I run track and cross country), so that going abroad would mean missing a season of track. The other factor was something I'm sure a lot of people struggle with in making this decision: I didn't want to go all the way back to square one and feel like a freshman again for a semester, not knowing the area, not knowing the university, and most of all, not knowing any people. The prospect of leaving the comfort zone I'd built around myself at Ithaca College, and missing what had the potential to be a great track season almost overcame my strong desire to experience a different life for a while, to explore the world and myself. But it didn't. Pretty suddenly, it just sort of became clear to me that this was an opportunity I couldn't let just float on by into the land of what-if. I decided to go to New Zealand, and I am so extremely grateful to my past-self for finally reaching that decision. New Zealand is an incredible place. Virtually any town you visit, whether it's the tourist havens of Queenstown and Rotorua, or the tiny town of Glenorchy (I don't know if there's a single stoplight in that place), there is something amazing nearby. In places like Queenstown, it's rather obvious (when you fly in, the airplanes land in a freaking valley between giant mountains, and you're never far from them in town). But even a metropolis (for New Zealand anyway) like Auckland has beaches within a short run or bus ride, and the mighty beachside cliffs of the Waitakere Ranges and even more beautiful beaches like Piha and Whatipu within a 35 minute drive. Similarly, in the other big town, Christchurch, the awe-inspiring Port Hills are a $3.50 bus ride away. There is so much to see. My best advice would be to join the tramping club (that's what they call hiking in NZ) - they organize trips all across the country and allow you to see places it might be hard to get to on your own. If you are a person who can appreciate the beauty of this world, New Zealand is seriously an ocean of possibilities. There's so much more to say, and I could go on forever, but I think the most important thing is that I'm so glad I took the leap.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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)


* 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
* 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?
  • location
  • lots of great opportunites provided by Andrew, program leader
* What could be improved?
  • perhaps more ways of integrating with people outside the IES program
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known more about the logistics of traveling before going, because I did a lot of it. But wasn't too hard to learn on the go.

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.