Discovering the Islands Past Review

By (International Relations And Global Studies, The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 03/04/2013 to 07/03/2013 with

Victoria University of Wellington: Wellington - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned to budget with food so much better because of the prices. Local food is best. There's a lot of islands in the Pacific Ocean and they're full of great people. Maoris are real nice too. The whole experience was worthwhile. I would not trade it.

Review Photos

Victoria University of Wellington: Wellington - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Victoria University of Wellington: Wellington - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Victoria University of Wellington: Wellington - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Victoria University of Wellington: Wellington - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo

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.

The intensity of the classes here are one star (I also was in first year classes, which makes a difference here). Kiwis are really laid back and so were my classes. You basically could do the readings and be fine. Lectures were mostly short definitions of the points I would need, so I would still need to read the book. All my classes put their slides online though so I could miss class and still be caught up. The only things I really had to attend were the tutorials (discussion) because they had a lot of attendance mandatory assignments. If I could do it over again I would not underestimate the work load how I did because when you get to the final you have to know all the stuff that was not overly emphasized, but were highlighted, during the course.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Have a good international office.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

It was great I lived in a university hall off-campus (Te Kotahinga) flat. I got matched up with great roommates and the location was great for getting to Kelburn campus. Met a lot of people in other housing arrangements and I was still satisfied with my choice except about the price. It would be a lot cheaper and more efficient if I would have came about a month early stayed in a hostel or something and found my own accommodation because it is very possible to do that. - also, forget about having a class in Pipitea if you live by Kelburn. It's a death sentence hour walk and if you come during the winter and it's raining with the wind, you are going to need a lot of self motivation to get up and power through it.

* Food:

Market every sunday so you get fresh fruits and vegetables. No GM meats. Can drink from the tap without worries - no filter needed. Alcohol is ridiculously expensive here both at bars and at stores. Wine is cheap, recommend learning to love it if you want to drink.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Personally for me I thought kiwis were very relaxed laidback people. I got the wonderful opportunity to hang out with the Pasifika students here and they were great! Beautiful people that I would have never gotten to meet if not for my overseas experience. I am absolutely in love with their culture and would like to be more involved in Pacific activities in the future.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Health care here is way better than the US. I had to go to the doctor because I got sick and I think because of the insurance I purchased through the schools I got free prescriptions. Another experience I had was my flatmate had an infection on her foot and when she went to the pharmacy a doctor looked at it for free for her! Something that would not have happened in America, I think.

* Safety:

Very safe you can walk around everywhere and feel comfortable. A lot of skater kids/punks though and a lot of dumb drunks in downtown but rather than that it's all good. - weather in the winter is ridiculous. rain boots would be nice. Do not bring an umbrella, just a really good rain jacket. You will use it a LOT.

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)

Food is really expensive here. Have to go to the market because stores charge exorbitant prices for produce. Market isn't dirt cheap, but you can get a weeks worth of veggies and fruits for around 20$. Meats real expensive here so I would stock up on veggies. Pak N Save is your friend if you ever go to Porirua or Newtown on the way back go visit Pak N Save. No GM meats so buy the cheapest meat it doesn't really matter. Eating out is pretty expensive here too. Fast food places are even 'expensive' No such thing as a dollar menu here.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 60-100


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

Kind of if you take into account that Maori is everywhere. Tip: 'wh' is pronounced 'f' and you will see it a lot and you will feel stupid if you're pronouncing it 'w'. I also was around a lot of islanders so I picked up Samoan and a little bit of Tongan and Rarotongan Maori. I think kiwis took a Maori class when they were younger but Pakeha (European descent) don't actually remember any of it. It's pretty rare for a white kiwi to know/remember some maori.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
How many hours per day did you use the language? 0
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Don't really need to practice. Just remember basic pronunciations so you can say place names correctly.

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

  • 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?
  • Meeting P. Islanders
  • Best grading scale ever, if you keep up with your wokr
  • exploring new zealand
* What could be improved?
  • more information on housing, finances, food prices
  • tramping information
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? To keep up with all the information dispensed throughout the semester even though the classes are very relaxed because I'm going to need it when finals come around.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'