NZ stole my heart and will steal yours too! Just go there and live it. Past Review

By (International Business and Economics, University of New Hampshire) - abroad from 06/23/2012 to 11/10/2012 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned how to be independent and to appreciate the outdoors in every way. New Zealand truly is an Eden and you MUST experience the country to get everything out of the study abroad experience. So many study abroad students would stay in their home cities and party on weekends and never get the real experience. If I could give only one suggestion it would be to never say no to an adventure if it means going into the wild. MOVE YOUR FLIGHT TOO. You are given a return date with one free flight change. I advise you to move that flight back at least two weeks and travel after the end of the semester. I traveled the south island by van and camped with 6 other international students after the semester ended. That experience cemented our friendship and the trip was the best adventure of my entire life.

Review Photos

The Education Abroad Network: Auckland - University of Auckland Photo The Education Abroad Network: Auckland - University of Auckland Photo The Education Abroad Network: Auckland - University of Auckland Photo The Education Abroad Network: Auckland - University of Auckland Photo The Education Abroad Network: Auckland - University of Auckland Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I chose to take two business papers (NZ name for courses) at Auckland University and I found them quite different from back home. They consisted of 2-3 lectures (of around 200 students) and one tutorial a week. The professors at my home university always seek ways to communicate directly with the students. The business lecturers at Auckland University sometimes seemed removed from the students. Each student is asked to buy a course book at the beginning of the semester that includes the powerpoint slides that will be presented during the semester. It is also suggested that the student buy the textbook as well, but I found that of the 3 lecturers i had (2 taught half of a semester), none of them followed the book. The papers are challenging in the sense that most of them rely on one or two assignments, essays, or tests and the final exam. For instance, my International Economics paper had two major assignments, one test, and a 60% cumulative final exam. You will recognize everybody getting into study mode prior to the week everything is due. Other than having assignments all due in a week, I found my Gen Ed papers to be really interesting and never did I feel overly stressed out about them. Really the only stress tends to come to people taking papers in their major, but even that is limited.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

TEAN was absolutely exceptional. Years ago my brother had gone to Japan through a separate study abroad program and he had few positive things to say. TEAN did an amazing job of integrating the study abroad students into the culture. Prior to departure, TEAN was always in contact with me to make sure I was where i needed to be with paperwork and visa. It made it simple by providing deadlines early enough to limit stress. The program arranged for a pre-semester trip to Fiji which was the best way to make friends with other students in the program. We all were able to bask in the sun and go on incredible adventures together on the small island we were brought to. This included snorkeling, swimming with manta rays, visiting the village of the natives, and tons of other great trips. Once in New Zealand, TEAN continued to arrange for stellar accommodations and ways to get us accustomed to Kiwi way of life. We traveled to Rotorua and did white water rafting and also visited various locations to get a sense of the real New Zealand. Throughout the semester we would meet with TEAN ambassadors for coffee or dinner. At one point TEAN even brought us to an All-Blacks vs Australia rugby game! I can't stress enough how great TEAN was at providing for us throughout the entire stay.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I stayed in Parnell Student Village and at first I was a little disappointed. PSV is about a 20 minute walk down a large hill from campus and seems at first to be quite isolated. As the semester rolled on, I realized that it was the best place a study abroad student could ever be. It is a 2 minute walk from the Auckland Domain and Museum and the walk to campus is breathtaking. You can see the entire city, ocean, and coastal islands from the walk. It is also in one of the oldest and most affluent areas in New Zealand. There are so many nice shops within a 10 minute walk and a great fish and chips place across the street. It also has two bus stops right outside the gate. There are about 85 students spread out among 20 or so flats and all of them were international or Kiwi. I made friends who I still skype with every day from all over Europe, North America, South Africa, New Zealand, and Asia. Even better is that everybody wanted to travel every weekend. There was not a weekend that went by for the final two months where we were not traveling to some exotic destination around the country. The other arrangements seemed less into traveling and more into partying, so PSV was ideal for me.

* Food:

We did not have a meal plan, so it was all about grocery shopping. Countdown and Pac 'N Save are the two major grocery chains. Food can be quite expensive, so its best to get creative or arrange family dinner with friends. The cheapest options for takeaway are Al & Petes and Kebabs on Queen Street. Almost all of the meat in the country is free range and the vegetable organic. They tend to be exceptional, but like I said, quite pricey. For those that want to buy wine or other alcoholic beverages, those will be the most expensive of anything.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

TEAN did wonders by introducing us to the culture on day one. From there we were able to take the reigns and see the rest of the country. Kiwi's are really welcoming people and love talking to international students so it is no problem at all to befriend Kiwi people. Often they will invite you out for dinner or bring you on excursions. The Auckland University Tramping Club (AUTC) is a great way to meet people and do some trips on weekends where you just want to go on an adventure. They always have day or weekend trips around the area.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

TEAN made sure we were given health coverage before leaving to go abroad. I never had any health issues myself, but my friends who had problems were able to get medical assistant fairly fast. The government pays for healthcare as far as I know and they also cover incidents deemed accidents. I have heard from Kiwis of there being long lines at times, so there are private insurance agencies that can assist with that. I did not need any vaccines either before leaving, but you can check that on the appropriate government websites.

* Safety:

At Parnell Student Village there were some isolated incidences of theft from outside persons. These were addressed fairly quickly and new security procedures were put in place. Other than this I never felt threatened at all. Driving can be at times nerve-racking because the lanes are small, have no guard rails, and can be on the edge of cliffs hundreds to thousands of feet above valleys or water. But for the most part it is incredibly fun to drive and rent a car for a few days with friends.

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)

Food was extremely expensive and so was fuel if you needed to travel (7+ NZ$ per gallon). Traveling was only expensive if you did not plan ahead. You can use Jetstar or Grabaseat to book cheap flights in advance because they often have sales.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 175-200$
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Places often give student discounts so always be sure to ask. Also you can get cheap kebabs on Queen Street during weekdays and places offer discounts on wednesday nights for students. If you plan on seeing a movie, the cinemas have specials on tuesdays for students. Otherwise just plan ahead for what you will be eating. For a while i would get all of my groceries for 1-2 weeks in advance, but I found that much of it expired quickly. If you can, go every 3-4 days and monitor your spending closely. We would stay in backpackers when traveling, but towards the end a group of my friends got together and bought a tent. There isn't much freedom camping allowed in the country (especially the south island), but Kiwis will often accommodate you or you can spend a few bucks at a camping site.


* 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

  • 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?
  • TEAN immediately introduced us to New Zealand and continued to do so throughout the semester.
  • Fiji
  • The preparedness of TEAN
* What could be improved?
  • There were some issues with getting my passport photo to TEAN, but there were no other issues!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had not wasted a single day. You have to cut ties with home to experience the full journey. Your friends back at home will still be there when you return and likely will only make you homesick. So while it is still great to talk to them, don't be afraid to meet new friends and limit your time on facebook.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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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.