Although my home university is not a partner university of the AUT, thanks to MicroEDU the application process was still very easy and relaxed. With the DAAD test even is proof of language skills cheap and easy regulated, the commitment was super fast and the Transfer of tuition everything was sealed after a few weeks. I put my semester abroad at the end of my studies: all examinations were taken and only the master’s thesis still needs to be written at home. The clear advantage here is that you are not under any “pressure to perform” in the semester abroad and can also choose interdisciplinary courses and concentrate entirely on the country and its people.
According to AbbreviationFinder, AUT University is a very young and therefore very modern university. The study conditions are excellent, especially for master’s students there are many advantages, such as extra rooms with 24-hour and weekend access. I actually had to take advantage of that from time to time, as the course was more stressful than expected. Most courses include many projects and group work that take a lot of hard work, research and, above all, time and thus turn the actual 2-day week into a 7-day week according to the timetable, at least in the week before the submission. In my opinion, that was exactly the one very good opportunity to improve your (technical) English and to get to know other cultures and ways of working. The support at the AUT is also excellent. Student office and international office are available for all matters and are super friendly and helpful. Here you really have the feeling of not just being a number, especially the employees from the International Office know every name of the internationals. We definitely recommend the Noho Marae weekend, which is organized every semester for the internationals to get an insight into the culture and life of the Maori. Singing, dancing, eating and drinking in the evening are the focus of the event and you get to know a lot of interesting people. In general, getting to know the Internationals is very easy because there is a Facebook group for each semester in which you can briefly introduce yourself. Here, for example, the first trips have been planned right before the start of the lectures.
Auckland is huge, but the actual city center is rather manageable and completely expired in an hour, the AUT is right in the middle. All the suburbs that adjoin the center have endless expanses, here there are (almost) only single-family houses in the countryside. In principle, there are several options for living in Auckland. On the one hand, AUT offers a student residence, the Wellesley Student Apartment, right next to the campus, which is more likely to accommodate younger students. Many of the internationals lived here (not me) and there were parties there every day. It is also advantageous that you are here with different nationalities is thrown together, so you quickly get to know a lot of people and speak English. The disadvantage of this is that the rooms are sold out very quickly and the price is quite high. So if you are into daily parties with students around the age of 20, this is the right place, but apply for a place several months in advance. Prices range from $ 250 to $ 270 per WEEK.
Option 2 is a homestay, where you live with a New Zealand family (often with children). Here it is as if you were moving back in with your mum: you have your room, they cook for you and do your laundry, you take part in family outings and get to know the real kiwi lifestyle. Instead, you tend to live in the countryside, which involves a lot of bus travel and time is connected. The buses usually run until 12 at night during the week, on Friday and Saturday night buses also run until 3, but be careful: there is no such thing as a semester ticket, so there are additional costs for living outside, and you have to get home early – Party until late at night is (often) canceled. In general, you need a bit of luck with a host family – with some things is going great, with others there are disagreements that lead to moving out, but you only notice that when you live there. Prices typically range from $ 220 to $ 250 per WEEK all inclusive.
The third option is to search for a flat share. Unfortunately, rooms are as rare as sufficiently fast internet in New Zealand (there are no flat rates!). Perhaps that was also due to the earthquake in Christchuch, which forced many people to move away. Many students came to Auckland because of this, which made it even more difficult to find a place to live. Being on site early is definitely a must here. Finding a nice flat share in the city center is almost impossible – either way too expensive or way too small (I was shown rooms that were an estimated 6 square meters, or that I should share with another person). Outside the city center, prices go down significantly, but here you have the bus problem again. In NZ there are also additional costs – electricity is used for heating and there are no insulated houses. Finding a flat share that is not mostly made up of Asians and / or Indians is the next thing. The prices are between $ 160 and $ 200 per week, plus there are costs for bus and groceries, which are really expensive in New Zealand (but this is also due to the currently bad euro exchange rate / crisis). Once you’ve found a nice flat share, life is great (depending on how lucky you are with your roommate). Which variant you choose is ultimately up to you. Personally, I initially lived with a host family, halfway through my personal reasons I decided to share a flat, but if I had the choice again, I would take the dormitory to party.
Leisure / travel
As you know, the semester abroad is primarily there to get to know the country and its people. Anyone who is in New Zealand has to plan a lot of time to travel. The country is absolutely magnificent and a paradise for nature lovers, hikers and extreme sports enthusiasts. Rafting, bungy jumping, skydiving, climbing Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings, a glacier hike and a boat trip through the Milford Sound are among the absolute must-do’s, although the list itself would be endless. At best, you look for a few friends and rent a campervan, so you are flexible, independent and spontaneous. But the bus connections between the cities are also quite good and there are numerous providers of (youth) adventure bus tours. Also highly recommended is a trip to one of the South Seas paradises Tonga, Samoa, Fiji or Cook Islands to just unwind. I myself was in Tonga for a week, which was clearly one of the most outstanding experiences of my life, especially in a cultural and interpersonal sense.
In general, as a German, you notice how friendly and helpful the people in New Zealand are. Everything is a bit slower and everyone is extremely relaxed. The cosiness often has its advantages, there is little stress, but this often also makes people a little unreliable. Adherence to deadlines and punctuality (of people and buses) are rather rare. But you get used to the lifestyle very quickly, just like the obligatory small talk at the supermarket checkout. The way people live is definitely one thing that I am missing now. In summary, I can say that this half year has been a complete success was and will forever remain in thought. I was particularly impressed by the country and its people. The AUT is a great university with excellent study conditions and can therefore be recommended with a clear conscience.