IES Abroad Auckland DE - University of Auckland
97% Rating
(12 Reviews)

IES Abroad Auckland DE - University of Auckland

Spend your semester abroad in Auckland, delving into Maori culture, studying at a top university, and living in one of New Zealand’s most bustling metropolitan cities.
Our program in Auckland offers you the opportunity to directly enroll in the University of Auckland, a prestigious research university that has courses in more than 150 disciplines. The University has a wealth of options in Maori Studies and has a Marae (Maori sacred ground) on campus, indicative of Auckland's diversity and New Zealand's Maori heritage.

When you study abroad, Auckland becomes your classroom. Visit the Auckland War Memorial Museum to find out about the country's war torn past. Learn about Auckland's diverse geography from the Auckland Volcanic Field to the isthmus that Auckland is situated on. Everything you do and see—indside and outside the classroom—is part of your international education.

New Zealand
Program Type
Degree Level
Academic Year
Host Family
Official Transcripts
Age Requirement
GPA Requirement
Health Requirement
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Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

based on 12 reviews
  • Academics 7
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 8.8
  • Housing 8.4
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 1 - 12 of 12
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Amazing Experience in Auckland!

I studied abroad in Auckland from July to November (UoA's "semester 2") and had an amazing time. I took a rather relaxed couse load so I could focus more on the "abroad" part of study abroad- joining clubs, making new friends (local and international), and traveling around the country on weekends. Afterwards, I was able to spend a month backpacking around the South Island of New Zealand and another 10 days in Thailand and Cambodia- I would highly recommend all of this. Since the semester ended in November and my next semester didn't start until January in the US, I was able to go on this incredible adventure at the end of my trip.

Yes, I recommend
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New friendships in New Zealand.

Study abroad is a daunting possibility on numerous levels. For some, the prospect of a foreign language may be terrifying while for others it may be the distance from home. For me, the necessity of being alone and needed to make new friends was incredibly scary. Ironically, it ended up being the friends I met in New Zealand that made my whole experience phenomenal. There is something unifying about choosing to study somewhere so remote and so wild as New Zealand and I quickly found that the qualities that drew me to such a place were qualities shared by my peers. This being said, I would have never have discovered this if IES had not provided such a safe and easy social transition. From day one, they united us (the 24 American students) as a team and through meals, activities and field trips we explored our new city and we developed our new friendships. All of the experiences I had in New Zealand would stand alone as spectacular however they would not have been possible without the tight knit group of people I found. Therefore, if you find yourself day dreaming of weekend hikes to snow capped crystal blue pools or through golden green forests (all while taking college courses and gaining credit of course) I could not recommend New Zealand more. Also, on the possibility that you (like I) are daunted by a novel social scene- fear not. The aspects that draw you into New Zealand will be mirrored in the people you meet there and although on the surface they may seem quite different, you are all united in this experience.

How can this program be improved?
I honestly think this was one of the most well-structured and balanced programs I have been on (could have chosen.) They were careful to allow us to be free individuals all the while guiding and supporting us in our growth. They made sure to connect us to each-other and united us in our passion to discover the new country we were in.
Yes, I recommend

Amazing semester in Auckland

I cannot recommend this program enough. The staff at IES are so kind and willing to help with anything and everything you might need. They also have awesome orientation programs set up to help the group bond and get an introduction to the culture. We got to spend two nights on Waiheke Island (just a ferry ride away from Auckland), where we stayed in a Maori marae (meeting house for the native New Zealand peoples).
New Zealand itself is simply wonderful. From the amazingly kind-hearted people to the incredible outdoors, New Zealand offers an experience you will never want to end!

