Get ready to study abroad
There is no such thing as a perfect time to study abroad. It is truly an experience of a lifetime. My advice for students is to face your fears and do it anyway! If you don’t do it now, then when?
Here are a few things to think about, to help you prepare to study abroad in New Zealand.
To prepare to move from Vancouver to New Zealand I worked two jobs. I did sales and marketing in the daytime and at night time I waitressed. I wanted to have as much money saved up as I could because I knew I wanted to do a lot of travelling when I was in the South Pacific. I would get excited thinking of all the new places I could explore in the North and South Islands of NZ.
I researched the cost of living and realized that it was fairly close to Canada which made it an easier transition.
I researched about where and if I needed to set up a bank account, which I ended up doing. It always helps to have this done before you go and talking to your bank about it.
2. Course-credit transfer
Some misconceptions are that you won’t get the same education as your get back home and that can affect your grades. I recommend talking to the institution you are thinking of attending and your current one and making sure that your courses will transfer.
3. Teaching style
The classes were quite similar in many ways to Canada. However, I found the classes to be more collective in that we worked a lot of more together than I was used to in Canada. I enjoyed the difference. I did not have one multiple choice exam and I found that to be refreshing.
The most challenging experience can be being away from your family and friends. I recommend bringing something familiar from home with you. I brought pictures, some cards and my teddy bear.
5. Making friends
When I first learned about the study abroad programme through my school, I asked if there was someone who had previously done this programme and if I could get their contact information. I found this extremely useful because not only did she say yes to talking to me about her experience but she met me for coffee.
In this meeting, she emphasized the importance of joining as many groups as you can at the university. She encouraged me to join the outdoors club and I am so happy she did. Joining the Outdoors Club opened up so many more experiences for me to not only make new friends but to push my comfort zone and try new things and step out of my comfort zone! To feel the fear and do it anyways!
I feel my study abroad experience has shaped me into the person I am today. I have so much gratitude each and every day for the places I have been and all of the lessons I have learned along the way.
About the contributors
Danielle spent a semester studying abroad at Unitec in Auckland in 2011, as part of her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She now runs a life coaching company and is working towards completing her masters degree in psychology.