Also known as UOA according to AbbreviationFinder, the University of Auckland is New Zealand’s largest university with over 40,000 students and it is among the top 100 in the world. The university has eight different faculties and most of the lectures and events take place on the City Campus. As the name suggests, the City Campus is right next to Albert Park in the center of the city, with shopping and dining options within walking distance. The Owen G. Glenn building, which opened in 2008, is home to the Business School of the University of Auckland and is also located on the City Campus. On the second floor of this building there is a study area for ‘postgraduate’ students only, the ‘postgraduate study space and lounge’. For this purpose, free access can be requested from the Infodesk. In the Kate Edgar building, which is also on the City Campus, there are additional study places. Computers and printers are freely available throughout the campus. You can also find almost everything you need on campus (supermarket, bookstore, pharmacy, post office, cafés, etc. ). There are various takeaways for catering which mainly offer Asian food. There is also a delicious vegan lunch for five NZD every day. It is best to bring your own dishes. The library and the sports center are also located on the City Campus.
Many international students study at the University of Auckland, the majority from Asia (China, India, Malaysia) and the USA. The support for international students is therefore very well organized and you get quick help. Before you leave, there is a webinar with important information about the exchange semester. Questions can be asked, which are answered directly with a lot of patience. There is an orientation day one week before the start of the semester. On this day you will receive a lot of valuable tips about studying and you also have the opportunity to get to know other international students. Then AUSA Buddy Program organized an amazing race (scavenger hunt) through the city.
Most courses give 15 points, which corresponds to 7. 5 ECTS. The majority of students enroll for three to four courses per semester. The more courses you attend, the higher the semester fees. The course registration takes place online via Student Services Online (SSO) and it applies first come – first serve. You can register for the courses as soon as the semester fees have been paid and you have received your access data. Course numbers from 600 are master courses (postgraduate) and courses with numbers between 100 and 400 are bachelor courses (undergraduate).
After enrolling, you will find everything relevant for the respective course on canvas, including lecture recordings. This means that each lecture can be viewed again at home if necessary. Old exams are posted on the library’s website and the library also offers events during the semester, such as ‘talk to the locals’ or how to quote correctly, etc. Basically, New Zealanders take everything a little more relaxed and it is less formally than at the University of St. Gallen (HSG). In most courses, weekly office hours are offered where the professors are available for questions or discussions. Compared to the HSG, the effort during the semester is greater. But the effort during the examination phase is less.
I applied for the Carlaw Park Student Village (CPSV) student accommodation, which offers three and four-person shared apartments. I got a room in a three-person flat share. Almost 700 students live in this accommodation, many of whom are exchange students. CPSV organizes many events during the semester, which is especially helpful at the beginning to get to know new people. There is also a study and music room, as well as a TV room with a pool table. Since you have to bring your own bed linen, blanket and pillow, you can get an appropriate package (linen pack) from the property. However, I bought my equipment online from KMart. It is good to know that the bed size is a King Single Bed.
The accommodation is very centrally located. The City Campus is about ten minutes on foot and Queenstreet (shopping mile) in the city center is about 20 minutes on foot. With the university accommodation you already have a subscription to the sport and recreation center (Unisport) of the University of Auckland. University sport is similar to that at the HSG: You can either train yourself or there are numerous group courses offered. However, the premises are very old and therefore a new building is being built. For this reason, Unisport will move into a temporary facility from the spring semester 2020, which is located directly next to the CPSV.
I have not opened an account and have mostly paid with my credit card. However, it is still worth taking enough cash with you, as international credit cards are sometimes not accepted. You need two dollar coins to wash it.
New Zealand and Auckland
Many day trips can be made from Auckland and it never gets boring. The islands of Rangitoto or Waiheke, for example, are located in front of Auckland and can be easily reached by ferry. The weather in Auckland can change very quickly – from rain to sunshine and vice versa – as the Aucklanders say: “four seasons in one day”. It is also very windy. The city is not called the “City of Sails” for nothing. It is therefore worth taking warm and weatherproof clothing with you in the fall semester.
The pass must be shown to enter bars in New Zealand. The identity card or the driver’s license are not accepted. As an alternative to the pass, you can also buy a Kiwicard for NZD 55 so you don’t always have to take your pass with you. I’ve always felt safe in New Zealand and the people are very friendly and helpful.
The University of Auckland has a wide range of clubs with over 240 clubs. Most exchange students join the Study Abroad Students’ Society (SASS). One week before the start of the semester, SASS organizes events in order to be able to make new contacts. For events it is best to register immediately after activation, as demand is high and tickets are limited. The University of Auckland’s Tramping Club is also very popular with exchange students. This club organizes hikes lasting one to several days. I also participated in the AUSA Buddy Program, which is international students with a mentor. However, one should be aware that the mentors are often international students and not necessarily New Zealanders. However, it is only worth attending because of all the events and to get to know new people.
I really enjoyed my semester abroad at the University of Auckland and it was an unforgettable and instructive life experience for me. I can definitely recommend the University of Auckland, also because the leisure activities can be very varied. New Zealand has a lot to offer, especially for nature lovers. The landscapes on the north and south islands are very varied and there is always something new to cover.
I am always available for further questions.