The Best Time Of My Life Past Review

By (Psychology and Criminology, Stonehill College) - abroad from 06/21/2014 to 11/16/2014 with

The Education Abroad Network (TEAN): Wellington - Victoria University of Wellington

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My abroad experience will absolutely have a lasting impact on my life. Everything was just perfect, from the staff at The Education Abroad Network (TEAN) to the beautiful, picturesque scenery that surrounded me everyday. Without TEAN this trip may not have been possible. The program helped me every step of the way and made the whole process stress free. I cannot thank TEAN enough for all they did for me. The on-site staff in Wellington was absolutely amazing. The Chicago staff was wonderful. Every little bump I had along the way was fixed quickly and efficiently by the TEAN staff. This experience was one of a kind and it taught me so much about myself and the world. So, THANK YOU TEAN... when can I go back

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 classroom experience, for me, was much different than what I receive at my home university. Lectures are filled with over 100+ kiwi and international students while tutorial classes are much smaller and more personal. I was not used to having lectures that size and it was a challenge for me to change into this new academic setting. My biggest concern academically was the grading system my host university implemented. The grade scale is much different than what we are used to in the US. After receiving my first grade I was extremely concerned with how I was performing. I was then made aware that the grade rage is much different (For example, an A- 80-85, A 85-90, A+ 90-100). TEAN did a excellent job working with me to get me prepared for these difference. My on-site staff provided insider knowledge and gave me tips to help me quickly and efficiently get accustomed to these changes.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I absolutely adored my on-site staff. They were always there when I needed them and they were always super helpful. Throughout the semester they hosted "coffee-catch-ups" where we would all meet up and talk about what was going on at that time. It was a great way to keep connected and ask questions to a local. My TEAN staff members were all so caring and it was a pleasure working with them.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

While in New Zealand I stayed in a ten person flat with Americans, Kiwis, and Europeans. This was probably my favorite part about Victoria University of Wellington. I would recommend this style of housing to anyone interested in studying abroad, specifically at Victoria. My placement in University Hall (Te Kotahinga) was the perfect fit. Utilities were included so there were no extra housing costs. The houses are clean and were maintained.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

My one goal for my entire trip was to become so immersed in New Zealand culture that a kiwi would not be able to spot me as an American. Although I will never have the accent, by the end of the trip I felt very comfortable with kiwi culture. TEAN put on many programs, including an ALL BLACKS GAME, that allowed us to dive right into local life.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Fortunately, I did not have any experience with the health care system. However, TEAN works with the host university to get quality health insurance in case anything does happen while abroad..

* Safety:

Wellington, as well as New Zealand as a whole, is incredibly safe. During my five months abroad, I never once felt unsafe. That being said, I was constantly alert and aware of my surroundings. Most of the nights out I made sure to stay on bright streets with plenty of people around, but there were times I had to walk home alone on a dark street. Just be smart and use your best judgement.

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)

I was a student on a tight budget. I was nervous about the expenses and whether or not I could afford to live abroad. Yes, food in New Zealand is expensive but it isn't outrageous. Yes, many activities can be expensive but they are worth it. At times it was difficult for me but I learned to drop unnecessary trips and took advantage of all the free activities around Wellington so I could save up for a big trip.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you are on a budget as I was, PLAN PLAN PLAN! Make sure you use your money wisely. With preparation and a bit of budgeting (dropping unnecessary expenses), I was able to go on an 11 day trip around the south island that included so many extreme activities. I was able to explore so much of New Zealand even with my tight budget. Figure out what works for you and prepare yourself for those extra trips.


* 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 excursion
  • Cultural Immursion
* What could be improved?
  • Nothing
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Honestly, I felt so well prepared I cannot think of anything I needed/wanted to know.

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.