Chloe is a Fine Arts student on exchange from Glasgow School of Art studying at Elam, specializing in Sculpture and Photography.
Why did you choose this program?
I chose this program to be able to specialize in a medium out of my specialty from home. There are not many other partnered exchanges that offer the opportunity to change your specialty within the arts on an exchange. Also, I wanted to experience the gorgeous landscapes that embody New Zealand, as well as to learn about the Maori culture. Furthermore, I wanted to push myself in my travels and go out of my comfort zone, exceeding the boundaries of countries I have previously been to.
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
My Exchange Coordinator at Glasgow made me aware of the exchange and gave me the links to apply online. After that point, accepting my offer, enrollment, travel, and accommodation were up to me to organize. The University of Auckland provided me with a great option for health insurance, and assisted me when I had complications with enrollment.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
100% get a driver’s license. I personally don't drive and didn't think it would be that necessary. There is public transport to most of the main cities and towns, but the landscapes that are renowned are in places that no bus will be able to get you to. Thankfully, I met people at the university who are Kiwi and have taken me on their adventures to see friends and family. My other piece of advice would be to remain open to exploring anything, whilst remaining safe.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
Compulsory studio attendance is two days a week from 9 AM to 1 PM, although it is expected that you attend university for eight hours a day Monday-Friday. The benefit is that the studio is open from 7 AM to 11 PM so there's open access to adjust to your lifestyle (although keep in mind that workshops run from 9 AM - 4 PM). In the first six weeks, you also had to attend one lecture a week (for Critical Studies), but that has upped to two lectures a week for the last six weeks (one for Critical Studies, and one for studio practice).
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
The biggest fear was meeting people and fitting into what can be quite a challenging environment. Also, I had fear about not finding a flat. It was good to keep actively involved with Facebook groups that the University ran, as well as general Auckland flagging Facebook groups, etc. to assure myself that I wasn't the only one who didn't know what on Earth I was doing.
How was socializing like in Auckland?
Everybody here is so beyond friendly, and you should really take advantage of that. Don't hide away from an adventure. Having only studied for six weeks, I've made some fab friends because I made sure I was open to trying new things. Also, accept that in Auckland, you cannot rely on the nightlife to fuel your social side. Clubs aren't a huge deal here, and the whole of Auckland tends to shut on the week by 10 PM, so use this time to reflect a little and not rely so much on social lubricants to meet people! It's a whole different experience to Glasgow, but it's a good break from the usual way I socialize and interact.