Anthea - University of Auckland

B Wildlife Science
Semester 2, 2022


I had always wanted to go on a semester exchange to another university oversees. I was keen to go on an adventure, experience living in another new country, and study interesting courses that are different to what's offered at home.

Personal development

While overseas I had to learn how to be more self-reliant and confident in my own abilities. I really enjoyed learning about a new culture and the history of the country in which I was living. I got to meet lots of people and made new friends that come from around the world. Going on an exchange taught me that I was braver than I realised and that I could move to a new place by myself and really enjoy the experience.

Academic development

Since starting my degree I knew I wanted to go on a semester exchange, so I saved as many electives as I could. This gave me the freedom to choose any university and study any course I was interested in, as long as it was relevant to my degree. I enjoyed all the courses that I chose at the University of Auckland as I learned about environmental issues and wildlife management from a New Zealand perspective.

The workload was very comparable to UQ. However, due to the courses I chose, I did have to do a lot of writing. On the plus side, this allowed me to improve my writing technique and become more confident in my research skills.

It did take a bit to get used to the different software and operating system that the university lecturers used but once I got a hang of it, there was no problem. If I ever had a problem or questions about the work all of my lecturers were friendly and always willing to help if I needed it.

Professional development

One skill I appreciated developing was my ability to network and talk to people. I learned a lot from other students and lecturers who were working and studying in areas that I am very interested in. This allowed me to think more about future studies and career paths.


I found the cost of living in New Zealand to be higher than living in Australia. I was lucky I was based in the middle of a major city which meant there were lots of options for public transport so I didn't have to rely on taxis or Ubers. As soon as I arrived, I got myself a public transport card which had university student discounts which allowed me to travel all over the city fairly cheaply.

I lived in student accommodation, and while the weekly rent may have been higher than living in an apartment I chose the cheapest residence available and chose to have a roommate which further lowered costs compared to a private room. My residence was also close to bus stops and the CBD and it was only a 10-minute walk to the university campus which meant I didn't have to pay for transport every day.

I chose a semi-catered option at my residence which meant I got seven meals a week at my hall's cafeteria which would be my dinner at night and I would make my breakfast and lunch, and only have a couple of meals out a week.

I enjoy travelling and going on trips but those things can add up quickly. So by joining some of the university's outdoor clubs I could carpool with people and go on trips for a lot cheaper than if I organised them myself.

Overall I think I spent around 9000 AUD on everything during my semester exchange including food, accommodation, flights to and from Australia, and any trips I did during the semester.


The funding I received helped pay for my accomodation while on exchange. Accomodation and flights were my biggest expense, and the funding I received was a great help in reducing the financial stress.


I found sorting out my accommodation to be fairly straightforward. I chose to stay at the university halls which made things easier. I research all the options at my host university and chose one that wasn't too expensive, was centrally located to campus, public transport, and grocery shops, and provided me with the flexibility to cook my meals or have a catered option.

While I chose to share a room which had its pros and cons. It allowed me to save money, but it was difficult at times to share a room with a roommate who had a different sleep schedule.

When I arrived I bought a linen pack through my hall which included sheets, towels, pillowcases, and a blanket so I didn't have to bring all the stuff with me from Australia or worry about buying it later.


I thoroughly enjoyed my exchange at the University of Auckland. There were so many great highlights of my experience. I enjoyed the courses that I studied, learning and talking with my lecturers, experiencing what it's like living in New Zealand, making new friends, and getting to travel around the North Island. I appreciated all the fun trips I got to go on with the university's outdoor clubs and seeing the amazing outdoors and scenery of New Zealand.

Advice/Top tips

You are only on an exchange for a short time so make the most of every opportunity you are given. Don't be afraid to do things on your own. Living overseas in a new country can be scary and a lonely experience sometimes. But that can allow you to learn more about yourself and what you're really interested in. It can be confusing trying to learn about a new place, system, or culture, so if you ever have a question or a problem it doesn't hurt to ask for help.