Esmely Munoz

Esmely is an Accounting & Financial Management major at Bucknell University. She loves to travel and learn about Social Justice wherever she goes!

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Why did you choose this program?

Arcadia made the information on their programs readily available and easy to find. This made it super easy to understand the details and requirements for different countries and universities. They had all the details laid out which was super helpful. Orientation details of fun and cultural learning had aligned with what I wanted out of my study experience.

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

My Program Manager was super helpful in finding my syllabi for potential classes I could take at the University of Auckland. The Arcadia team gave a lot of important insights regarding booking flights, applying for courses, and what to bring to New Zealand. They held a pre-departure webinar which was super helpful.

On my own, I had to look up and do a bit of research on what courses could transfer over to my home university. I had to ensure I had a budget in mind prior to my arrival to New Zealand. Although the process was stressful at the time, comparing it to other student experiences, it seems like all I had to do was book my flight and come over here!

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Take advantage of everything Auckland has to offer. It is such a grand city full of culture and exciting (sometimes free) events. Make sure to go to an All Blacks game; I’m not the biggest rugby fan, but the amazing sportsmanship from the team and the energy from the crowd will have anyone hyped!

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

The week really depends on what courses you decide to take. It can be very similar to your average day at your home university. The walk from my flat to the University of Auckland is only about 15 minutes. The university is massive compared to mine so expect a lot of students walking around and hanging by the Commons before class. The city campus is very centralized, and all the buildings are within a 10-minute walk from one another.

In terms of social events, our Support Coordinator sent us a weekly newsletter to keep us up to date with things to do around the city and the country. The University also offers many opportunities for socializing such as clubs, networking events, speakers, etc. Every week, there was the possibility for new adventures!

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 wouldn’t make the most out of my Study Abroad experience. I was anxious that I wouldn’t be doing enough travelling or making enough friends which were my indicators that I had been truly seizing my opportunities in New Zealand.

There was a lot of pressure from friends and family back home by asking what new exciting thing I was doing and what my next plans were. Although it was difficult, I reminded myself that I took the leap and I went abroad. Honestly, that alone is super exciting and noteworthy. The whole point of studying abroad is to study, and I spent a lot of time ensuring I was keeping up with some of my rigorous courses at Auckland.

I had to let myself have fun at my own pace and resist comparing my experience to those of other people in my program or my other friends studying abroad.

What was your favorite thing to do in New Zealand?

I was accepted into this consulting opportunity called ThinkPod. It is a club on campus that provides free consultancy services to charities in New Zealand. My project was with Zeal, a nonprofit whose vision is “to positively influence every New Zealand young person through creativity.”

The work was not easy but it provided me with a lens on the dynamics of different Social Change organizations in New Zealand. My team on my project was full of amazing and talented leaders. They answered all of my silly American questions and have taught me so much about leadership with their work ethics and skills. I am forever thankful that I could work alongside them with Zeal!