How can this program be improved?
The housing options offered for students vary a lot in quality. It would have been nice if this was made clearer at the time we got to select our options.
Yes, I recommend
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Definitely Going Back

My experience in Auckland, NZ, through IES is next to none. I was immediately immersed in the culture and felt right at home. The program director was extremely easy to talk to and he did so much to keep us updated on local events around the city, safety issues, and special discounts that aided with our frequent traveling! I never had a negative experience with IES and they had a perfect combination of organized events and time to explore. If I were to ever study abroad again, it would definitely be through IES. Furthermore, New Zealand is one of the AMAZING places on this planet. With postcard landscapes everywhere you look and people that are truly the most hospitable people I've ever encountered, it is a country that just cannot be beat (not to mention their food is unbelievable!!!). I have come back from this trip a different person - more adventurous, confident, and grateful. New Zealand has managed to steal my heart and I fully plan on moving there post-graduation at some point. So for anyone considering either IES as a program or New Zealand as a country, I say GO FOR IT! You won't regret it.

How can this program be improved?
Yes, I recommend
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Expectations and surprises

One of my goals and expectations of my time abroad was to travel as much as I could. I learned so much from planning and going to different places, and I'm so grateful for those experiences. Traveling was what made this semester stand out from my past semesters. But the times I did something spontaneous or said yes to a sudden opportunity were surprises that also made my experience worthwhile. I appreciate those unplanned moments as much as the ones I'd been anticipating the whole semester.

How can this program be improved?
I understand that the program is structured to allow more freedom to students. The experience really depends on the other people in the program. Since it's direct enrollment people are many different majors and focuses. If the program could have some theme about New Zealand that the group can get involved in or learn about together, that might be more rewarding and unifying for the group.
Yes, I recommend
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My first time leaving the US

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.

How can this program be improved?
IES, and my program coordinator Andrew, were actually as close to perfect as they can be. Andrew was available by phone and text day and night, he went out of his way to check on us and make sure we were having fun weekends, he took us on multiple organized trips around New Zealand, and the program did their best to always accommodate our needs. If there was one thing I would change though it would be that they provide a better way to switch housing if needed, but that's more a knock on the university and not the program.
Yes, I recommend
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So Glad I took the Leap

The decision to study abroad was, for me, sort of an agonizing decision. I'm sure lots of people decide when and where they're going to study abroad before they even pick their college, but in my case, I barely got my forms submitted in time because I was debating it for so long. Part of the issue for me is that I'm an athlete (I run track and cross country), so that going abroad would mean missing a season of track. The other factor was something I'm sure a lot of people struggle with in making this decision: I didn't want to go all the way back to square one and feel like a freshman again for a semester, not knowing the area, not knowing the university, and most of all, not knowing any people. The prospect of leaving the comfort zone I'd built around myself at Ithaca College, and missing what had the potential to be a great track season almost overcame my strong desire to experience a different life for a while, to explore the world and myself.

But it didn't. Pretty suddenly, it just sort of became clear to me that this was an opportunity I couldn't let just float on by into the land of what-if. I decided to go to New Zealand, and I am so extremely grateful to my past-self for finally reaching that decision.

New Zealand is an incredible place. Virtually any town you visit, whether it's the tourist havens of Queenstown and Rotorua, or the tiny town of Glenorchy (I don't know if there's a single stoplight in that place), there is something amazing nearby. In places like Queenstown, it's rather obvious (when you fly in, the airplanes land in a freaking valley between giant mountains, and you're never far from them in town). But even a metropolis (for New Zealand anyway) like Auckland has beaches within a short run or bus ride, and the mighty beachside cliffs of the Waitakere Ranges and even more beautiful beaches like Piha and Whatipu within a 35 minute drive. Similarly, in the other big town, Christchurch, the awe-inspiring Port Hills are a $3.50 bus ride away. There is so much to see. My best advice would be to join the tramping club (that's what they call hiking in NZ) - they organize trips all across the country and allow you to see places it might be hard to get to on your own. If you are a person who can appreciate the beauty of this world, New Zealand is seriously an ocean of possibilities. There's so much more to say, and I could go on forever, but I think the most important thing is that I'm so glad I took the leap.

