A Wonderful Experience October 27, 2020

By (Anthropology and Women and Gender Studies, Wellesley College) - abroad from 03/02/2020 to 11/23/2020 with

The University of Auckland: Auckland - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I have gained a deeper appreciation for Pacific cultures and people, wonderful experiences in nature, and a deep sense of home. This program was so worthwhile!

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 found my University of Auckland courses to be fairly challenging with a fair amount of work. They required critical thinking, application of previous study and research habits and skills, and did provide opportunities to expand upon knowledge and skills. The courses and their assignments and homework took time and effort to do well but were not as high pressure as my home university's. I felt supported by my professors.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

When I did have to reach out to the Study Abroad office, they were quick to respond and helpful. Due to studying abroad during the Covid-19 pandemic, I believe there would have been a lot more opportunities for interaction and activities that I did not get to experience.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in a brand new student dormitory with individual (small) rooms, communal self-catered kitchens, and communal bathrooms and study spaces. It was comfortable and clean, but opportunities for social interaction and sense of community were minimal, perhaps due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns.

* Food:

I bought and cooked my own food. I found the USD to NZD conversion rate very helpful and while food is slightly expensive, I found ways to shop cheaply.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Due to taking Pacific and Maori studies courses and making an effort to interact and be friends with locals, I felt fairly integrated with the local culture. A lot of people in my dorm were other international students, so I had to make extra effort to seek out locals and local experiences.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The healthcare system was easy to access and cheap. University health services were helpful.

* Safety:

I felt very safe in Auckland central where the university is located. It is quiet and people are friendly.

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

I greatly enjoyed being in Auckland, New Zealand for its cultural diversity and stunning nature. The university was fairly rigorous, making it interesting to study with even though the Covid-19 pandemic meant that the majority of the year was spent doing online classes. I have loved living in New Zealand and plan on staying beyond my study abroad time.


* 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 did not eat out or buy things, so I stuck to my budget of rent, groceries, and necessities making it affordable to live. Rent is the most expensive cost.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 120
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? No


* 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
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • New Zealand's Culture and Nature
  • Connecting with Pacific communities
* What could be improved?
  • More opportunities for social interaction.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The University of Auckland is a large university and Covid-19 limiting social interactions and time on campus in classes meant limited opportunities for making friends. People should get involved in clubs and organizations to hopefully find their niche and create a circle of 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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'