Semester abroad in Dunedin Past Review

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 02/23/2015 to 06/17/2015 with

University of Otago, New Zealand: Study Abroad Programme

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about myself and about living in an apartment and cooking for myself. Since I directly enrolled to the university, it took a little more effort on my part to make friends and put myself out there. It was definitely a worthwhile experience for me.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Academically the semester wasn't as rigorous or intense as a semester at Wellesley. I do feel that I did learn a lot during my time abroad though. I took advantage of some of the resources during my time there such as the university's library in addition to the Dunedin public library.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Since I directly enrolled to the university, I didn't have too much direct interaction with administration, but everything seemed to run smoothly.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I enjoyed being in a flat with 3 other flatmates. The flat was furnished, clean, safe, and in a good location.

* Food:

I mostly cooked for myself, so it was a lot cheaper than a semester at Wellesley. I took advantage of the weekly farmers markets, and cooked with flatmates/neighbours a few times too. Eating out can get pretty expensive, and depending on the kind of food you like to buy, groceries may be a little more expensive than what you're used to.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I joined a couple of orgs and met some locals that way. Since I directly enrolled into the university, there weren't as many opportunities to be integrated into the local culture. The uni-flats office did put together a few events that were nice. The university really makes up Dunedin, so there are a lot of students, and consequently a lot of parties starting Thursday and through the weekends. I joined a few orgs on campus and met more kiwis that way, but would have liked to meet even more.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The university requires that you use a specific insurance program. Wellesley took care of the cost of this. I went to the dental school while I was there, and the cost of the work done was covered by the insurance. I submitted a claim online, and about a month later the insurance company directly deposited the correct amount into my account.

* Safety:

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


* 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 budgeted $10/day for food, other costs you'll need to keep in consideration are household items such as toilet paper, tissue, dish soap, etc. Some students opt to buy cars while they are down there, and others rent cars for shorter weekend trips.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you are living in a flat, I would suggest everyone pitch in $10 or so a week to take care of necessities such as toilet paper, dish soap, sponges, etc. Many of these expenses are for communal things, so you'll want to have a way to evenly distribute the costs. I'd also suggest using U-Save for car rentals. Keeping track of how much you're spending each week can also help you budget your money and realize how much money you actually have and are using.


* 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
* 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?
  • Independence
  • Meeting other international students and kiwis
  • Having free time to explore
* What could be improved?
  • Programs to learn more about Maori culture
  • Distribution of Americans assigned to one flat
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Nothing

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!