Yes, I recommend
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IES Abroad in Auckland, New Zealand

Living in Auckland lit a fire in me to take on every day with no constraints, to deeply love people from entirely different walks of life, and revealed the blessing of speaking one's word into action. It was the most life-changing, inspiring, and empowering gift I have ever received. I went to class daily, but learned so much more from my interactions and relationships built outside the classroom. I took advantage of my 3-day weekends (I didn't have Friday class), and traveled every chance I could. I went deep-sea fishing, visited Goats Island and vacation homes with the locals, traveled to South Island to see Christchurch, Queenstown, and Milford Sound, and I joined the Canoe Club at Auckland Uni. I was the only member of IES to live in a home stay while I was abroad and I absolutely loved it. I wish I had invested more in the IES kids from America--whether that be visiting their flats after class or grabbing more meals with them, but overall I was able to balance my time between my host family and interacting with the other study abroad students just fine. Auckland was so so good to me and I cannot wait to return someday.

How can this program be improved?
I lived in a home stay which was incredible, but I wish I was given more information about my host family prior to leaving America. In particular, I would have liked to know how far away the house was from Uni/town. This information would have helped me approximate transportation costs per month, and how much time I would be commuting.
Yes, I recommend
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Study or Explore?

I went to New Zealand by myself, without knowing anyone else. I was a little worried at first but I ended up having a phenomenal time! I did a home stay and made a bunch of local friends, whom I went out with on weekends and showed me around the suburbs as well as the city. I traveled with some of them to Middle Earth to see the set of the Hobbit. I lived in Lynnfield right along the coast of the ocean. I went for daily jogs on the beach and saw the most beautiful sunsets that I have ever seen. I even took holiday in Melbourne with my host mum! By the end of my stay, my friends even threw me a Halloween Costume going away party. It's been two years and I still keep in touch with them via social media. And I actually made one of the best, closest friends I have to this day over there. She lets me stay at her house whenever I come back to visit, and we send gift packages back and forth to each other whenever we get the chance. I met some of the most inspiring, wonderful, caring people abroad and they definitely enhanced my life. I did get homesick, but my Kiwi friends helped me out so much and stood with me through it all. It was truly an amazing experience that I would do over in a heart-beat.

How can this program be improved?
Since I did a home stay, one thing I think would be beneficial would be meeting/communicating with your home stay family in advance. They give you information on your home stay family, such as who lives in the house, if there are an kids or pets, where they live, some of their likes and interests, etc. But they do not provide any information to contact your host family to get to know them before you arrive. However, my home stay worked out perfectly so I have no complaints!
Yes, I recommend
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Sweet As

NZ was amazing- by far the best six month experience I could have asked for!! From Auckland (where I was based) to Dunedin, the country is beautiful and filled with incredible people. There is never a shortage of things to do and see. Each day my schedule was flexible and would go to the beach after class one day, caving a different day, tramping the next, playing on the uni's ultimate frisbee team, and the like. Weekends I traveled with friends to places both near and far. Getting around in NZ is pretty easy once you get the hang of it. If you choose to go, be sure to visit the South Island and make sure that you have enough time to enjoy everything around you. Somehow time seems to fly by faster in NZ than in any other place. I cannot wait to get back!

Yes, I recommend
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Get out and explore!

