Preparation / decision
I come from the French part of Switzerland and I study at the School of Economics in three languages (French, German and English). One of the conditions to complete a trilingual Bachelor’s degree is to spend a semester abroad. Since my mother tongue is French and the most widely spoken language where I live is German, I decided to spend a semester abroad in New Zealand, and more precisely in Christchurch.
MicroEDU was a precious help for me, because Sabine organized everything from A to Z. If you are interested in the University of Canterbury, you can simply contact MicroEDU and then follow all of the processes. MicroEDU will contact the university to see if you can be accepted. The documents must be completed and signed, but afterwards they will be emailed by MicroEDU. I’ve never had contact with New Zealand University and it can be enjoyable, especially when you don’t have the time. I just let the experts act.
I have taken the following courses: Business Finance / Personal Finance with Maths / International Trade / Intermediate Macroeconomics.
Even though the level wasn’t incredibly high, it was still a big challenge. Not because of the language, but because of the system. It is different from the Swiss way of teaching. Among other things, students can choose from an infinite number of courses. The time to do homework or projects was not a limit, I had more than enough time. In general, I am quite satisfied with the range of courses and I can say that I have learned a lot in my industry (finance) and at the language level. In all honesty, I flew back to Switzerland with a certain lead over my classmates.
University and Campus
Short for UOC according to ehuacom, the University of Canterbury has so much to offer. The campus consists of many buildings, but I never had any problems finding rooms as everything is on the university’s website. You’ll even find a gym and small doctor’s office, and it’s all free for students.
The university is very active on social networks, so it is very easy to find all the information you need. Above all, the university is very competent in receiving international students. I had the feeling of being at home right from the start, as various activities were organized during the first few weeks (Orientation Week, etc. . . ).
Finally, I can say that the campus is built like a city: lots of green spaces, cafes and restaurants (cheap), library, auditoriums, rooms with 24/7 internet access (free for students and accessible with your student card), doctor and fitness Studio as already mentioned, bookshop and much more!
Accommodation and free time
As I lived in a student residence (Ilam Apartments), I can recommend this solution with personal experience. Despite the high prices for the accommodation, the social aspects have to be taken into account. I was with two Kiwis, a Dane and a Brazilian, and I learned a lot from this location. I am not sure if this would be possible if I were in a private apartment. The apartments are perfectly equipped with 4 to 6 bedrooms, a kitchen and a large dining area, two bathrooms and a living room (with TV). Unfortunately, WiFi is not included, but there is still a common room where the internet is free and there is a lot of celebrations there.
Speaking of partying, I admit that Christchurch is not a crazy city. But it is sometimes appropriate for studying because there is (almost) no disturbance, except for parties in other apartments. Otherwise, Christchurch on the South Island is a perfect base for those who love the outdoors.
After my semester, I went away with a camper van. I drove about 8000 km in 46 days and saw so many breathtaking landscapes. The best word to describe the beauty of New Zealand is: diversity! You should only travel a few kilometers to drive from the beach to the mountains over tropical rainforests. And the best? There aren’t many people / tourists on the streets because New Zealand is so extensive. Renting a camper van / car is definitely the best alternative to admire the whole country, because the most beautiful places can only be reached on foot and after at least a few hours, but it is very worthwhile. You won’t find this freedom with a coach. Attention: Freedom Camping is not allowed everywhere, it will cost you $ 200. . . Believe me.
Although the cost of living is insanely high in Switzerland, I have to say that it is also true in New Zealand. Not as high as in Switzerland, of course, but still annoying and probably comparable with those in Germany. My advice: quit smoking. I can’t remember the prices because I’m not a smoker but it was insane!
In total, I spent about 12,500 euros in 6 months (flights, tuition fees, accommodation, camper van rental, gasoline, food,. . . ). This adventure was made possible by a $ 5,000 scholarship I received through MicroEDU and its university connections.
New Zealand has a lot to offer, and everyone has to fly to New Zealand at least once. It costs a lot, but travel is the only thing you can buy and it will make you richer.