The Best New Zealand Experience Past Review

By (Economics, Vanderbilt University) - abroad from 07/04/2015 to 11/15/2015 with

IFSA: Wellington - Victoria University of Wellington

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I grew a lot, personally. I learned to be more confidence and capable. I learned that people all over the world don't really know what they're doing either, and that's okay.

Review Photos

IFSA-Butler: Wellington - Victoria University of Wellington Photo IFSA-Butler: Wellington - Victoria University of Wellington Photo IFSA-Butler: Wellington - Victoria University of Wellington Photo IFSA-Butler: Wellington - Victoria University of Wellington Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

For me, it was an adjustment going from a small liberal arts college to a giant university to which most people commute. The large classes and generally apathetic students made it difficult to be engaged in the classroom, although I was able to get all the classes I needed for my major. Classes had few assignments, but were not entirely a joke. A good balance for study abroad, but not particularly thrilling.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

We had a IFSA coordinator on campus with us, and she met us for coffee once a week. Occasionally we would run into her around town. She was always a great resource for us and helped us with anything we needed.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

It was as good as I could expect. Very old houses with very thin walls, but an overall comfortable living situation.

* Food:

I mean, I cooked all my meals myself in the kitchen of my flat. So I'd say it got progressively better throughout the semester.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Because I lived in international housing, I did not become friends with too many kiwis. However, after a few months, I felt like I was well integrated into the university setting.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not interact with Health Care in New Zealand

* Safety:

I never felt unsafe in Wellington, whether in my home or about the city.

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

IFSA was great. They helped us get oriented and settled into our new lives, and were a constant resource if we needed. We had several planned excursions that I might not have gotten to go on myself.


* 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)

I never ate out, cooked most meals at home.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 40USD / 70 NZD
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? For me, eating out wasn't worth it. I would rather spend my money bungee jumping that eating at a nice restaurant once a week. Hiking is the best way to experience NZ for cheap. It's incredible, and you don't need to do all the touristy things.


* 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

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local 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?
  • Orientation
  • Not too hovering
  • Great staff
* What could be improved?
  • N/A
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't become too attached to your program -- Get out there and meet people from other countries and the locals. IFSA will always be there for default friends, but try to branch out too.

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.