Adventures and Class is Easier than at Home Past Review

By (Trinity University) - abroad from 02/15/2016 to 06/27/2016 with

IFSA: Christchurch - University of Canterbury

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Part of it was like an amazing 6 month vacation where there was just plenty of exploring and awesome things to do. The abroad experience comes from the time actually living there and interacting with the society. It was interesting to look at my home county through the eyes of outsiders and compare the priorities and lifestyle of one place to another. I guess I never really considered other ways to live, because I only really knew of one my whole life and assumed most of the rest of the world lived that way as well. Being abroad exposed me to an entire country with different priorities and attitudes to how they approach life.

Review Photos

IFSA-Butler: Christchurch - University of Canterbury Photo IFSA-Butler: Christchurch - University of Canterbury Photo IFSA-Butler: Christchurch - University of Canterbury Photo IFSA-Butler: Christchurch - University of Canterbury Photo IFSA-Butler: Christchurch - University of Canterbury Photo

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.

Classes were definitely easier than back home, but with less individual attention and ensuring I would know the material. I don't feel that I was held accountable to the same level of knowledge as my home university, but it was definitely more on me to make sure I knew what was required.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

IFSA Butler is great. Didn't need much from them, but they were always accessible, friendly, and helpful when I did.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Ilam Apartments are pretty decent. My bed was outrageously squeaky but you had your own room with a single bed, desk, shelves, hang rod, and heater (important for the winter months). Bathroom, kitchen, and sitting space is shared so their cleanliness and vibe is kind of luck of the draw on what are mostly random roommates. They had good social events (went to watch Game of Thrones every Monday in the common area with provided snacks and drinks). Staff is fairly helpful.

* Food:

Decent on campus dining options ($2 rice and noodles for dayzzz) but I saved money on food by cooking for myself. There's a grocery store a 10 minute walk from Ilam, but I had a car (Affordable Rentals, across the street from Ilam Apartments, great deals). Check out Dubba Dubba in the Bush Inn shopping center, delectable and not too expensive (think Mediterranean Chipotle). Lots of small asian restaurants that are good for group dinners (many of which you can bring bottles of wine for a corkage fee). Not a dining mecca by any means, but there's plenty of options.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

If you speak english, it's already pretty easy, though I was surprised on how many times I was confused when a speaking to a person in my native language. This one is kind of on you. I played for the University Football (soccer) Team which was an easy way to integrate myself. If you go hiking and exploring, you'll find a bunch of people doing the same (Europeans galore) but your best bet if you want Kiwi culture is probably checking out Clubs day early on and getting involved through that.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

ACC! If you get hurt doing just about anything, they have you covered. I had a couple injuries from playing that needed attending to that turned out dirt cheap because of ACC. There's also a health center on campus that's reasonably well staffed and priced.

* Safety:

Kiwiland is one of the least intimidating places I've been in my entire life. City doesn't feel big or menacing, and pretty much everyone here is kind, if not a bit snarky but they all mean well.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

IFSA did a great job. Don't know how much money I paid for what I got, but the convenience and definite group of people to associate yourself with is worth it.


* 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)

This one's on you again. If you want to save money, easiest way is on food. You can feed yourself cooking cheap meals for >$50 a week easy. Most of the best things to do in NZ are free minus maybe the campsite fee and gas money. Split a rental/gas money with 4 friends and that goes down. You can blow a lot of money in Dunedin and Queenstown on food/activities, so have a couple must does in mind and save for those before you come.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $75 average
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Cook your own food. Be friends with people and take trips with them to save on gas and accommodation. Check out TradeMe for pretty much anything you need to buy (think Kiwi craigslist/ebay). If you can find the student/housing page (Ilam Apartments Community group for those at UC) on FB towards the end of the term before you go, you might be able to work out some ridiculously cheap deals on things people can't bring home (surfboards, tents, longboards).


* 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
  • Americans
  • International Students
* 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?
  • The people I met through it
  • The "free" food I paid for in the program fees
* What could be improved?
  • The local excursion
  • Offering or direction to tutoring on campus
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Do all your hiking when it's warm, some trails close down in winter months or become unreasonable to do.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
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.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Fluid Mechanics

Course Department: Mechanical Engineering
Instructor: Becker
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Good professor, entertaining, homework keeps you on top of the material. Gives you what you need to succeed. It's a big class but no one goes to office hours, so you can get help directly from the prof if you need to.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Maori Society

Course Department: Maori Studies
Instructor: Phil
Instruction Language: Englsih
Comments: Great introduction to Maori life and very relevant to New Zealand. I would see places we had studied during my travels and it really enhanced my experience. Really easy course load as well. Easy A, but you learn a lot.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Children's Literature and Film

Course Department: English
Instructor: Anne Smith
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Ridiculously easy, but quite a let down for the potential for the course. Homework is watching children's films (Coraline, Toy Story, Hunger Games, etc) and maybe reading a related article or two for two essays throughout the entire term. Final was another essay, but in class. Maybe better for bigger film buffs than myself, but I found the lectures boring, and not at all necessary to attend.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Partial Differential Equations

Course Department: Mathematics
Instructor: Moyers, Hickman
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Very hard, but it will be wherever you take it. I needed it for my degree and was pleased to find a small class size (About 20) when all my other classes at UC were 50+. The profs are both knowledgeable and available during office hours. Grade is two midterms and one final, and the course was slightly curved. Go to office hours every week and you'll be fine. If you're looking to take less work while abroad and can take this course another term, know that this course required by far the most effort out of all my classes at UC.
Credit Transfer Issues: