The application process for Lincoln University was not as complex as it is probably at some other universities. On the one hand, this was due to the fact that Lincoln University does not require any official proof of English skills and thus the IELTS or TOEFL test is spared, and you are automatically insured in New Zealand as soon as you accept the place, and therefore you do not take out international insurance for the semester got to. And on the other hand, you don’t have to go to the embassy for the visa, you can easily apply for it online.
I sent my documents to MicroEDU in September 2015. A letter of motivation, an overview of the grades of the achievements so far, a copy of the identity card and a form completed by MicroEDU had to be submitted. The commitment from the Lincoln University went quite fast; It took about 10 days from the sending of the documents to the email about the vacancy. After I transferred the tuition fees, I was able to apply for my visa with the ‘Offer Letter’. The New Zealand immigration authorities also need the return flight ticket and proof of sufficient financial means to grant the student visa.
I booked the return ticket when I booked my flight, as the return ticket was cheaper even when the return flight was changed. This confirmation also went very quickly, within three months I had my place at Lincoln University and my visa. Here’s a little tip: If the return flight ticket is sent to the immigration authorities, the residence permit will not be issued 2-3 months earlier, but will be adapted to the planned length of stay, which is of course great for traveling after the semester.
Now it was time to look for an apartment. For a long time I thought about whether I would prefer to live on campus or outside Lincoln University and whether I would prefer to move to Lincoln or to the bigger city in Christchurch. Ultimately, I decided on ‘On Campus’ with self-sufficiency and I don’t regret it at all. The application for a place in the ‘Halls of Residence’ runs separately through the ‘Accommodation Service’. After accepting the study place, you will receive the necessary information for the application from the university. However, this confirmation took a little longer and because I received an email from the Accommodation Service in mid-December with information about alternative accommodation, I didn’t know until January whether I had to be prepared to look for another apartment. In the experience of others, the search for an alternative would have been more difficult, as there is still a housing shortage in Christchurch and the surrounding area due to the earthquake in 2011. And it wouldn’t have been cheaper either. Expect around $ 150NZ per week.
Living in New Zealand and Lincoln
In the end, I got a room in the Farm Road Flats, which was a bit outside the teaching and administration buildings, but still on the university grounds. There are around 15 simple wooden houses, each with 4 rooms with shared bathrooms, a kitchen and a dining and living area. The rent also included a two-week cleaning of the common areas. With a few exceptions, there were mainly international students in Farm Road, so almost everyone was in the same situation, which was probably also the reason for the close community that formed within the houses. I lived with two Americans and one Canadian. Americans, Norwegians, French and some Germans were the nations most represented in these houses. In other houses, however, many Asians and other nations were accommodated and the high internationality of Lincoln University was also evident in the courses. So finding a connection wasn’t difficult.
One week before the beginning of the lectures, the student representatives organized O-Weeks, which you should definitely attend. During this week, not only are information events organized for international students, but also course advice and university tours where you can get useful tips. The Maori welcoming ceremony was also interesting, one of the first of many insights into this culture that followed. The friendliness, openness and serenity of the New Zealanders became apparent very early on. Everywhere you went, you were helped immediately, which did not diminish until the end of the semester. Another benefit of applying for one of the dormitories is that so is the Accommodation Center organized many events independent of Lincoln University. Excursions are planned both in the O week and during the semester, for example we drove to Akaroa, a French town on the peninsula, on a trip to Christchurch and the surrounding area or to the wild food festival on the west coast. In addition, parties or sporting events for the ‘Halls Students’ are organized at regular intervals. Finding connections to other exchange students and locals was not difficult at all. The laid-back nature of the New Zealanders made me feel welcome straight away.
Lincoln is about 20 km from Christchurch, it takes about an hour to get to the city by bus and about half an hour by car. Lincoln itself is quite small, but the ‘township’ has everything you need. The larger supermarket can be reached on foot in about 10 minutes, further to Lincoln it takes another 10 minutes. There you will find several restaurants and cafes, small shops of all kinds, a bank and few opportunities to go out. The cityscape of Christchurch is unfortunately still shaped by the 2011 earthquake, with many construction sites and often empty streets, but the city already has a lot to offer. Malls, bars, museums and a large botanical garden mean that Christchurch never gets boring.
