Past Review

By (PSYCHOLOGY., Barnard College) for

IFSA: Wellington - Victoria University of Wellington

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My experience was very worthwhile...It was great to experience life in a smaller city, and I made lots of friends from all over the world. I gained a new perspective on my time at college and learned to take more time to enjoy myself and the city I am in while I have the chance to - without letting school work stress me out.

Personal Information

The term and year this program took place: Spring 2009

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Classes were not as demanding as courses at my home university but even though I did not have as much work and it was much easier to do well in a course, I still came out feeling as though I learned a lot. I think this was particularly true since I took advantage of the courses in the Maori Studies department, which is something that you can't really learn about anywhere other than New Zealand.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Program had lots of activities for us which was great - nice to have someone plan cultural events for you and to make suggestions for where to go / what to make sure to see. Also - one girl on the program got injured while in NZ - in some respects the program was great helping her deal with it (insurance issues) but on the other hand they were not as supportive as I thought they should be. Luckily the girl had a close friend in NZ with her to take care of her (she was in the hospital for 2 weeks) but since her injury corresponded to the vacation period, the program administration was not around and did not seem as willing to give of their time to stay with her.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

University Housing, Landcross St. Nice apartment, mostly surrounded by other study abroad / international students. This was nice since I met people from all over but also prevented more integration into Kiwi society - most flats had a Kiwi-mate and were able to meet their friends but my flat did not get a kiwi-mate and so I felt that was a big disappointment in my housing. <br /><br /> Housing was close to campus, I had a great room with a great view. Kitchen was small but otherwise everything was clean. About a 15 min walk into the city which was great, but the walk home was longer since it was all uphill (not so fun, but also not enough to stop you from going out)

* Food:

Food was relatively inexpensive and there were lots of options. I mostly cooked but there were also a lot of options for eating out.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Because academics were not as serious there, I was able to go out and experience the city/country a lot more. Program took us to a sheep shearing competition, but I also went to several rugby games on my own. Also being in Wellington there are always cultural events going on (Cuba St. Carnival, Food expo, NZ Music Month etc) so there were lots of fun things going on.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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? Did not spend that much money on food (it is relatively cheap) - probably half of what I need to spend in the US. However going out at night is much more expensive - so probably would do better to balance out going out and staying in... Also, spent a lot of money traveling..there are a lot of amazing activities to do (rafting, zorbing, bungee jump, skydive, sand surf etc)
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Save money to travel around both islands...there is a lot to see and do all over the country!


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Fluent
Language acquisition improvement?

Not really applicable (language is English) but did learn fun NZ slang

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Introduction to Maori Language

Course Department: MAOR101
Instructor: Karena Kelly and Krissi Smith
Instruction Language: English/Te Reo Maori
Comments: This course was different from any other language course I have taken in that it was a huge lecture. Sometimes the class was frustrating since there were many things as a foreigner to New Zealand that I did not know (ie all students in NZ learn Maori colors, days of the week, numbers etc in elementary school) and those were things the instructors assumed we all knew. However the lecturers were very approachable and I appreciated that a lot about Maori culture was included in the course. The lecturers also encouraged class participation, which at first seemed impossible given the class size but actually worked out really well. Both lecturers also were able to learn almost everyones name by the end of the term which was very impressive in a 200 person lecture. We also had a class overnight at the campus' Marae, where we were introduced to various aspects of Maori culture firsthand, in addition to being able to use our language lessons in a practical way.
Credit Transfer Issues: Credit transfer issues could be that it is only one semester of a foreign language but I have not encountered problems with that.
Course Name/Rating:

Maori Performing Arts and Society

Course Department: MAOR125
Instructor: Teurikore Biddle
Instruction Language: English / Maori
Comments: This course was different from anything I have ever taken - it was taugh on the campus' marae - students came into the wharenui (meeting house) and had to take their shoes off and we would sit on the floor for the class. Most of the class was spent learning traditional Maori songs (waiata) that we had to perform as our assessments. There was also a separate component of the class (since it is a combined Maori Studies and Music class) where we discussed music ethnography and issues surrounding the survival of tribal/nonwestern music in modern times. This class also had an overnight at the Marae on campus, where we learned about Maori musical instruments and sang together as a class. This course was a great supplement to the language class and also provided a lot of insight into Maori culture.
Credit Transfer Issues: No transfer issues, fulfilled Gen.Ed requirement (Visual Arts)
Course Name/Rating:

Interpersonal Communication

Course Department: LING224 / COMM 202
Instructor: Derek Wallace
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Interesting topic, boring lectures, not challenging, and overall was not really worth taking.
Credit Transfer Issues: Still have not gotten the course approved - every department I have submitted it to so far has said to resubmit to another department.