A New Home Past Review

By (Visual Communications / Graphic Design, Endicott College) - abroad from 02/13/2015 to 06/19/2015 with

ISA Study Abroad in Wellington, New Zealand

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It may sound cliché, but studying abroad truly did change my life. When I decided to embark on a journey this big, I was essentially choosing to be dropped in the middle of a totally new world. I actually felt more culture shock when I returned to the States after my time in New Zealand. I allowed myself to become immersed in a new culture, and I found out so many wonderful things about who I am. It’s hard to capture into words what it feels like to be truly happy. For me, that feeling came the day I realized that Wellington, New Zealand had danced its way so gracefully into my heart. A huge part of studying abroad is being open. If it were possible to be in love with a country, I would be in love with New Zealand.

Review Photos

ISA Study Abroad in Wellington, New Zealand Photo ISA Study Abroad in Wellington, New Zealand Photo ISA Study Abroad in Wellington, New Zealand Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The academic structure in New Zealand differs from that in the United States, which I found challenging at times. However, my professors in New Zealand pushed me in different ways than I had been pushed before and they taught me to learn in a new way, which I am grateful for.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved living in the Cube on Massey's campus! I really appreciated that I was placed with Kiwi students, as well.

* Food:

When on campus, I cooked for myself using ingredients from the weekly farmers market (which I miss every Sunday). When in the city or traveling throughout the country, I always had a great meal. The best veggie burger of my life was consumed at Ekim in Wellington. Ferg Burger in Queenstown was also a favorite.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I wish I had been integrated more, but I think I got a pretty great view of the culture. Living with two Kiwi students was one way I gained knowledge of the country's history, as well as taking a Maori art class.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I purchased over-the-counter cold medicine at one point, and I was pleased that it wasn't complicated to receive and that I didn't have to go through insurance.

* Safety:

I never felt unsafe in Wellington. At night, we always traveled in groups but, even then, I always felt comfortable.

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

ISA was incredibly helpful.


* 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 saved up for years before traveling to New Zealand. But, I came back pretty empty-handed. I budgeted well when it came to food and materialistic purchases, but I never strayed away from weekend trips or flights. In Wellington, it was easy to purchase cheap food at the farmer's market, or to cook communal meals with my flatmates or hallmates. I saved a lot of money this way.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I budgeted $50/week on food when in Wellington, and $100/week on food while traveling. I rarely bought materialistic items, but probably spent (on average) $100-$150/week on traveling costs.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Definitely save up before you go. Book your mid-semester breaks far in advance, if possible, as flights will be a lot cheaper. Talk to locals and find out how they travel for low prices or, better yet, keep your fingers crossed that you meet someone on campus who has a car and likes to travel. As far as materialistic things go, I would suggest only buying something if you KNOW you have room in your luggage. If you don't, you probably don't need it. Seek out places that accept student discounts.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
* 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?
  • The fact that excursions were included meant one less thing to worry about.
  • The Bridging Cultures program was the perfect introduction to New Zealand life.
  • My site specialist always made sure we were safe, whether in Wellington or traveling in different parts of the country.
* What could be improved?
  • The excursions were a great perk, but I wish students had more of a say in what the excursions were, and that the dates were planned out further... I had to miss one because I had already booked another trip.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Nothing! My experience was so positive. No regrets.

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 Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.