University of Auckland students have the opportunity to study at the University of Iceland.

An increasingly popular tourist destination, Iceland is primarily known for its beautiful and awe-inspiring scenery. University of Auckland students have the opportunity to spend one or two semesters in Iceland.

Let’s hear what our students have to say…

Joanna Cho_Iceland 1135 (1).jpg

I landed in Iceland without knowing a single person, without knowing what to expect, yet as my departure date steps closer one calendar block at a time, my heart aches as I say goodbye to this beautiful place I now call home. Living in Reykjavik has been
like discovering a soul mate in the form of brightly coloured houses that resemble toys, and a creative energy that seems to have painted everyone in the vicinity. It is a quaint city with so much personality. Tiny cafes, comfortingly cozy with mismatched armchairs, candles in wine bottles and aged books on peeling shelves. The record stores that invite you to sit and listen to music in peace as the owner offers espresso in white china, and always, always looming in the near distance, the giant mountain range Esja with its snow-capped peaks. This city is individual, with fearless, beautiful people donned in impeccably artistic outfits as they sip their coffee. There are no fast food stores, no American pop music blasting from shop doors, no clichéd ideas of what a modern city should resemble. It’s unlike any other place… I mean, the people believe in elves! What a surreal dreamscape.

I have been here for nine months. When I first landed I felt lonely and despondent just thinking about how far away from home I was, but within a few days I had made friends and began to feel less afraid of exploring. Erasmus is an international student network organization that operates around Europe, and the group here in Iceland organized excursions such as hikes and activities such as pub crawls, along with parties in a local bar every single weekend. For the first three months I lived in the student dorm which was newly built and better than any student dorm I could have imagined.

I would often go on road trips. Driving outside of the small city is breath taking… There are so many spots that are perfectly sublime. Icelandic people have a strong connection to nature and work hard to protect it, with 85% of the country’s energy coming from renewable sources.


Iceland is a great country for outdoor activities and carries a reputation of being
environmentally friendly, in a way it is like the New Zealand on the other side of the world. The people there speak Icelandic, a unique language that is still very similar to the language of their old viking ancestors. It is common in Iceland to eat lamb, seafood, skyr (similar to yogurt) and liquorice. If you want to be more adventurous you could try the fermented shark (Hákarl) paired with the black death liquor (Brennivín). The living cost in Iceland is higher in comparison, but if you stick to buying groceries at the Bonus supermarket it is not as bad. Agriculture is more difficult to grow in their soil, so they either import or grow them using geothermal heating in greenhouses. All of the electricity in Iceland is derived from renewable sources and you will never run out of hot water.

The classes in the University of Iceland were taught in a familiar way that is not so much different from Auckland and it was not difficult to make friends as other students were also eager to meet new people. During some of the group assignments Icelandic students can seem unengaged, this could be because English is their second language and that many of them had families to take care of which I found surprising. I travelled almost every week in Iceland to a different part of the country, because there are just so many things to see. The most popular destinations are along the ‘golden circle’ and the south coast, but you shouldn’t miss going to Snæfellsnes in the west, Akureyri in the north and the Westfjords in the northwest. It is easy to go on a trip, find enough friends to fill up a rental car, book your hostels then off you go. Camping and tramping are also very common in Iceland with many routes to choose from in the highlands, but be careful to not risk it during winter. The weather in Iceland can also change abruptly so be sure to bring appropriate clothing. During the spring and summer months puffins migrate to the country which is something that cannot be missed. The days get super long in the summer where the sun never sets and super short during winter where you only get 4
hours daylight. Iceland is a country where the nature takes charge with unpredictable weather and drastic changes in seasons, it has amazing landscapes and the largest glacier in Europe (in area) that can easily be seen. If that does not impress you, then go for the aurora borealis.

For more information, email us at


5 Things You Will Master On Exchange

New Year, New You. Or should we say, new experience, new you! You will return with many good stories (to annoy your family and friends with), a whole load of confidence (I can do anything!) and become a master of these 5 skills!

    1. Navigation


Although the GPS is a very handy tool to help you find your way around, it’s also good to know your directions and how to read maps. You’ll become an expert on knowing which bus route to take (and which not to take), which train will get you to where you want to go (and not take you in the opposite direction) and how to look out for landmarks! Yes, it can get stressful if you lose your way, but it’s all part of the experience in terms of navigating your way through a new environment and thinking on your feet (quite literally)!

