I'm gonna live here one day June 18, 2016

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 02/11/2016 to 06/23/2016 with

IFSA: Dunedin - University of Otago

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
SO worthwhile. I learned that life doesn't have to be stressful. I lived a very nature-centered life here, which is sooo different than back home. I was given the opportunity to hike incredible mountains to see insane views that aren't easily accessible which is such a rewarding feeling. I felt like a pause button had been pressed on my life simply for me to live in the moment and not stress about the future.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I took three 100-level classes and one 300-level class. The 100-level classes were all do-able, but the 300-level was definitely difficult!!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved my flatmates! We lived really well together. Take the housing form seriously because it could make or break your entire semester.

* Food:

This was one of the most different things for me - I'm used to a dining hall but here I had to cook and prepare all my meals. I thought it would lead my to eat healthier but I found myself buying a lot of easy frozen meals :( But then again I'm not much of a chef.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Weirdly enough, I feel like I met more americans than kiwis while I was here. Americans kind of flock to each other like magnets, so I didn't meet as many kiwis as I would have liked :(

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Campus Watch is walks around the campus and surrounding streets every night once it becomes dark out which is an awesome thing! It makes me feel safer to walk home at night and I know I can go to them with any issues.

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

I don't know why but I didn't connect with very many people from my program which negatively affected my overall experience. But that definitely wasn't the program's fault! IFSA planned a lot of awesome events and I felt very taken care of. But if I knew I wasn't going to connect with anyone I would have picked a different program.


* 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)

Things aren't too expensive if you know where to buy them. Go to the farmers market for fruit, veggies, and meats instead of the grocery store. It will be cheaper and probably be better quality. Weekend trips are where most of my money went, renting cars got expensive especially when you add gas and food and activities and stuff.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 80 per week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? budget well! know how much you have to spend before going. ALSO get a credit card with zero transaction fee, it will save you loads.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
* 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?
  • excursions
  • weekly check ins
* What could be improved?
  • optional trips to save money instead of everything being paid for no matter if you decide to go or not
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I should have packed better for winter...

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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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.