If you have stumbled upon this blog still trying to figure out where to study abroad then, I am going to give you a brief idea of what it is to study abroad in Auckland, the biggest city of New Zealand.
First of all, I am studying abroad at University of Auckland and the university is located in the heart of the city. Think of New York University or even Columbia University to get a mental picture. Downtown is only a few minutes walk from the university. You could virtually walk to anywhere you might need to go. Grocery, 10/15 minutes, restaurants are all over, Subway and Starbucks are two minutes away and a National Bank Branch is situated within the university. Best of all, my residence halls are only three minutes walk from the university. What more could you ask for, right? This is definitely a welcome change for me, considering I used to study in Texas, where people hardly walk on the streets. Everyone drives. And I didn’t have a car so you can imagine how trapped I felt.
Well, you might ask: what are the student residence halls like? They are fully furnished university managed apartments. A total of five person lives in each apartment with a single bedroom each, a common living room/kitchen and two bathrooms. It is definitely the sweetest apartments you can hope for. I have posted pictures of the building, living room, kitchen and my bedroom. Each apartment has a refrigerator, microwave/oven and a heater/cooler. The floors are well carpeted. When I posted pictures of my apartment on facebook, the first comment was, “It looks like a freakin’ hotel and you call it a student apartment?”
However, there are a couple downsides to this apartment, honestly speaking. First, I wanted to live with people from all over the world. And we were told that we would be staying with Kiwis, Americans and other internationals. Guess what? All five people in our apartments came from the US for study abroad. There are no Kiwis. It’s nice to live with Americans but everyone feels that it would have been nicer to live with Kiwis and internationals. Second, the laundry facility is so unreliable, especially dryers. Dryers do not dry clothes properly. Last time, I did laundry, I had to operate dryer twice (6 bucks in total) and yet it did not dry a single drop off my clothes. Frustrated, I had to hang up all my clothes in bedroom. Third, it is managed by AUT (Auckland University of Technology) and I go to University of Auckland. This means that I cannot use the computers downstairs in the lobby or the wireless here. Also, several programs are free to AUT students but we have to pay to participate.
Anyway, Auckland city is rated as one of the best cities to live in, and rightly so. It is the largest city in New Zealand and also the most diverse. There are people from all over the world and you can get all kinds of food. Needless to say, nightlife is great since this is a large city and we are only minutes away from major pubs/bars. Drinking age is only 18 here. I know I have already gotten you excited. Another interesting observation I made was how less cops are present in this city. Even in downtown, I rarely spot any cops or hear wailing sirens from cop cars. Seems like Kiwis and tourists who come here are virtuous people. It’s been less than a month but I am certain the next couple months are going to be a fun filled one. I will keep you all posted.