A Rollercoaster of Learning Experiences May 15, 2019

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 07/09/2018 to 07/01/2019 with

The University of Auckland: Auckland - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that there is a lot more to see and learn about in this world. I took classes about subjects I knew nothing about and that I would not be able to at my home university. I got to experience what it was like to go to a much larger university and live in a city, which was always something I wanted to do. Although by the end of my year here I began feeling mentally and physically exhausted from being away for so long, I learned that I could do it as long as a had a group of friends who looked out for me and that I could be myself around.

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 University of Auckland's educational experience is more lecture-based and the class size is on average around 100 students, but there are enough resources and tutors to compensate for the large classes. Compared to my home university, the intensity of the courses is not as high because the assessments and exams are more spread out throughout the semester. However, I spent more time on these assessments because they count for a major part of your grade.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The University of Auckland's study abroad office was always quick in answering any of my questions or concerns.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

There are recently renovated and less renovated accommodation options. The more renovated halls are spacious and comfortable, but the rent is more expensive. The halls that are not as renovated have smaller common spaces/kitchens, smaller dorm rooms with old mattresses, and more likely to get broken washing machines and dryers, etc.

* Food:

The meal plan is too expensive so I had to cook for myself the last year. I am not a great cook and I have little time, so I mostly eat the same meals each week. It is also difficult to cook in a small communal kitchen for thirty people, which is why sometimes I went up or down a floor to cook.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I made most of my kiwi (New Zealand) friends through clubs and their events. Because of this, I felt more integrated with the local culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The University Health Services are always busy, which is why to book an appointment sometimes they cannot see you right away. It may take a few weeks for them to see you. I also went to the ER a few times and the doctor who treated me was always in a rush. I did not feel like I was being treated like I should have been. I had to pay a big hospital bill and fill out paperwork to get a reimbursement from the insurance company which I have yet to receive after a month.

* Safety:

I felt safe in Auckland. Like in most places there are places to avoid after dark, like certain parks and streets, for safety reasons.

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

I learned a lot about myself this past year because it was like starting University all over again, making new friends, having to adjust to a new style of teaching and professor's expectations, learning to cook for myself, and experiencing health problems. I also got to travel to beautiful, remote locations that I would otherwise never get to visit. Although not all of these experiences were fun, I learned a lot about resilience, courage, and humility.

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)

It spent on average around $70-80 NZD a week for groceries and personal expenses. The weekly rate for accommodation the first semester I was here was $282 and the second semester I was here it was $262 NZD/week.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? About $70 NZD or $46 USD
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Although it is not always convenient or easy to be cooking for yourself when you have a busy course schedule, you will be saving more money this way than if you join a meal plan.

Language

* 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

  • Dorm
  • 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?
  • Lots of classes to choose from because of the various departments at the University
  • More relaxed atmosphere/Being around less people who are always stressed
  • Being close to the outdoors
* What could be improved?
  • Communal Spaces in Older Accommodation Options
  • More events in halls to meet other people living in your hall/floor
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? To join more than one club/organization sooner at the very beginning of the semester to meet new people and make more friends.

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.