New Zealand is PERFECT! Past Review

By (PSYCHOLOGY., Brandeis University) - abroad from 07/08/2013 to 11/18/2014 with

Victoria University of Wellington: Wellington - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a sense of independence and a huge sense of confidence in terms of exploring the world and making new friends on my own. This experience gave me a greater sense of what I want out of life - a greater balance between work and leisure.

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.

Based on my experience in NZ, the academic rigor/intensity can be as hard or easy as the student wants to make it. All of the teachers in NZ are extremely helpful and there are so many outlets for help. It is a much more casual style of teaching and it is easy to form relationships with the professors and faculty. The teaching style is different in that there is not one dedicated professor per course but multiple for the different topics of each course.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

IFSA-Butler was perfect during this process and all the faculty at Victoria were so helpful and accommodating.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved the housing option in wellington - flat style right by the university was perfect

* Food:

The supermarket was quite far away, but I liked cooking my own food and there were buses.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I made a huge effort to separate from the IFSA-Butler program as well as the other exchange girls from America. Apart from my the Americans I lived with and their friends, I mostly befriended Kiwi and international travelers in New Zealand.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I was very sick once and had to go to the hospital a few times. The doctors at Victoria were perfect and the hospital was very nice, however I had a little bit of trouble with the receipts and insurance after.

* Safety:

New Zealand is so safe! No country is perfectly safe but New Zealand stands out. I traveled around in a van for two weeks (which is very normal there) and it was perfectly safe. I had heard of a few situations (theft and a mugging) but overall Wellington and the university felt 100% safe to me.

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)

New Zealand is really expensive! Drinks, food, clothes, everything.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I'm not quite sure, each week varied so it is a bit hard to tell. I was not as careful with my money as I should have been.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Save up before hand! Additionally - I borrowed from my parents the entire time I was there, and was hit with a large number to pay back when I came home. I suggest using your own money while gone.


* 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

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • The program truly looked out for me in case of an emergency (such as earthquakes)
  • The program was very response and quick to reply to needs
* What could be improved?
  • The orientation was not great
  • The events were not as fun as some of the other programs
  • Suggestions for travel after the program
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I didn't get to go to fiji - go while you're there! Also, it really gets cold, bring all kinds of clothes. Kiwis dress well - I didn't bring enough nice clothing. SAVE UP!

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.'