My intent in posting this review is to share my experience, and keep this from happening to others.
I’ve been apart of a few study abroad programs (including a different internship abroad), and have worked with international education programs in my home country, and I am saddened by the lack of care that Intern NZ shows in their business practices.
From the start, InternNZ wasn’t great to work with, it took them weeks to respond to me, they were never clear in answering my questions (I always had to send several follow ups), and I decided to chalk all this up to differences in work culture, but learned later that this isn’t common.
InternNZ hosts their Auckland interns in Unistay, a hostel. I did not find this out until 3 days before my flight to NZ. Beforehand, when I had agreed to pay for housing through InternNZ I was under the impression that I would be flatting with people, as InternNZ never stated that I’d be staying in a hostel – this is a misunderstanding that you can find in many of the reviews of InternNZ, and they still haven’t clarified this for interns, which speaks volumes.
The cleanliness of the hostel isn’t great. The bathrooms are mixed gender, with one bathroom (located far from most rooms) being for women only. Sharing such an intimate space is something that I could have warmed up to, if Intern NZ had been honest about this. I told an employee of Intern NZ that I didn’t feel safe, but they didn’t offer any real solution. On multiple occasions there was no soap or toilet paper in the bathrooms.
The kitchen is community based, which itself is a fun thing, but the kitchen equipment you’re provided is lacking in quality. A lot of the “amenities” at Unistay are broken (broken toilets, showers, stove burners, etc.) You have to pay for internet, and laundry (this is on top of the extremely high rent).
The room you stay in, if it’s like mine, is very small. This didn’t bother me, but the rent I was paying was almost 100 dollars more a week than the rest of the tenants, who didn’t go through InternNZ. This is in addition to a 400 dollar administration fee paid at the booking. When I tried to contact InternNZ about this, they dodged my questions, but eventually clarified saying that the fee was necessary because they lease the rooms from Unistay. I asked how the fees for housing broke down before arriving, and this was never mentioned.
After much thought, I decided to leave early, and attempted to get a housing refund. In total, they would continue to neglect my calls for almost 3 weeks, I was told on 5 separate occasions that they would call me back at a specific time, but didn’t. They finally called me back and told me that I couldn’t be refunded because I had decided to leave my internship. This goes against InternNZ’s terms and conditions, which I then read to the employee I spoke to. She told me that she’d have to speak to her boss. It took almost a month, but when she contacted me, she told me that Unistay wasn’t accepting cancelations, so I couldn’t be refunded.
After my final decision to leave, I informed InternNZ of my decision, and they didn’t ask why I wanted to leave, or if I was okay. They just wanted to make it clear that I wasn’t getting any money back.