New Zealand: Amazing experience in a beautiful country! Past Review

By (Communications and Art History, Trinity University) - abroad from 02/05/2013 to 06/20/2013 with

IFSA: Dunedin - University of Otago

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I am so lucky to have gone abroad. I feel like I have grown so much, gone on so many different adventures, and met so many awesome people that I hope to keep in touch with in the future. Going abroad has given me the courage to go out and try new things and move to new places, especially as the end of college is approaching and I don't know what the future holds!

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.

The classes are not mandatory, so it is up to you to make the most of your academic experience abroad. I attended most of my classes and learned a lot. Taking 3 classes (which equated to more 13.5 US credits) allowed me to focus more on the subjects I was learning. However, each class only had 3 assignments, with the final exam heavily weighted, so you have to keep up enough to be able to pass your assignments, and going to the classes and tutorials helps a lot!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The IFSA staff at Otago was wonderful. She answered emails promptly, set up weekly meetings with "snacks", texted us to check up if something was wrong, and organized fun group events throughout the semester.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved my location and my roomates. The flat I lived in was on a side-street, not on one of the main party streets so I was nearby the center of social life, but not in the middle of it. My house was a short walk from school too, which made it easy to run home. My only complaint is that the flat needed way better insulation- it was so cold in winter months!

* Food:

Food in general was alright, very expensive for its quality. However NZ does dessert and coffee right. Cafe culture is a big deal over there and its not surprising to see people holding giant ice cream cones (the cheapest thing there!) during the cold winter months.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Our program coordinator scheduled events such as visiting a Marae, volunteering at a bird sanctuary, and going on a weekend trip to help us get out and explore NZ. I went on a bunch of trips with friends from my program and got to see a good bit of NZ. Going to school with kiwis helped a lot, I liked learning with them. However, I wish I would have met more kiwi students!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Trinity gives you insurance that works fine abroad. I went to health services for some antibiotics one day and had no problem getting a prescription at the local pharmacy.

* Safety:

I felt extremely safe walking around Dunedin at night. It is a student based city, so there are typically people walking around, especially late at night.

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)

NZ is expensive, especially if you want to travel. I had to pay for groceries and weekend trips so I usually spent about $150-$200 a week depending on what I was doing. Power was also something that had to be paid for- IFSA gives you $400 to help that out, but it gets cold so you might have to chip in for power yourself.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100-$150
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Cook- eating out is expensive. Also, set aside money if you want to do a big event like skydiving, so you can budget around it. Traveling is pricy but worth it.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • On site support
  • Great kids
  • Group activities
* What could be improved?
  • pre-abroad support
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Make sure to keep an open mind within reason and try new things so you don't regret missing them when you get back to the states.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'