Program: UMSL exchange at Auckland University of Technology
Major: International Business
Term Abroad: Spring semester during junior year
Living for a semester in New Zealand was really the best experience of my life! There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of how my study Abroad experience impacted my life, especially when it comes to friends and the memories we made together.
AUT: The school you study at during your exchange in New Zealand is the Auckland University of Technology. The Campus is modern with very tech savvy classrooms, including wifi, laptops for each desk (or you can also bring your own), and smart boards. My professors were extremely nice, mostly international, and expressed an interest in where the students were coming from. Most classes followed similar schedules of a project/paper due around mid-semester break, a group presentation, and a comprehensive final at the end of the semester. One thing I found strange though was you had to put money on your student account because AUT charged you for Internet usage and printing paper in the computer labs. Most of the time it was not a problem as long as you weren't printing a lot or downloading music/movies.
Traveling: Traveling was really easy in New Zealand domestic flights on Air New Zealand were extremely reasonable, as well as international flights and car rentals. Due to the country's location in the South Pacific traveling to Australia, Pacific Island nations, or South East Asia was very common and also reasonably priced.
Activities: New Zealand is known as the adrenaline capital of the world so there were many activities and opportunities to try new things. Some that I got to participate in were Skydiving, Rock Wall Climbing, Cave Diving, Surfing, and White Water Rafting. Although there were others, like Bungee jumping, which I didn't get a chance to do.
Nature: New Zealand's landscape has a natural beauty all of it's own, comprised of volcanoes, mountains, hot springs, waterfalls, geothermal craters, rolling green hills and the sparkling Pacific Ocean. The vegetation was extremely tropical and green almost to the point where I thought it had to be a fake green because the color of some plants were so green. It was really nice to be constantly surrounded by a landscape that looked as if it were a picture and one of the things I miss the most when I returned. New Zealand was an excellent choice for studying abroad and I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to share such a beautiful country with the life long friends I made there. Just remember "Kia Ora!" it means "Hello" in the native New Zealander's Language, Maori.