Fun if you know where to look for it! Past Review

By (biology, Wellesley College) - abroad from 07/18/2016 to 11/13/2016 with

The University of Auckland: Auckland - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Definitely learned how to be on my own in terms of living on my own (to an extent), being in a new place, etc.

Review Photos

The University of Auckland: Auckland - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo The University of Auckland: Auckland - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo The University of Auckland: Auckland - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo The University of Auckland: Auckland - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo The University of Auckland: Auckland - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo

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.

I come from a small, private liberal arts college that is similarly highly ranked for our academics. That being said, I took three 100-level gen ed course and one 200-level for my major back home (two labs went with the 200 and one of the 100s). Overall, I would say classes are a lot "easier" at UoA than back home.. my 200-lab met fortweekly rather than weekly, we had no lab reports and everything would be finished within the 3 hours of lab. My 100-lab met weekly, but it wasn't hard to finish the work within the lab time. I didn't have much in terms of homework/major assignments either: for the whole semester, just 3 mid-semester tests, 3 essays, and weekly homework for one of my classes (which was just answering 4-5 multiple choice/short answer questions online each week). Classes felt more relaxed as a whole because of lecture recordings, so you didn't have to feel too worried if you skipped a class or two... I appreciated tutorials since they were a little more of the size that I was used to, but then again, my tutorials similarly didn't require attendance and the quality of them varied... UoA was sorting out some new technical things (new management system, Canvas) while I was here, so both teachers and students were just getting the hang of figuring out where to put up class information/hand in assignments/etc... overall I think while the resources are certainly available here, it takes a bit of digging to find them.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Because I did Direct Exchange, I was mostly left up to my own devices in terms of figuring out housing/classes/traveling around New Zealand. I wished that I was given a little more information beforehand about how things at UoA worked by the on-site administration -- not to be spoonfed everything, necessarily, but more like there were so many things that I wasn't aware existed when I arrived here, no matter how much research I did beforehand -- it would've been nice to be given a few pointers beforehand instead of more or less having to fend for myself entirely from the start.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived at Uni Hall Apartments, which was self-catered (cook for yourself), got you a single room off a shared kitchen/bathroom/living room with 4 other people, and was 5 minutes from campus (gym membership and utilities (TV/water/electricity included!). About 10 minutes down from the main street/shopping centres, 20 minutes from the Auckland Domain/Grafton campus. My living place was super convenient but I wished it was set up so you could meet people more easily! A decent amount of people live off-campus so you're sorta stuck meeting people who live around you. However, since most people were cooped up in their apartments, it's a little hard to just pop your head in a door and meet new people.

* Food:

Stuff is expensive, like everything else in Auckland.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Being so close to the city centre and being a student, social drinking is quite prevalent.. I'm not opposed to it but I definitely wish it was easier to get around town without having to spend money on drinks first. You have to get out there yourself and figure out what you want to do! Do research beforehand and figure out where you want to travel/activities you want to do.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Didn't have issues myself, but the pharmacy was very accessible for little, minor things. Res staff was also easily reachable for things.

* Safety:

Overall I felt really safe, even walking around by myself in the city centre at night!

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

Definitely wished I was with a program instead of just going around solo. I met people but not as readily as I would've if I originally came in a group!


* 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)

Buy smart.. is all I can say... Auckland is very expensive. Housing alone was $540/2 weeks, and I brought $400 USD with me in cash -- I've spent it all on just repaying my flatmates back every week for our weekly dinner shops (~$20/week, split between 4 people). On average I think I spent about $30/week in just personal groceries for the week. If you're going traveling, expect even higher costs around NZ....

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? ~50 NZD
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? You will most likely have to get a credit card/bank account! Note that most, but not all places take credit (or else there's just a small fee for using credit). Cash is handy to have, I'd probably bring about $600 NZD for a semester in a place like Auckland, just to have wiggle room for traveling. If you're keen on saving, really budget your food shopping (that was most expensive for me) and buy in bulk/on special. Limit your unnecessary expenses. In general, prices are a little lower in NZ than in the US, but things add up quickly.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Direct Enrollment

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
  • Other
* 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The travelling!!!
  • NZ specialty foods.
* What could be improved?
  • slightly more guidance
  • meeting more people
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That Auckland was going to be this expensive and that I could've gone in a program... tbh

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.