I studied at Victoria University of Wellington from late February to late June 2012 (one trimester). In Germany I am studying international business with a focus on accounting. The offer at the VUW is very large and I had no problems at all finding suitable lectures for myself.
The application process in collaboration with MicroEDU was very good. All inquiries to the university were forwarded immediately and answered very quickly. Communication with New Zealand also surprised me very positively. All my concerns were answered very quickly, despite the 12-hour time difference.
I had already tried to organize an apartment or a few appointments to view the apartment in advance. However, I wasn’t very successful from Germany and didn’t get any replies to my email. Especially for the New Zealand winter semester (February) it is peak time for students in Wellington who are looking for accommodation. I arrived about two weeks earlier and was able to find good accommodation very quickly. There are also student residences there, which are also recommended, although the student residences are quite expensive compared to private accommodation. I have been looking for a room in the Thorndon town area which is quite close to the Commerce and Law Faculty, paid about $ 170 per week which was a good price for the area. City areas that are centrally located and the city is easily accessible on foot include Mount Victoria, Te Aro, Thorndon, Oriental Bay, Mount Cook and Newton. Back then, I was looking for an apartment in these parts of the city.
According to iamaccepted, the VUW is spread all over Wellington, about a 30-minute walk from campus to campus. Commerce & Law (Pipitea) can be found near the train station, Architecture (Te Aro) a little further in the center and the rest of the faculties on the mountain in Kelburn.
The study system at VUW is slightly different from that in Germany. For me it was the case that we always had homework, midterm tests and smaller projects that also contributed to the final grade. So we were pretty busy during the semester. However, the content of the course was appropriate and I was able to take away a lot of new knowledge. At the end of the trimester there are final exams, which are usually only 40-60% of the final grade. Of course, it always depends on what you are studying.
If you need books for your courses, you can check the blackboards of the respective faculties to see whether there are any as second-hand, which is usually the case. You have to be quick, however, because many of them usually sell out quickly. There are also secondhand books at Vicbooks, where you can also buy the new books.
The local support I found very good. There was a special program organized by the VUW for international students such as Maori shows, international days, speed dating etc. But I always felt that I was in very good hands during my studies. The Kiwis are very helpful and courteous people and they live it every day. If you had specific questions about the content and various things, you could go to office hours, etc.
On the part of the VUW, you never felt alone as an international student. The International Office has always organized events in which one could participate and get to know other international students. There is also the VIX Club, where VUW students organize typical kiwi events (potluck), go climbing, go to restaurants, clubs, etc.
We had two weeks off over the Easter holidays. Together with other students, we then traveled through the South Island. We rented a car, which was quite cheap for 4 people for 2 weeks about $ 500. In New Zealand there are various possibilities for excursions of all kinds. You can find everything from sightseeing to skiing, bathing in hot springs, wine tasting and of course a lot of hiking trails with cheap accommodation in so-called “hats”. There are always international students who want to travel around. During the semester, too, we occasionally rented a car and drove north to Rotorua, Lake Taupo and Napier for wine tasting. You can spend the night in hostels for a reasonable price everywhere there. In New Zealand there are so-called “i-sites” in every place. It is always advisable to go there first and find out what you can do in the place where you are.
A one to two day trip to Tongariro is highly recommended. It is just unbelievable what you see there and if you book a night in the Huts, you can enjoy a dreamlike view with sunrise in the morning.
Especially in and around Wellington there is a lot to experience and discover. Wellington is quite a small city but still has a lot to offer. Everything is within walking distance. There are bars of all kinds and culinary very international, from Asian to Mexican, everything there. You can ride your bike into the mountains or to different stretches of beach. There are two streets where everything happens in Wellington, that is Cuba Street and Courtney Place. There you will find all the bars and shops.
Nevertheless, as cheap as it sounds, living is a bit more expensive than in Germany. Groceries in the supermarket like NEW WORLD are a little more expensive than in Germany. I also found the rent a bit expensive at around 400 euros per month in a shared apartment. On Sundays there is a fruit market on the Wellington Waterfront, where you can buy fruit and vegetables cheaply. The prices are around half cheaper than those in the supermarkets.
Conclusion: New Zealand is a country with an incredible landscape. Traveling around there was always impressive. For me it was a priceless experience. The people there are super nice and you get in touch with them very quickly. The university is very well organized and offers a lot for students. I would recommend everyone to study there. By studying there, I became much more independent and learned to do projects on my own, since in Germany we usually only work in groups.
So don’t be afraid to fly to the other side of the world, once you’re there, it’s not that bad and you learn a lot for your life.