      2. Communication


You’ll become a pro at picking up the words and phrases that you need to get by. Especially if you’re going to a country where you don’t understand the native language(s), you’ll surprise yourself at what you can learn and interpret! Who knows, you’ll start to talk more with your hands and become so skilled at the art of gesturing!

     3. Time management


There is no time like the present! Your time management skills will definitely be put to the test as you balance your studies, co-curriculars and travel. You’ll get better at knowing when to show up for things, how to plan your time and ensure that you complete your assignment on time so that you can enjoy that hike or weekend getaway.

     4. Independence


Adulting! Yes, independence is a large part of adulthood. You will be awesome at fending for yourself because you will be responsible for everything (yes, is sounds daunting, but trust us, you will impress people when you get back with your independence).

    5. The art of conversation


If you were shy before, you won’t be after this! Chances are you will be studying in a place where you don’t know anyone. This presents the perfect opportunity to make friends and network with people that you meet! Although it can seem scary at first, take a leap of faith, be brave and chat to people! Start off with basic conversation starters (e.g. Where have you come from? What do you study?) and work your way from there. Pretty soon, you’ll be a natural (and make a lot of friends)!

Tell me more!!!

Come see us at 360 International during our office hours. You can get advice on available exchange programmes, how and when to apply, and more. Also, if we haven’t convinced you, come anyway. Because we will!

  • We’re located in the Kate Edger Student Commons on the 4th floor next to iSpace.
  • Office hours are from Monday to Friday, 2pm-4pm.

Also, check out our website for more information:

And, in an act of shameless self-promotion, follow us on social media:


University of Auckland students have the opportunity to study at three partner universities in Spain:  Universidad de Granada, University de Oviedo and the University of Salamanca. 

Let’s hear what our students have to say…

Sonya Stephen_Granada 1143 (1)

Granada, Spain was an amazing place to live and spend my semester abroad. It is a small city with hundreds of years of history and such a diverse culture. Because Granada was the last region in Spain to be conquered by the Catholic monarchs, it still retains much of its Muslim heritage, which I found to be an exciting mixture of cultures. (Sonya Stephen, University of Granada)

The lifestyle in Spain was also a highlight for me, with food prices being very reasonable, and the timetables being very laidback and relaxed, it made it possible to go out for tapas or drinks on a regular basis and in Salamanca it was possible to go out any day of the week, as the student atmosphere was so great. (Hannah Freeman, Salamanca)

Nanako Ohashi_Granada 1125 (2)

The culture in Granada is really different from Auckland as well, due to the more easy-going nature of the Granaiños (as they are called.) Normally, in Granada, the weekends and the nights are taken up by hanging out with friends in the many teterías (Arab tea houses), going to the tapas bars or going clubbing. Eating out the Spanish way (tapas) is extremely economical as buying a drink means that you will get a small plate of food for free. (Amelia Tan, University of Granada)

The main highlight of Granada was, without a doubt, the tapas -you pay 1.5 to 2 euros for a drink and an always amazing tapa dish (Bar Poe is my favorite place in the world). Tapas is a traditional Spanish custom, but also a crucial part of Granada’s huge youth culture -one third of the city are University students, which gives you an idea of how vibrant it is. (Angus Blyth, University of Granada)

The highlights of my exchange was just being surrounded by Spanish all the time, meeting a mix of people that I would have never met, and exploring a new culture with other exchange students. I loved Spanish food, the tapas that Granada is famous for, and the weekly trips that were organised by student groups of the university. I loved all the nature I was surrounded by, and all the culture. There was always something to do there. (Nanako Ohashi, University of Granada)

The city itself is very attractive, centered on the magnificent Plaza Mayor, which is buzzing with people almost without pause. As the city is so well known as a place to learn Spanish, there are many, many exchange students from all corners of the globe. This can make finding the Spaniards tricky, as they tend to keep themselves to themselves… but it can be done, particularly through language exchanges – meeting someone who, for example, speaks Spanish and wants to learn English, and having a conversation, practicing both. (Harry Harknett, Salamanca)

In Oviedo there is an organization called ESN which is dedicated to the foreign students, they organize all kinds of trips around Spain and to Portugal as well as parties and ‘tapas nights’. (William Webster, Oviedo)

