The BEST decision I've ever made May 14, 2020

By (University of Hartford) - abroad from 02/09/2020 to 06/19/2020 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
1000% worthwhile. I learned so much more about how to be independent and organized. I've lived alone at my university before but traveling half way across the world alone is definitely a testing experience. I gained a lot of new friends, experiences, and memories that I will never forget.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

- The classes were fairly easy to follow and the layout of the semester through the syllabus was thorough. - Some professors did not communicate as quickly/easily as others. - Tutors for tutorials were always available to chat and help.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

- They did not respond to emails in a timely manner. - People were sometimes not even in the office to talk with. - The university did send a lot of emails about programs to join for international students.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

- Had issues communicating with the Housing office. - They placed me in DISGUSTING housing, were not prepared for us when we moved in, and the "Resident assistants" were nowhere to be found. - After multiple days of going back and forth, providing pictures of the unsafe location we were placed in, and support from the study abroad program they finally moved me temporarily to a hotel while they scrambled to find somewhere else to place me. - In the end, I was moved to freshman housing that was not what I had originally planned or chosen but it was better than where I was living before. I did still end up with a single room but the new place was constantly having safety issues and construction.

* Food:

- There were some instanced of food provided during floor meetings/events etc that were really nice. - All of my meals usually came from eating out or the supermarket. My living situation put me in town where there were multiple places to go grocery shopping within a 10 minute walk.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

- Every weekend there was something to do or celebrate. I had a lot of fun going out with other students when we heard of events being hosted by Wellington or our study abroad program.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

- I took advantage of the fact that there was eye coverage and got a new pair of glasses. It was very easy through the university's health care program and I did not have to pay anything out of pocket. It was the quickest I've ever gotten an appointment and then also gotten coverage.

* Safety:

- I never once felt unsafe here. I've lived in cities before and I can say with certainty that this was one of the friendliest places I've ever been to. - Even at night it was safe to walk alone. The bar/club scene was also super safe. They had "water" stations around the Main Street to take care of partygoers and all open night places made sure you were okay before letting you enter.

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

Although I had issues with housing in the beginning, my study abroad program had my back and made sure I always felt safe and was in an environment that was suitable. I would definitely do it all over again even with that inconvenience because of how well they treated me.

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)

- I made a budget before I left on how much to spend weekly on food and other expenses. The first few weeks I spent the most because I was buying products I hadn't brought with me but I made sure to factor that in. Groceries were surprisingly cheap and so was eating out. I had to readjust my budget once I got there and got used to the average prices of things.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I budgeted about $200 weekly but some weeks were drastically less - especially when I bought groceries that lasted at least 2 weeks. Some weeks I went over my budget if I was doing an excursion or something.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Plan ahead for what experiences you want to have and what budget you're going to stick to (leaving some leeway for accidents). I knew I wanted to go skydiving so I made sure to research before hand how much it would cost in USD and set it aside for that experience. I also knew during spring break I wanted to travel so I set aside money for that as well before starting my weekly budget.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

During the first week there we had orientation and they taught us a lot about the culture and language. We participated in activities that encouraged learning and using kiwi slang etc.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? none
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Befriending a local kiwi or someone who is also sharing a language class abroad with you is the quickest way to adapt to the language.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Apartment
  • Hotel
  • 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?
  • The excursions
  • Wellington as a whole
  • The food
* What could be improved?
  • Housing selection process
  • How quickly the host university responds
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew more about the local things like how the bus system works and supermarkets. I also wish I knew how often I would need to use my passport and to get a kiwi access card the moment I get to NZ.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!