My Time in Middle Earth (aka New Zealand) Past Review

By (ENGINEERING., Trinity University) for

IFSA: Christchurch - University of Canterbury

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My study abroad experience was most definitely worthwhile! All I want to do now is travel and experience other cultures.

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

As I said above, I found it very difficult to pass up exploring New Zealand and making new friends to go to class. I enjoyed all of my classes and would learn a lot when I would go, but because of the grading structure it was easy to get by without going. I should have focused more on my academics but while I was there all I wanted to do was play and have fun. The workload is significantly less than it is here, even in my engineering class. However, I do feel prepared to take the following class and I do not feel like I will be behind my classmates who stayed at Trinity.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I received emails from my host university reminding me to register for classes and check-in emails about how the semester was going.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was bummed when I found out I was living with all Americans, but I tried to make the best out of my situation and ended up loving it anyway. I still was able to interact with NZ students in clubs and classes but I would always travel with other American students. At first it bothered me but they ended up being great travel buddies and are still some of my best friends now.

* Food:

I was focused on eating as cheaply as I could, so rice and pasta and PB and J's got very old very fast. If you do have to cook for yourself while you are abroad, I would suggest practicing before you go and figuring out a few meals that are cheap and that you love.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The program events were so much fun and a great way to get out and do things I probably wouldn't have done on my own, like quad biking and white water rafting in glacial melt water.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I never experienced any health issues abroad and I always felt safe from physical violence. Theft is common in NZ and I had a few friends that had a lot of important things stolen. I would suggest keep everything valuable, especially your passport, in a safe place.

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)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Be prepared to spend more money than you plan to spend. Even though the cost of the university and flight to your host country might be less than your home university, most of your money will be spent on traveling. I never expected to spend so much on traveling, and I was trying to travel as cheaply as I could. If you want to get out and explore your country and see all that it has to offer, plan your budget accordingly.


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
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

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  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

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  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Never pass up an opportunity that you have to go do something that you want to do. Realize that you are only there for a short time and before you know it, it will be time to come home, so see as much of your host country as you can!