Angus Blyth Granada 1153 (3)

Having already been to Salamanca for a month previously with the Spanish Study Abroad program, I was already more than familiar with the city. At first I stayed with a host family while I studied at the Uni’s language school (highly recommended to get a head start with the language, given that all classes in Salamanca are taught in Spanish) and searched for an apartment, after which I was flatting with two others for the remaining four months. The apartment was nice and had a spectacular view of the cathedral, although the inability to turn off the heating proved an issue for quite some time! Living costs were incredibly cheap compared to Auckland – 350€ a month for accommodation, utilities, food. (Harry Harknett, Salamanca)

Before arriving, I found a flat online in the centre of the city with two flat mates that I was yet to meet, but would soon become great friends. (Hannah Freeman, Salamanca)

Holly Gillan_Granada 1153 (2)

Course difficulty and workload varies immensely between subjects. Arts subjects such as Political and Social Sciences seem to be quite straightforward and not too heavy on workload, but check the prerequisites first. Science subjects, like Maths, on the other hand, shouldn’t be underestimated: read the syllabi thoroughly before choosing your courses and try not to overload on papers because you could find you’re in too deep, especially as they can be really tough on marking and have very different teaching and assessment methods to what you’re used to! (Gabrielle Dyson, University of Granada)

Something that was really different from Auckland is that the relationship between the professors and students are not so formal either, with the students addressing the professors by their first names and meeting up for coffee to talk casually. (Amelia Tan, University of Granada)

The official exam period for semester 1 typically runs from mid-January to the beginning of February. However, a great many courses, though not all, offer everyone the option of taking earlier exams. That said, they are generally flexible, and will allow exchange students with pre-booked flights home to squeeze in all exams before they go. Expectations and workloads could even vary dramatically between two professors who co-taught the same course. Not going to class would be a bad idea, because at least in my courses, a couple had attendance/participation marks, and almost all did not specifically upload class notes to Studium (the CECIL equivalent). On the whole, it was much like UoA in that I had professors whose teaching style I got a lot out of and learned a lot from, and a minority, where this was less true. (Aine Kelly-Costello, Salamanca)

Sonya Stephen_Granada 1143 (3)

Luckily in Salamanca there were a lot of exchange students, and through tours of the city and meetups I made great friends from all over the world that I was able to hang out with and travel with during the year. Since they were all from different countries, including Spain and South America, I ended up speaking Spanish almost the whole time during my exchange which definitely helped me improve and allowed me to enjoy using the amazing language. (Hannah Freeman, Salamanca)

One of the great things was ERASMUS, an international student organisation that allowed you to meet other internationals and they organised a lot of trips around Spain. Travelling around Spain was relatively easy with cheap busses, I managed to explore a lot of Andalusia, Barcelona, Ibiza, and even got to travel to Morocco, which only takes a 1hr long ferry ride from the bottom of Spain. (Kathryn Chung, University of Granada)

Holly Gillan_Granada 1153 (1)





University of Auckland students have the opportunity to study at six partner universities in Australia: Australian National University, University of Melbourne, Monash University, University of New South Wales, University of Queensland (incl Nursing) and the University of Sydney. 

Let’s hear what our students have to say…

  • Melbourne was such an amazing city to live in. It definitely lived up to and exceeded my expectations. (Emily Wood, Monash University)
  • My time at the University of Melbourne was a lesson in budgeting and restraint, and a daunting undertaking for a small town kid. The excitement and opportunity of the bright lights and big city soon dealt to this, and the exchange was an overwhelmingly positive experience which I would recommend to anyone. (Andrew Bester, University of Melbourne)
  • Throughout the semester I have gradually become friends with many people of differing backgrounds who provide different and interesting opinions all throughout various topics. Moreover, I got to expose and immerse myself to a new people, cultures, political background, and develop my independence. (Scarlett Li, University of Sydney)
  • Being thrown in the deep end at a new university pushed for personal growth and independence away from the comforts of home. Whilst challenging to start with, this is something I would never take back. (Karen Goedeke, University of Sydney)
  • You learn to look after yourself, make new friends and re-establish yourself in a new city, which helps to make you a stronger and more independent individual. (Morgan Archer, University of Sydney)

