I chose to go to Massey University in Palmerston North because it has an excellent Communication department, it is all taught in English, I had the opportunity to do an internship for credit, and I had heard very positive things about the community.
Why did you choose this program?
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
Massey Study Abroad helped me with finding my residence, my flights, my transportation to campus, as well as helping me set up my class schedule, and looking after my overall integration to campus life. I organized and did a lot of research on my own, but they were my source of advice and support.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
To someone coming to Massey, I would tell them to travel as much as they can while they are here. It is such a beautiful and safe country and they should take advantage of it, as not many countries are as safe to travel in these days.
I would also tell them that while the program here is amazing and very supportive, it is up to you to integrate into your community, and get to know the Kiwis.
I advise joining clubs, being intentional in the conversations you have with classmates, and studying in the library, as it is a social area and you are always going to meet a new face.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
First off, the classes (called “papers” here) are set up very different. Most papers have a two hour lecture and a one hour tutorial, but both are on different days at different times. For example, I had a paper that was Monday nights from 4-6, and I had the option to go to a Thursday tutorial at 11am, or a Friday tutorial at 1pm.
The papers here also base grades off of fewer assignments (at least in humanities, I’m sure it’s different in science papers). For instance, for Organizational Communication, my final grade will be based off of two assignments each worth 30% of my grade, and my final exam will cover the last 40% of my grade.
My average week consists of one class per day, and working half days for my internship in the Student Mobility Office twice a week. I spend time with the friends I’ve made here, I spend time doing homework (but less time than I do in the U.S.), and I participate in club sports, the Christian Fellowship club, and the Alpine club. I also spend a lot of time traveling with other international students.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it and/or how did your views on the issue change?
My biggest fear going abroad was that I wouldn’t find my place there, that I would feel like an outsider, and that I wouldn’t make friends quickly. However, those fears disappeared within the first week.
During orientation I befriended many international students and I made a conscious effort to seek out places on campus, like the Centre and the library, where I could not only study but have opportunities to make new friends.
I also am very fortunate to be the intern at Massey’s Student Exchange and Mobility Office, which created another network I was able to integrate into. Befriending my coworkers has definitely been a highlight of my time at Massey.
Do you have any advice for traveling New Zealand?
To all prospective travelers, don’t focus entirely on the South Island. It is absolutely one of the most beautiful places in the world, but travelers often don’t make as much effort to see the north island. And the north island has so much to offer!
Cape Reinga, the Bay of Islands, Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove in Coromandel, Tauranga, the Kaituna River, Taranaki, and Wellington, are all in the north island, and are all some of the most beautiful places in New Zealand.