I studied abroad at the University of Auckland last fall in 2011 and had the most memorable and enjoyable experience of my life.
The only downside to studying abroad was that I was not able to get my chemistry class to count for credit towards my major. So definitely make sure that you check with your home university for credit transfer.
I stayed in a dorm called the International House and I absolutely loved it! The majority of these rooms are singles and every floor has a lounge space. The rooms were comfortable and bed linens were provided for every student. This dorm was a mix of about 50% kiwi students (mostly 1st year students) and 50% international students from all over the world. I feel that a lot of people who lived in homestays did not meet too many people outside of their exchange program. Apartment living was nice, from what I hear, but I think living in a dorm is the best way to meet a lot of new and different people. In addition, this particular dorm had its own cafeteria and this is how most students met each other and socialized. But, like most campus dining halls, the food variation was not the greatest and there were not many choices for each meal. There was always a vegetarian option though.
In terms of academics, I was completely satisfied with 2 out of my 4 papers. My Spanish and New Zealand Youthwork papers were great and I loved the teachers. My Educational Psychology paper was boring and my Physical Chemistry paper changed professors 4 times for each topic change and I did not like that very much. The class sizes were good though. About 20 students in my Spanish class and about 40-60 for the other three lecture style papers. The work load was not bad at all, but for my lecture style papers, the majority of my grade was determined by one midterm/research paper and one final. Also, I loved having two weeks of spring break and one week of "reading period", the time in between the end of classes and finals.
My favorite part of being in a new country was definitely travelling. Every chance I got, I would rent a car from Jucy with a few friends and go somewhere new. We visited places all over the north island, such as Rotorua, Taupo, Matamata, and Pureora Rain Forest. There are so many outdoor and adventurous activities to do, like bunjy jumping or hiking, but there are also a lot of other, tamer, activities, like a set tour of the Shire (LOTR) or visiting the zoo. In addition to this, for spring break, two friends and I flew down to the south island and rented a camper van for two weeks. We traveled around a good majority of this beautiful island and had the time of our lives! We flew into Christchurch and witnessed the devastating effects of the earthquakes, saw the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park, went catamaran sail boating in the Tasman Sea, took a boat cruise around Milford Sound, jumped off the canyon above the Shotover River in Queenstown, and ate chocolate at the Cadbury Chocolate Factory in Dunedin. So my advice to anyone studying abroad: Get out and explore! I think it is so important to take advantage of the numerous opportunities that each country has to offer.

Yes, I recommend
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A Sweet As Experience

I studied at the University of Auckland with IES in Fall of 2010 and had a life-changing experience that I would not trade in for anything. I arrived in New Zealand as a shy and constantly stressed girl, but I quickly learned that there was a better way to living.
I met so many new and different people and had to put aside all of my biases and close-minded views so that I could immerse myself into a new culture and benefit from it.
Studying at the university was a lot different than my university back home in Texas. Students were not constantly worried about their grades and GPA, but rather looked at education as a learning opportunity instead of a resume and statistics booster. In this way, students were more able to relax and enjoy life outside of class. I found myself studying during the week, and taking relaxing trips to the beach or countryside over the weekends, something that I would never do back home since I was always sitting in a library studying or catching up on sleep. I definitely absorbed this mentality towards education and still use it today. It has made my academic life so much more enjoyable and I am grateful for that.
I lived with four other students in a student apartment, which was quite an experience since we were all from different countries. I learned a lot from this housing situation and become even more accepting of other cultures. I would recommend student housing since you will be able to meet more students from all around the world. I did have a mate who chose to live with a host family though, and her experience with her Kiwi family was also amazing, so the choice is up to you! I think both options are great. As long as you are an outgoing person, you will be able to meet other students.
The country itself is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and it has so much to offer. The Kiwi people are absolutely wonderful and friendly and they are always willing to help you throughout your travels. There are also so many outdoor activities to do, so make sure that you take advantage of them even during the semester. I myself even stayed in New Zealand for a month after finals ended so that I could travel and enjoy the country. I would definitely recommend doing this!
Overall, I truly enjoyed my time in New Zealand, made unforgettable memories, and made some amazing friends who I still keep in touch with frequently. I miss it so much that I am actually going back at the end of this year to work there for 8-9 months!

Yes, I recommend

About IES Abroad

IES Abroad offers 140 programs worldwide for college students. We are a highly charged force of study abroad enthusiasts. Every day we have the privilege of witnessing how study abroad changes our students’ lives. We also believe that every student...