18 October 2023

Life As A Student in Dunedin: Annsen's Story | Study With New Zealand

Annsen Chen

Kia ora koutou, my name is Annsen. I’m originally from Hong Kong, and I’ve been living in New Zealand for 6 years now. This is my story.

I came to Dunedin when I was 14 and attended Otago Girls’ High School. After I graduated high school, I decided to stay in Dunedin to attend the University of Otago to study for a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education).

My goal from studying at the University of Otago is to graduate with my degree, which will hopefully allow me to find a job in New Zealand so that I can become a resident.

What is your number one reason for choosing the University of Otago?

I chose to study at the University of Otago because I have already attended high school in Dunedin and have great friends here. Their families treat me like I am part of their families as well!

To me, they are the people who have made me who I am today, just like my family. Dunedin has also given me a lot of opportunities that I am interested in, and it provides me with an environment to enrich my knowledge with things that I am interested in, like culture and my degree.

Annsen enjoying a nature walk around where she studies, in Dunedin, New Zealand

What were your expectations before you came to study at the University of Otago?

As Dunedin is famous for its student drinking culture, I was expecting exposure to a new social environment, to meet new people, and to develop a sense of belonging where I am responsible for my own attendance, studies and so on.

After my time at high school and studying at the University of Otago for two years, it’s definitely met my expectation. I feel part of the community, and I truly feel like a Kiwi.

What does your typical day as a university student include?

My day at Uni usually includes going to my lectures in the morning, going home to have something to eat and rest, and then I would either going to the library to study, do my assignments, or sometimes I would go to work in the afternoon.

At night, I would usually just go home, take it easy with my flatmates, and watch TV together.

What do you do on the weekends?

My weekend consists of catching up on assignments, hanging out at some cute cafes, having a few drinks with my friends, and always going to church on a Sunday morning.

What do you like most about the university? What is your favourite thing?

I like that the people at the University of Otago are very welcoming, and there are a lot of diversity and clubs which creates a sense of belonging to me. My favourite thing about the university is that I get to go to my classes and get to meet new people. It’s definitely become my favourite part of the day.

Having said that, I think it is very convenient that the University of Otago is so close to town where I can hang out with my friends easily or even just do different things in town to have a self-care day.

How do you save money living in Dunedin?

I think it is fair to say that it is not easy to save money no matter where you are in the world; with the current state of global economics, and Dunedin is no exception.

I usually buy a week's worth of groceries on Sundays which will cost me around $70. This will include my breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.

For breakfast, I usually have an ‘Up n Go’ breakfast drink or a bowl of cereal. In summer, I might even have a berry smoothie.

For lunches, I always do my meal prep on Sundays; making a big portion of kai (food) such as potato salad or pasta bake which I will spread across the week.

For dinners, I always find myself having things like a salad, wrap, or pita bread. I like to have something light before I go to bed.

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About the contributors
Annsen Chen

Originally from Hong Kong, Annsen completed high school in New Zealand, and began studying for a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education) at the University of Otago.