My decision to do a semester abroad in New Zealand had been made for a long time. But when the time really came, many slips of paper had to be filled out and documents gathered. With the support of answerresume, however, the entire application process has been simplified a lot and one thing should be anticipated: the effort was worth it!
Since my university in New Zealand unfortunately did not have a partner university, the search was a little more time-consuming than usual. By contacting MicroEDU , I quickly found a suitable university and they contacted the university for me. Application forms and documents were forwarded directly to the university and I did not need to send the original to New Zealand. That made the whole process faster and easier.
The university offers various types of accommodation for the students. Since the campus is a bit outside of Christchurch, the next big city, I decided to live on campus. There was a choice between a student residence with meals or without. In the end I opted for an apartment with 4 people and self-catering. Applying was easy because the university was very well organized here. Mostly there were apartments with 4-5 students. Unfortunately there were very different standards for the different apartments, which would not have been a problem if they had been offered for different prices. Otherwise, you quickly met new people here, and most importantly be able to make international contacts.
If you go to New Zealand as a student, you automatically have to get health insurance from the university. That made the whole search for the right insurance a lot easier. It is even advisable not to take out any other German insurance. I only had to take out extra insurance for my trip afterwards, as the insurance from the university was only valid until the end of the semester and not until the end of the visa period.
The Lincoln University is located on the South Island of New Zealand and very near Christchurch. With around 5000 students, it is more of a small university. In comparison: Wellington has approx. 20,000 students and Auckland approx. 33,000. Nevertheless, compared to my university, it was nice to have a real campus at home. Among other things, that was something I wanted to get to know there. It was of course super practical to have everything on campus. Live and study in one place. On the other hand, you often only had the campus, as Christchurch was 45 minutes away by bus. For a semester that was totally okay, but I think it could get boring quickly for the whole study period.
The workload at the university was a lot higher than I was used to at German universities. You had to work almost continuously on the regular submissions and there was almost no time for activities on the weekend. There were much stricter regulations for taxes and the time windows for projects were many times shorter than in Germany. Especially at the beginning it was a shame that you couldn’t do something with the international students more often because you always had time pressure with the submissions. Nevertheless, I learned a lot of new things. Especially because of the new course and the new language. I am studying interior design in Germany, but in my semester abroad I have landscape architecture. If you live in an accommodation on campus you had the opportunity to use the fitness center free of charge. There were many courses and opportunities to meet new people. There was also an organization from students for students who organized many parties or events.
My fellow students were great. I was lucky to have a lot of Kiwi’s (locals) in my courses, unlike other international students. They showed me a lot and helped me a lot, and even after university we often did something together.
During the semester break in April I finally had time to explore the South Island. After I bought a car right from the start, a couple of people from the university went all over the South Island for two weeks at the beginning of the vacation. The landscape that we were allowed to experience was simply outstanding. Again and again there was a new scenic highlight, although one actually thought it couldn’t get any better. It was way better than any of the photos or videos I’d seen before. We hiked a lot in time and did many kilometers by car as we wanted to see as much as possible.
All in all, everything in New Zealand is a bit more expensive, you notice that quickly. Especially when it is winter the prices in the supermarket are rising, especially for vegetables. But otherwise you have to plan a little more money here than in Germany. Nevertheless it is possible to live quite cheaply.
In conclusion, I can say that all the effort to organize the semester abroad in advance was worth it. Even if the time invested in studying couldn’t be compared with that in Germany and was really exhausting at times, I learned a lot of new things and, above all, got to know a great country and great people.