My first time leaving the US

Academics: 4
Support: 5
Fun: 4
Housing: 4
Safety: 4

In high school I never even thought studying abroad was something normal kids did, just those who spoke 5 languages and were wealthy enough to travel. Once my sophomore year of college started I realized it was something possible for me too. Right away I made it my mission to make studying abroad possible. I had to change my degrees around a bit, load up on classes, and I saved all my gen ed classes for going abroad. Picking a place to go was difficult, but it ultimately came down to New Zealand because I wanted to experience nature like I never had before. Next I had to pick my program provider and I ended up choosing IES because they offered extra excursions and the option for homestay.
The University of Auckland is a beautiful and accessible campus, even though it's significantly larger than what I'm used to and I had no problem finding my way around after exploring the campus before classes started. The quality of learning there may be better or worse depending on where you come from; I had 2 wonderful classes and professors, 1 decent one, and 1 bad one. It would be helpful to look up reviews of professors if you can, though I think most classes only have one professor teaching it. The thing I disliked most about classes abroad was the size and style of teaching. I'm used to class sizes around 20-30 people, intimate relationships with other students and the professor, and tutorial style teaching all the time. It was quite a change having over 100 people in every class and adapting to lecture based teaching. It encouraged me to procrastinate since I'm not the best at managing my time and priorities. One thing I would recommend is to take a culture or history class pertaining to your country, my Maori studies class was by far one of the most engaging and interesting classes I've ever taken as a student (I had a wonderful professor and many guest lecturers).
It was a little hard meeting people in my classes because they were not interactive classes like dance, music, or philosophy, and because they were not first year classes so people already knew their classmates. Even though I hung out with locals in clubs and bars, the other IES abroad students became my best friends there outside of the classroom.
Adjusting to life in another country was easier than I expected, I only had a learning curve with public transport. I got lost many times but nice people on the street always helped me out! It's also incredibly easy to get absorbed in the city life and forget about your studies in another country because sometimes it seems like you're on a vacation instead of on an exchange. Thanks to my study abroad experience I can't wait to keep on traveling. I can't picture myself tied down to a desk anymore.

Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would
Year Completed