During the semester it is a good idea to travel to the South Island. I used the weekends to drive with others from Farm Road to the nearby Kaikoura or the Abel Tasman National Park. A two-week break in the lecture had also caused the houses to die out. Like most of them, I made my first road trip all the way south to Queenstown and Milford Soud. In general, in addition to the semester at Lincoln University, you should definitely use New Zealand and its diverse landscape to travel and get involved with the culture. I used the time after the semester and traveled the North Island for another 4 weeks.
Lincoln University and course choice
The campus resembles a park-like facility and everything in the halls is very green and well-kept. In addition to the usual university buildings, also known as LU according to AbbreviationFinder, Lincoln University has its own sports center, which offers a variety of options, from group courses to a fitness room and various university sports teams. For about 80NZ $ you can use all rooms and group courses at any time with membership. A doctor’s office, a bookstore, which also sells manuscripts of the lectures, and a café can also be found at Lincoln University. The complex also has its own vines or a fruit and vegetable garden.
The facilities are just as diverse as the courses on offer. One of the reasons why I chose Lincoln Uni was certainly the language test that was not required, but it was important to me to be able to credit as many courses as possible. Even though Lincoln University specializes in agricultural and environmental sciences, it is very easy to find subjects from other areas. I study cultural economics at my home university, which is a combined degree from different areas. Ultimately, I took courses that I can credit for in business administration, geography and English studies.
The system at New Zealand universities is a little different than in Germany. Several term papers and mid-semester tests have to be written during the semester, so that at the end of the semester the final exam only counts 40% – 50% of the overall grade. All in all, everything is much more practical, in some cases we work closely with companies and some courses also include excursions that must be attended.
I felt the system was more scholarly than in Germany, and I had the feeling that both university employees and lecturers were being taken by the hand. Unlike in the German bureaucratic university landscape, a short email or simply dropping by the lecturer was enough to resolve questions and concerns. In addition, the library staff offered various services. For example, you could either have another look at your written homework or get advice beforehand, such as research work. I would like to briefly go over the courses I have chosen to provide some insight into the requirements:
An individual assignment and a group assignment were written in International Management. Both assignments were very practical. For example, one of the assignments consisted of an analysis of a product – an existing company – and the possibility of introducing it in a new country. In addition, a mid-semester test covering around half of the material was written in the form of multiple-choice tasks and a short presentation was given.
In Supply Chain Management, 2 small ‘Learn Reflections’ were written about previously organized simulation games. In addition, two more major homework had to be handed in here.
The third subject I chose was Land, Water & Atmosphere. Worksheets should be filled out for the weekly workshops, which were then included in the final grade. And a midsemester test was also written here.
Maori Culture Studies was my special highlight. Much was covered here about the history and religion of the Maori, problems and current developments, or the language. In this course, 90% of the students were international and highly recommended because you get a pretty good impression of the culture. Four small essays, two large term papers and short presentations were required here. The lecturer also organized an excursion to a Maori village.
I had an exam in every subject at the end of the semester, but that doesn’t necessarily have to happen in every course. All in all, you had a lot to do with homework and tests during the semester, but everything was feasible and there was also time to travel on weekends. Due to the high degree of practical relevance in the assignments, the learning effect is high and, above all, you keep a lot. The courses can still be changed one week after the start of the lecture, everything that you register for afterwards must be attended and cannot be changed. Therefore, if you are free to choose the courses, it is advisable to attend several courses in the first week and then make a decision.
A semester abroad is definitely worth it and I would recommend it to everyone! During my stay at Lincoln University, I was able to gain valuable experience at the university and in my free time, which is very helpful for further studies and beyond. Even if the system is more scholastic than at a German university, it was interesting to experience student life from this side.