My name is Koos and for the past 3 months I have been studying at the Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. First of all I want to say that, even though it’s a cliché, an exchange is a real eye-opener. I have met a lot new people and saw amazing things, all of it I wouldn’t want to miss for a bit. The preparations for the university as well as for my accommodation were really simple: I could just apply for the courses and a room on campus. The exchange coordinators here at AUT as well as in Rotterdam did everything to make the preparations as easy as possible. Living on campus was highly recommended because finding a room over here is everything but easy. It’s also really nice that a lot of internationals live here what makes it so easy to meet new people from all over the world! When it comes to a culture shock, there is none. Except for driving on the left side of the road, there are a lot of things in Auckland that are pretty similar to Rotterdam which makes it feel comfortable right away.
The people in New Zealand are known for their hospitality and how helpful they are, I can definitely confirm that! When I got lost and during weekend trips, people were always offering help and even accompany me to where I needed to go to.
The university here is a little harder than I had hoped it to be but I still manage to do a lot of weekend trips and go out during the week. Most courses require you to do some assignments, have a mid-semester exam and a final. It is more that the level of study is lower but because of all the new things you see it will feel like a holiday and then it takes more effort to actually study and concentrate. The semester here starts already in July but it also ends in the beginning of November which offers plenty of time to travel around afterwards. This makes you miss out on the summer in the Netherlands but you do have summer holiday here and to be honest, it is worth it during the travel!
Living and travelling in New Zealand does require some savings because everything is more expensive compared to the Netherlands, but you’ll get used to this pretty quick. Most things like fresh fruit and vegetables are about twice as expensive and alcohol even more.
So far I have done a 2 weeks road trip along the North Island and some weekend and day trips. Where ever you are in this country, the views are really amazing and that was exactly why I wanted to go here!
Best regards from New Zealand!