New Zealand: A Sweet As Experience Past Review


IFSA: Dunedin - University of Otago

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes. I loved it. I traveled a lot, made great friends, and enjoyed learning there. It was a great balance of work, play, and travel.

Review Photos

IFSA-Butler: Dunedin - University of Otago Photo IFSA-Butler: Dunedin - University of Otago Photo

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 learned quite a bit while abroad and was able to take classes covering a range of interests. I liked learning from a different perspective. The experience of attending a large public university ten times the size of my private university at home was unique.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

There was a devastating Earthquake in Christchurch at the very beginning of the semester. IFSA-Butler moved those students to Otago and communicated well with both us and our parents to provide information. They had great support services and exceeded my expectations. I enjoyed the organized orientation, culture nights, and adventure trip.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I live on Castle Street, which is an infamous student street known for its partying. I did feel safe there though and enjoyed living in such a student atmosphere. I rented a bedding package through Uni flats. I lived with four other people. One was a Kiwi host and the others were from Hong Kong, Scotland, and Seattle.

* Food:

Food was alright. Living on a budget and expensive to buy groceries. Rarely ate out.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We went to the Speights Brewery, Speights Ale House, saw a New Zealand movie, went on an overnight adventure trip to Fiordland, had a volunteering day trip, amongst other events planned. IFSA-Butler did a nice job of planning events.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Large student university. I felt safe there. I didn't have an experience with healthcare. No vaccines.

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? $100 - $150
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Gas is quite expensive there. About $90 to fill up a tank of gas, so make sure to fill up your car with passengers so you can easily split the cost.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

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  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

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  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

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Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Molecular Biology

Course Department: Biochemistry 221
Instructor: Richard McKnight
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Very challenging class but rewarding. Final was worth 70%.
Credit Transfer Issues: None. Fulfilled cellular requirement for biology major.
Course Name/Rating:

Maori Society

Course Department: Maori 102
Instructor: Suzanne Duncan
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Easy class. Enjoyed learning about the Maori society which plays a strong role in the New Zealand culture. Felt like this course was a good unique class to take while abroad and to gain a greater understanding of the country.
Credit Transfer Issues: None. Fulfilled multicultural requirement.
Course Name/Rating:

Molecular Biology

Course Department: Biochemistry 221
Instructor: Richard McKnight
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Very challenging. Three different lecturers taught different unis. I was in class about the same as I would have been at my home university. The final was worth 70% which was huge. There was only one mid-term assessment worth 10% and 2 lab reports, each worth 10%. A number of TAs taught in lab and lab work was less one on one than at my home university.
Credit Transfer Issues: None.
Course Name/Rating:

Exercise Physiology

Course Department: Physical Education 205
Instructor: Jim Cotter
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Interesting topic. Lab reports not very challenging but exams were. Tricky multiple choice questions.
Credit Transfer Issues: Definitely recommend it if you are interested in sports medicine.
Course Name/Rating:

Sports Marketing

Course Department: Marketing 207
Instructor: John Guthrie
Instruction Language: English
Comments: My favorite class in New Zealand. Great introduction to marketing by use sport as the primary example. We learned about the contigency framework, segmentation, targeting, etc. Very interesting that the main examples were about rugby, cricket, and other sports not as common in the United States. Assignments were worthwhile and learned a lot. There was a paper on the affect of the rise of social media on sports marketing and a project to create a proposal to promote Red Bull in the Otago Region.
Credit Transfer Issues: I did have major issues with credit transfer of this class to my home institution which I believe was not justified. At a liberal arts college, I believe that we are encouraged to try learning new topics and explore. Because I had enough credits at Wellesley, even though this course was too "pre-business" so will not count for Wellesley credit, I am so thrilled that I took it. It was my favorite course and I recommend it to all others. I believe, however, that credit should have been rewarded. My friend at Bryn Mawr, another Seven Sisters college, is receiving credit for this course.