Life Changing June 17, 2019

By (Health Science & Psychology, University of Hartford) - abroad from 02/09/2019 to 06/22/2019 with

The Education Abroad Network (TEAN): Auckland - AUT University

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned how to adapt to new surroundings, cultures, public transportation, educational styles, and new people. I gained a new perspective on traveling, having to rely on myself and my intuition instead of my family and friends, and the process of changing in my own time, as well as new friends along the way.

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.

Loved having the ability to learn from a different style of teaching, however it was a bit nerve racking only having 2-3 grades per course that determined the entire grade. The professors were an excellent resource when there were questions about any topic or assignment and they really wanted the students to do well and succeed in the course and future courses.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The housing itself was very nice, however I was thrown off by the roommate selection for our program, as our preferences for coed/same gender that were asked for before arrival were not taken into consideration and had to be worked out between the students and reslife in the building. It really was not that big of a deal and it all worked out in the end, but having that issue right off the bat can be stressful when you have just arrived in a new country.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Integrating with New Zealanders and other study abroad students was a fun experience and was made easy due to the living arrangements. Most of the study abroad programs intermingled, so you could be making friends with not only Kiwis, but also other international students. This year there was a new group formed called AUT Internationals Abroad (AUTIA) which focused on creating a program that would allow international students the opportunity to meet other international students and New Zealanders that helped run the program, which I thought was a really great experience as well.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Healthcare was relatively easy to access through the school medical centre, and most things are taken care of by Student Safe Insurance. There were times when there was no doctor around at the medical centre, and the earlier possible appointment that could be made was for a week later, and that was extremely inconvenient considering the circumstance of the visit. Luckily there are many clinics not affiliated with the school that are able to provide immediate care at most hours, but they come with a more expensive cost initially.

* Safety:

Auckland is a pretty safe city overall. One of the safety issues the American groups ran into was looking the correct way before crossing the street. The only other safety advice I would really offer for future students would be common safety things like don't walk around alone at night or if you're going to an area you're unfamiliar with, bring a buddy.

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

Yes AND No. After speaking with students in other programs, I realized that if I had done more research into other programs before just choosing the one of picked, I would have gotten more opportunities to travel in New Zealand for around the price of the program I chose. However, I may not have become as close as I am with the people from this program, which would have made a huge difference in my experience here in New Zealand. So yes, I would have liked to have had the opportunity to travel a little more with my program without the added stress of having to plan trips on my own with my friends, but on the other hand I had more flexibility with my trips and was still able to see and do the things I wanted to see with amazing people.

Finances

* 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)

This is a difficult question to answer, because it really depends on your priorities and lifestyle. It was more difficult for me to live on a student budget while in New Zealand, mostly due to the amount of traveling I was doing. Trips cost more money than just staying in the city, and transportation should be considered whether you are traveling outside of the city or not. If you take traveling out of the equation, I would say I spent roughly about $120 NZD a week for food, transportation, and other personal expenses, which is around $80 USD. If you consider activities and traveling/excursions to other parts of the country, including the South Island, those were added costs.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? If you take traveling out of the equation, I would say I spent roughly about $120 NZD a week for food, transportation, and other personal expenses, which is around $80 USD. If you consider activities and traveling/excursions to other parts of the country, including the South Island, those were added costs that I don't think I can really ballpark because they varied for each type of trip (traveling around the north island, south island, overnights, activities in each place, etc.).
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? -Make a list of things you really want to see or do and plan out how much it would cost to execute your plan (including transportation, food, and possible overnight stays) -Skip buying a coffee or a snack in between classes every day; they add up. -Try to cook most of your own food at home and plan out your meals for the week before you go grocery shopping. This is a great way to know exactly how much you are spending on food for the week and will help you from having to go out to eat all the time or from buying random groceries that you may not need/eat, which can also rack up a hefty bill. -Book with hostels instead of airbnbs for overnight stays if you don't have a large group traveling with you. -If you are renting a car for traveling, book it with a group of people to cut on rental and gas costs. -Focus on NEED vs WANT -Download the Groupon or Niche apps for deals on events, food, or services. -Take the bus instead of an Uber if you can. -If living at WSA, take advantage of the free meals or events they have in the lobby every week.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International 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?
  • Having the ability to adjust to the new environment before starting University
* What could be improved?
  • Having the program leaders trained to respond to emergency medical situations would be a great improvement.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how to budget more for a study abroad trip like this. There were so many other variables I had not thought about aside from food, transportation, and the basic cost of living, and if I knew how many cool and exciting adventures I would be going on and how much they would cost, I would have thought about saving even more than I did, but I made it work!

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.