Jesus Lives in Christchurch! Past Review

By (Engineering Science and Physics, Trinity University) for

IFSA: Christchurch - University of Canterbury

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
YES! I got to experience an amazing country! I also got to experience what it's like to attend a large university. I also got to know people from lots of different countries while travelling. I learned to cook in the flats and I learned a lot about tramping. I enjoyed taking classes outside of engineering and learning about different cultures both in and outside of classes. I have also become more adaptable and laid back.

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.

I feel that a larger workload would have helped me to learn more in class, but I think I learned a lot outside of the classroom because I had lots of free time. I really enjoyed my lecturer for my Engineering course because he would preform an experiment during each class to demonstrate the concepts we were learning about. There is also a big difference in grading in New Zealand. They grade on a much looser scale where 50% is passing. I think this makes classes with exact numerical answers easy to obtain a good mark in, but since things like essays are still subjective, grading for those is often similar to the U.S. system. Also, classes are very large at Canterbury partly because there is no limit on the number of students in a class. They just try to find a lecture hall to fit the number of students.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Kate is awesome! I liked that we had someone we could talk to at the University because lots of other programs don't. Also, the weekly meetings with baked goods were amazing. :)

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I liked the location of the flats and they were nice and new. I liked that each person got their own room, which was pretty spacious. It would be nice if we had a bigger fridge and if there was an actual oven in the flat because it limited our cooking options. However, because they are pretty expensive, Kiwi students don't live in the flats at Ilam Village. I wish I could have lived with some Kiwis or international students from other countries because I felt like I was always surrounded by Americans.

* Food:

New Zealand is not known for its food and I am not known for my cooking skills, but I ate pretty well. Also, it is 100% necessary for anyone who visits New Zealand to try Cyclops frozen yogurt (I recommend mango). :)

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The trips organised by the program were a lot of fun. The only issue I really had with them was that they would always be on a Saturday, then we couldn't leave town that weekend if we wanted to participate in the event.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I felt safe pretty much all of the time in New Zealand. I sprained my knee in the middle of the semester and I got free check ups at the campus health services. I didn't need any special vaccines or anything either.

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 probably spent about 50NZD on food and personal expenses per week when I wasn't travelling.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? It costs lots of money to travel and do tours and such. That is where most of your money will go. If you want to be cheap, do things like tramping and rent a car with a lot of people.


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

  • Apartment
  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Try to get more involved with Kiwi students. Although you will want to travel a lot, and other international students are going to be more willing to travel with you, try to get involved with the students on campus. Also, give yourself lots of time when travelling to get around and see things that you might not have planned.