From the very beginning of the application process, the international team of Sam, Kenneth et al were incredibly helpful in sorting me out with everything I needed, such as which papers to choose, even though they'd never even met me. They organised international support days so I could meet people in the same boat as me, and the parties they host at Father Ted's have a legendary air about them.
Living in the student village at the North Shore has been incredible. They look after you, providing a common room, quizzes to win food, trips to the supermarket, a basketball hoop and a cosy flat that isn't overcrowded. The rules were different to what I was accustomed to, being an English student, but were designed with the community at heart, and the village certainly felt like a community. The formal ball towards the end of the semester was a great event and helped everyone relax before the inevitable stress of exams.
On the academic side, I found a large variety even within my three papers. The internship had no classroom sessions, and was almost entirely practical based, which gave me lots of room to explore and work as if it was a professional environment. With the help of Cindy, the internship co-ordinator, I found a pretty sweet gig with Basketball New Zealand. Doesn't get much better than that.
Being from England with pretty much only English heritage I hadn't had too much exposure to other cultures, which made my decision to pick the Te Ara Pou Maori Leadership an easy one. Learning about a foreign culture was incredibly interesting, Jason and Ainz were great in their relaxed learning environment, and there wasn't anyone in the class who didn't enjoy it or didn't interact. Combining useful real world skills such as leadership with cultural history lessons was fascinating and a rewarding experience.
My final paper was a more traditional sporting one but challenged me greatly academically, and taught me a lot about not only the subject area, but also how to reach my potential. Tony was a brilliant in his knowledge, guidance, and interactive style. I've never enjoyed learning about theory as much as I did in his class.
The atmosphere around the university is great, and the city campus has some fantastic buildings to explore. The AuSM (Student Union) puts on free feeds and great events, while the restaurants on offer have a wide range. The support from all departments is great, ranging from international support to health or academic.
This experience is one I would fully recommend (plus you can explore the beautiful country of New Zealand too!). I have thoroughly enjoyed it and will definitely be back to Aotearoa in future.