My Semester in New Zealand Past Review

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 06/30/2019 to 11/04/2019 with

University of Otago, New Zealand: Study Abroad Programme

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a lot of self confidence, personal awareness, knowledge about what I have to do and what I'm willing to do to stay fit and healthy, and a general idea of what I may want to do with my life.

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.

Most of my final grade was determined by the exam at the end of the term, with very few internal assignments ever graded. Attending lectures was never mandatory, and all slides were posted online. This meant that students could get away with never going to class and not learning the material until the final exam period at the end of the term, a system I see as unproductive and ineffective at teaching.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Housing was great, and the international program coordinators were extremely kind people. They respond to emails quickly and are happy to help if you have a physical, emotional, or financial issue!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had a wonderful living situation and enjoyed my space very much. Two Kiwi students lived with me as Kiwi Hosts, as well as two other international students. I became close friends with one of the internationals, but the Kiwis were not prepared to be effective hosts and help with cultural immersion problems.

* Food:

We cooked all our own meals, which was new but exciting. New Zealand cuisine is very easy to transition to as an American. Food in the city was relatively affordable.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There are so many international students at this university that nobody looks twice when they hear an American or English or Scandinavian accent. While this felt nice to not be "an outsider", there was no real challenge I had to overcome and no feeling of accomplishment at becoming integrated. Most of the friends I made were American.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

All health care was covered by our medical insurance we were required to pay before arrival, but I was able to visit a doctor once for a vaccination and once for an illness under that coverage.

* Safety:

Incredibly safe place. Female friends did mention at times they felt unsafe walking around the city after dark but I never heard of any incidences.

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

I had the freedom to explore and be adventurous, but my academics did not grow. I learned a lot about myself and made some fantastic memories, and I wouldn't trade them for the world.


* 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)

The NZD is worth less than the USD, but cooking every meal yourself adds up to a lot, especially when you're not used to thinking about that fee. Adventures and buying a car are also significant financial factors that are new.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? NZD$200
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Make leftovers and invest in a Tupperware for a packed lunch. Less is more, especially when it comes to clothes. Do solid research when it comes to buying a car, and know what to look for when you eventually do. Making meals at home is way more fun and a lot less expensive than going out. Don't drink too much—its expensive and unhealthy.


* 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

  • Other
* 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?
  • Freedom to choose how to spend your time
  • How responsibility was placed wholly on me to succeed academically and socially
  • The friends I made and the places I visited
* What could be improved?
  • International student academic help
  • Kiwi host selection
  • city transportation education
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Go to every class no matter what, be outgoing and friendly as often as possible, never say no to new adventures and friends, and what exactly I would need at the grocery store to make good meals.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Marine and Freshwater Botany

Course Department: Botany
Instruction Language: English
Comments: 3 professors, class size about 50 (small), attentive professors
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Evolutionary Biology

Course Department: Zoology
Instruction Language: English
Comments: At least 8 professors, class size ~150 (medium), poorly taught and unorganized
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Chemsitry: Molecular Architecture

Course Department: Chemistry
Instruction Language: English
Comments: 6 professors, class size 200 (medium), well taught but extremely difficult material
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Maori Society

Course Department: Maori Studies
Instruction Language: English, Te Reo Maori
Comments: Around 5 professors, class size 700 (large), poorly taught but easy material
Credit Transfer Issues: