Wanganui School of Design Past Review

By (Graphic Design, University of Wisconsin - Stout) for

Universal College of Learning / UCOL Whanganui Campus: Whanganui School of Design Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My experience was certainly worthwhile, if only because I went abroad. Other programs may be better than this one, but I doubt you'll regret any of them.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The most educational and inspiring part of my experience was working with other students and seeing their designs. The teaching was not as valuable as I'd expected. The grading system pushed me, but made it difficult to earn what I considered to be a good grade. The school administration was notorious for giving insufficient or incorrect information. Despite all this, everyone was really friendly and it was a worthwhile experience.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Often hard to contact and poor communicators, the administration of UCOL had the sole benefit of being friendly. My most disappointing experience with them occurred during the few months before starting the program. I received no information about my acceptance from UCOL, despite UW-Stout saying I was in the program. A month before leaving the states, I then learned that there was no exchange program and I would be enrolled directly (thus paying full international tuition). Too late to back out, I ended up paying several thousand dollars more than I expected.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Arranged by the school, the student flats were a 15-20 minute walk to class. The price was high, but I'm very satisfied with my experience. Desk, chair, curtains, wardrobe + drawers, bedside table, and bed provided (provide your own bedding). NO internet, unless you arrange to buy it with other students. Many students had negative opinions of the flats, but I had great flatmates and enjoyed living there.

* Food:

I cooked for myself and was able to buy what I was used to eating as well as try new foods. However, every visitor to NZ must at some point have fish 'n chips and mince pie.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?


* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I felt quite safe in Wanganui, though caution should still be used when alone, especially at night.

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


* 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $40-70 on groceries every week.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Shop around. Produce often costs less at fruit + vege stands.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • being in New Zealand
  • fellow students
* What could be improved?
  • communication/available information
  • extra-curricular activities
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? This was a worthwhile experience (you get to visit New Zealand!), but if you don't want to be in a small town, I would highly recommend looking at options in Wellington. Massey University is reportedly another good design school, and there would be much more to do outside of class.