Refreshing and adventurous semester abroad Past Review

By (The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 02/16/2016 to 06/23/2016 with

University of Otago, New Zealand: Study Abroad Programme

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
How to adapt to little changes, how to travel on a budget; also picked up a new hobby or two

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.

Class Structure: Most of my classes had multiple lecturers, as opposed to UT where I've usually had one main lecturer, and at most two lecturers for a given course. TAs played a similar role as the ones at UT. Workload: Generally much lighter than at UT. All my classes had very few assignments, so I rarely constantly had something to work on for each class, despite taking the equivalent of 15 UT credit hours. Also, I happened to have virtually no midterms/exams before the final. For me this was fine, since it allowed for enough time to explore the other aspects of being abroad besides studying. Generally, the assignments that we did have to do were engaging and required dedication. Grading System: On the one hand, the grade thresholds are much lower at Otago (a 50 is a C-), but since there are fewer assignments per class, it can still feel hard to get your target grade. Finals were worth more here as well (50% in three of my four classes). I thought finals were worth too much back in the U.S., so this was an interesting discovery. Lecturers/Professors: Very knowledgeable, willing to help, and seemed very passionate about their respective subjects. Most of the demonstrators/TAs were also very nice.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The International Office at the University of Otago was very helpful throughout my preparation for arrival and maintained a presence during my time abroad.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had a great experience with UniFlats.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Student healthcare is easy to access and generally responsive.

* Safety:

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

New Zealand is a beautiful country with very warm people and loads of potential for amazing experiences, whether it's in the outdoors or from a more cultural perspective. The University of Otago is a solid institution and the International Office clearly cares about its students.


* 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? 85
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Cook at home, take advantage of OUSA's breakfast and lunch deals


* 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
  • 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?
  • Location
  • People
* What could be improved?
  • More/More accessible volunteer opportunities for international students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? N/A

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Adventure Education

Course Department: Physical Education
Instructor: Mike Boyes
Instruction Language: English
Comments: A very engaging course about the sociology, psychology, and ecology of adventure/outdoor education. Essay assignments required time and effort but were not overwhelming. The professor has plenty of insight, is available for help, and has a great sense of humor. I highly recommend this paper/course.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Field Studies and New Zealand Geology

Course Department: Geology
Instructor: Chris Moy, Ray Marx
Instruction Language: English
Comments: An engaging course involving two major field trips (5-6 days long each). A good introduction to mapping and applied geology. The locations of the field trips definitely helped put things into context and the instructors were awesome and clearly passionate about geology.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Marine Ecology

Course Department: Marine Science
Instructor: Candida Savage; several guest lecturers
Instruction Language: English
Comments: An intriguing and challenging course. One of the major assignments involved conducting an actual field experiment and carrying out statistical analysis and writing a manuscript, so it felt like actually doing science. The material is in general fascinating if you're a science major. The main instructor was great and helpful and all the guest lecturers were clearly passionate about their respective topics.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Fossils, Strata, and Hydrocarbon Basins

Course Department: Geology
Instructor: Ewan Fordyce, Andrew Gorman
Instruction Language:
Comments: This course was an introduction to micropaleontology and sequence stratigraphy. The two main class projects were sometimes confusing but the lecturers were always very willing to help; also, the assignments felt very relevant and applicable to real world geology, which is always a plus. Involved a single one-day field trip.
Credit Transfer Issues: