Travel to New Zealand but don't live or study there Past Review

By (Multimedia Design, University of Wisconsin - Stout) - abroad from 02/07/2012 to 06/22/2012 with

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?
I would have regretted not going because I would not have known. In hindsight, I would have gotten just as much out of it with a much shorter program (and also saved thousands of dollars). Like the locals said, much of New Zealand's culture is just the leftovers from America so it's not very different, just more for less.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

One of my classes had zero instruction whatsoever, professors would often arrive late or not at all and no one knew what was going on. Very small class sizes, many students weren't very motivated and were also aggravated with school.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Finding out anything was a pain, it felt like no one knew what they were doing. The international liaison was rarely in the office. Emailing people just results in no replies, apparently they still owe me money but figuring out what the f*ck they are talking about is fruitless. Two months have passed and I still have no transcript so I can't see how my credits will transfer. Other students are having the same problems. The school is run like a business to take your money, and it's a very unorganized, lazy, business at that.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The school housing was very expensive and in poor condition. If I had been in the country for any longer I would have looked for different options immediately. The landlord was nice.

* Food:

Food is no different than what is in the states but much more expensive. Fish and chips are awesome.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There was barely a 'student' population. The night life was non-existent for the most part. My most enjoyable experience as far as culture goes was meeting the other international students, most of whom were from Malaysia, China, Japan, etc.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no health issues, but the local hospital was probably good.

* Safety:

I was told numerous times not to walk in certain areas of the city at night by my local friends, including an entire suburb where the only decent beach was at (which is still farther than walking distance). There are apparently gang problems, although I didn't directly have a problem with it. I rarely saw police, but I never felt unsafe.

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)

Rent was expensive, food was expensive, going out was very expensive, etc. You better be rich.

* Was housing included in your program cost? No
* Was food included in your program cost? No
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 120 a week for rent, and then 50-60 for food, so that 170 bare minimum not including phone, internet, anything fun, etc.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don't go to New Zealand, it's an island so EVERYTHING is going to be more expensive. Internet is similar to a third world country so don't expect free wifi anywhere, and expect to pay $100/month for a decent internet connection.


* 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? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
* 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?
  • I traveled all of New Zealand and did some crazy stuff
  • I met lots of foreigners, realized people are people no matter where you are.
  • New Zealand is a beautiful country, the landscapes, hiking, etc are awesome.
* What could be improved?
  • The school and nearly all aspects about it.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That it wouldn't be worth it. If the school was much larger, the cost of living was lower, it would be completely different. I didn't get homesick, but I got tired of dealing with administrative/school incompetency, dishing out piles of money to live and eat, and the relatively quiet demeanor of the city. The cons outweighed the pros.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:


Course Department:
Instruction Language:
Comments: We didn't have an actual professor, it was only a grad student. There was literally zero instruction the entire semester. Grading was done by people that did not know anything about the class. They graded participation (poorly) even though they didn't have attendance sheets nor lecture information. Following up with re-grading was effortless and a 'holier-than-thou' attitude was received. It was a joke. I have never received such poor grades in a class for absolutely no reason. During the entire semester I got grades for only one of three projects. Nearly two months after finishing school I still have no transcript.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

3D Modeling

Course Department:
Instruction Language:
Comments: This was one of two class that I actually learned anything in. Instruction was timely, organized, and he was very helpful.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:


Course Department:
Instruction Language:
Comments: This one (taught by an American) was very fun and enjoyable. I learned something new every class and projects were graded in a timely matter. Independent research was encouraged and allowed me to 'do what I wanted'.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

GD History

Course Department:
Instruction Language:
Comments: Class often went off topic, lectures were very repetitive. I would have learned just as much from watching a documentary on graphic design. The professor had many 'rants' that just made me feel like I was wasting my time there.
Credit Transfer Issues: