All around solid, but missed the green space. November 09, 2023

By (Psychology, Middlebury College) - abroad from 07/10/2023 to 11/11/2023 with

University of Otago, New Zealand: Study Abroad Programme

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
100% worthwhile. I've moved around my whole life and this term taught me more than I care to know about myself. But I had an excellent time figuring stuff like health care, insurance, transportation, and school out on my own.

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.

It is what you make of it, don't be a breather.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I was my program director (direct enrollment) - absolute stroke of genius.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

While the international office sends out a housing questionnaire, I do not believe they reference it when assigning housing. There is a great range in the quality of houses international students live in. Some students live in, I'm sorry to say, 'hell pits' and some live in sparkling and pristine suburb homes, it's really a toss up.

* Food:

My own personal chef - another stroke of genius. I will say, there are excellent food opportunities on and around campus.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I did not mingle with the international student population. That is a matter of taste, but I do believe I was more inclined to engage with kiwis because of it which was the ideal outcome. Talk to people in classes! Join a team! Join a club!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Pretty easily accessible. I had to have x-rays done while here and it was a shockingly smooth experience, US health care could never. Insurance was an absolute breeze, though I would recommend making sure you have a bank at home that has a SWIFT/IBAN code or a NZ bank to make insurance claims fewer steps.

* Safety:

Don't let the "lock it or lose it" signs freak you out. Yes, lock your car but don't stress that someone is going to break into it willynilly. There is a degree of poor driving in NZ that pedestrians should be wary of -- they will NOT stop for you and they will be hacked off if you are in your way. All around safe city, just keep your heads up and avoid getting hit by a car.

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

Same program, yes. Direct Enrollment is a great move (as are other programs). Same location, no. Otago campus can be pretty uncomfortable and displacing at times and doesn't have many green spaces.


* 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)

If you plan it out and buy staples (like rice, grains, etc.) in bulk it's perfectly manageable. The coach bus that takes you between cities can add up if you do it enough times, so look into a FlexiPass, by far one of the most cost effective options. Or buy a car. What you should know: while the city bus systems are top-notch, there is so much you cannot get to by bus. A car makes adventures and transpo SO MUCH EASIER. I genuinely believe the study abroad experience is enhanced by personal transportation. (This is specfic to NZ, which is rural and spread out.) This said, do not buy a piece of garbage; it will breakdown, it will fail, you will have to repair it or cut your losses. Go in on a decent rust wagon with some acquaintances, treat it kindly, and start the reselling process very early.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100 to $200
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? - buy in bulk - fresh veggies at the beginning of each week - bake your own bread products if you can (I did not buy a single bread item while here and it made a difference) - eating out is great, don't do it too often - $4 lunches at the OUSA every day and free brekkie on Wednesdays - organize household things that all flatmates must contribute to


* 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?
  • homemade food
  • adventures
  • penguins
* What could be improved?
  • housing
  • international program communication
  • course advisement
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew what the place looked like more. I wish I knew the campus better.

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:

Psychology of Sport and Exercise

Course Department: Sport and Exercise Psychology
Instructor: Ken Hodge
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I am sure the content of this course is interesting and valuable. The professor and the manner of teaching were profoundly disappointing. The material covered in class could have been conveyed in an email. I cannot dis-recommend it enough.
Credit Transfer Issues: