New Zealand, A Wonderful World Away! Past Review

By (Brain & Cognitive Science, University of Rochester) for

IES Abroad: Auckland Direct Enrollment - University Of Auckland

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained more cultural awareness and was able to experience how the different values of a culture have a large impact on how that culture functions (are they more communal or individualistic?). Not only about that of New Zealand, and the Cook Islands, but also of American culture. I had an amazing 4 months and have a greater appreciation for the things I missed from America as well as what I now miss about New Zealand (particularly walking barefoot). I've gained a lot travel experience and am no longer ashamed to ask for directions, help, or advice. I've also gained a lot of amazing memories from my travel with my friends; we often just had a rough itinerary, pb & sandwiches, and minimal showers but always had a great time. My experience abroad has influenced my future plans in the way that I just want to travel to even more places now! I love hearing stories of other places people have gone and I just add them to the places I want visit next.

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.

The workload during the semester seemed to be fairly less then at my home university. However, much more of your grade is weighted upon your final exam. The grading system had "A" from 80-100, and then all the other letters were increments of 10. However, it was more rare that professors would give grades in the 90s. Teaching was predominantly lecture style but there are also tutorials/labs for each class in which you may do anything from discussion, review, practice problems, or demonstrations. The final exams process is very stringent. They are spread out over three weeks, the classrooms for the exams are posted until the night before, you must present your ID and its usually checked twice throughout the exam, there is a 15 minute period in which you can only read the exam, and there is a large (around $75 or $100) fine if your cell phone goes off or is on your person.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I really loved our Program Director. We met with her several times throughout the program and she was helpful when I went to her with questions. I also liked that she treated us like adults- she would give us guidance,or information, but she wasn't going to do everything for us. Also, the orientation and preparing to go home sessions were helpful to adjusting to being abroad and preparing for the adjustments we would have to make when we got home. They were also nice ways to properly begin and end our program with the students and director of our group.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My dorm was in close proximity to my classes and about a 10 minute walk from downtown. IES arranged housing for the students on our program. Sheets, a pillow, and a comforter were provided. The standard occupancy was singles for students on our program- it was rare for campus housing to have doubles. My dorm had a meal plan included. The food wasn't always the greatest, but for only living there for a semester it wasn't too bad.

* Food:

My dorm had a meal plan included. The food wasn't always the greatest, but for only living there for a semester it wasn't too bad.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I loved experiencing a Powhiri ceremony and staying on a Marae. The best way to learn about another culture is to experience it. Also, we had a sponsored field trip to Rarotonga, Cook Islands which was amazing. Not only is it a beautiful place but we got to interact and learn from the natives. We had sessions we had to attend on subjects like the Economics of the Cook Islands and Whale Conservation in addition to activities like snorkeling and learning to husk coconuts.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I didn't need any healthcare while abroad. I didn't have any safety issues but definitely don't walk around by yourself at night. I didn't need any special vaccines for my program.

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? I had a meal plan so I tried to not spend money on food. Maybe $5 a week, if I wanted candy or a snack. I didn't really have weekly expenses, unless I ran out of shampoo or something. I spent a fair amount when I got there buying toiletries, a cell phone, and other things I would need, like towels. Most of money was spent on attractions (ex.Sky Tower) or trips.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? With my stay at International House, my parents received a separate bill of around $1000 for the meal plan later in the semester. We weren't really expecting it because missed the small print that said if you had the meal plan you would have to pay additional for it and would be billed later.


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

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

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  • International Students
  • Local Students
  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The structure, they gave you guidance and planned some trips but let you figure out the best way to spend your time abroad.
* What could be improved?
  • Food, but that is controlled by the University, not the study abroad program.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Be prepared for a beautiful country and some of the nicest people! Take advantage of all the stuff Auckland has to offer but also take time to travel to the rest of the country. New Zealand is particularly a great place to go for students that love the outdoors, adventure sports, and dare I say- Lord of the Rings. There are so many things to do, to name a few, you can climb massive sand dunes on 90 mile beach, go hiking (its called "tramping" in NZ)nearly anywhere, relax in the hot springs of Rotorua, visit the set of Hobbiton in Matamata, seal watch in Kaikoura, hike through one of the glaciers on the south island, and go bungy jumping in Queenstown- where it was invented!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Kapa Haka

Course Department: Maori 190
Instructor: Angie Smith
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The course involved learning songs in Maori as well as the actions to the song. Additionally, the men learned how to do the Haka and the women learn the Poi. I enjoyed the class because it was a direct way to learn about the Maori culture. The class was predominantly American students on exchange and then there were a few other foreign students on exchange, Maori studies students, and Dance studies students. The only problem with this class was the way we were graded on our assessments. We weren't given the individual feedback about our performances we were supposed to but the grading was still tough.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Music Technology

Course Department: Music 109
Instructor: Jason Hole
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I really enjoyed this class particularly because there is no class like this offered at my home university. We learned how to use Logic and Pro Tools which are two audio editing/production software programs. We had two projects, one creating a song in Logic and another involved recording material and then mixing it in one of the programs. Also, the professor works in a recording studio so he had a lot of work experience to supplement what he was teaching in the class. The course was an introductory course so they expect you to have no-little knowledge of the programs so the class is really manageable!
Credit Transfer Issues: