Alumni Spotlight: Alexander Glidden


Alex is a writer and researcher for the Yale University Office of Development. He loves being outdoors and learning about the world.

Why did you choose this program?

New Zealand is what initially attracted me, and Victoria University won out over other New Zealand universities because of the breadth of course options as well as its location in the heart of Wellington.

What did your university assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

My university assisted me with insurance, immigration, and academic matters. The major thing I needed to sort out myself was housing. There is student housing available but I wanted to live off campus.

What advice would you give to someone going on your program?

Don't be afraid to ask for help. Victoria University employs a whole host of people who are solely there to help students. Getting away from home can be stressful and the staff at VUW can help you alleviate some of that stress.

Everybody's study abroad experience is their own. I sometimes got jealous or anxious when I'd see other students traveling every weekend to exotic locations when I couldn't afford it or had work to do. Do not compare your experience to anybody else's. Figure out what you want to get out of your time abroad and focus on that.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Whatever you want it to! VUW has so many classes you can make a flexible schedule. Then, in your down-time, you are free to explore the wonderful and walkable city of Wellington.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was that I'd fall through the cracks socially and wouldn't meet the right people. This turned out to be ridiculous as most people who are studying abroad are of the same mindset and eager to make friends. I just tried to say yes to different opportunities and participate in as much as I could. If I was going to just sit in my room all day, I'd stay home and save money. Take advantage of your new environment and challenge yourself.