On Culture


  • Although there is not as great a cultural difference between Australia and New Zealand as with other countries I still found it very exciting to explore the many rooftops and alley ways in a vibrant new city. I loved being able to hop on the tram to get to one of the many delicious cafes as well as seeing the ever changing street art all over the city. (Emily Wood, Monash University)
  • Melbourne is a diverse city with a rich culture. The city is has a strong emphasis on the arts, such as performing arts, literature, visual arts, and culinary arts. In the city you will find many street performers and street art. Hosier Lane is popular for its street art and it is a great tourist attraction. (Joshua Wang, University of Melbourne)
  • Melbourne was very well placed for travel within Australia. Trips to Bali and the Barrier Reef were popular, and road trips around Victoria were amazing. For any future travellers, I would highly recommend the Great Ocean Road and the Grampians National Park. (Andrew Bester, University of Melbourne)
  • Living in Melbourne is happier for people who like fashion , movie,and shopping because there is the largest shopping center in the southern hemisphere called “Chadstone” and Melbourne International Film Festival.Rich and colorful painting is one of the artistic features across the whole city. (Lijia Rong, Monash University)
  • Australia like New Zealand, is a country also famous for its multiculturalism, with diverse cultures and ethnicities living together. By living there for five month with other international exchange students, I have not only learnt more about culture diversity but also knowing how to respect and celebrate it. This has allowed me to experience the opportunity of meeting new people with different cultural backgrounds in every class but also feeling accepted by others. (Scarlett Li, University of Sydney)
  • I felt drawn to Melbourne due to the rich cultural and architectural heritage, and therefore the centrally located Caulfield campus of Monash University was an appropriate fit. Living in Melbourne was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and it was so hard to leave that I extended my stay over Christmas up until the start of semester 1 this year. (Nicholas Johnston, Monash University)
  • Locals say that the heart of Melbourne lies in the labyrinth of side-streets, graffitied alleys, tram trips and ethnic districts of the melting-pot which all hint to the artful atmosphere of European cities. Nevertheless, Melbourne retains an undeniably Australian pride that underlies this mixed culture. (Rufus Cuthbert, Monash University)
  • Sydney’s festive atmosphere meant the city always had something going for it. Music festivals, the vivid light festival, winter wonderland and weekly fireworks meant getting out was always a new adventure. (Karen Goedeke, University of Sydney)

On Orientation


  • The program for their inbound exchange students was set up very well. They planned plenty of activities in the city and weekend trips which meant I was able to get to know some really amazing people for all over the world. (Emily Wood, Monash University)
  • The amount of activities that were planned for all the international students was astounding – everything from bowling and trampolining to city sightseeing and even the chance to sign up for several trips around Australia that included bungee-jumping, skydiving, tramping in the Australian bush, white-water rafting and much more. After this surge of events and experiences in the opening week I suddenly found myself with a bunch of new friends from all over the world, not to mention a lot of good stories. Aside from the activities, orientation also smoothed the transition into study at the internationally recognised university. (Rufus Cuthbert, Monash University)
  • I would highly recommend a college experience as the antics never end, starting off with a bang in O week with their annual orientation of all the new college residents. (Morgan Archer, University of Sydney)

On Housing


  • I lived in the residential college called International House (IH) which brings together approximately 350 graduate and undergraduate students from Australia and everywhere else around the world. During O-week, the freshers (myself included) went around Melbourne city to do many team building activities to bond with those in IH while getting to know the city better. (Joshua Wang, university of Melbourne)
  • The campus was only a short train ride from my accomodation and there were many great facilities for studying as well as having some down time. (Emily Wood, Monash University)
  • I chose to sort out my own accommodation as I wished to stay in the city as opposed to out on campus and this was also a very easy transition, through Facebook groups I had sorted a flat to move into before I even arrived in the city. (Nicholas Johnston, Monash University)

On Academics


  • The courses I took were super interesting and unique to Monash as the lecturers were all very personally invested in their subjects. I did find the work load quite intense and had to really manage my time well but I learnt so much while I was there that it was definitely worth it. (Emily Wood, Monash University)
  • The professors in UoM were very professional and helpful. I found the courses I did over there very practical. (Joshua Wang, University of Melbourne)
  • Despite a different (and brutal) marking schedule, the course at Melbourne was largely the same as Auckland. Class sizes were smaller, and more courses were offered, but the half marathon between one end of campus and the other cast Auckland in a very favourable light. As in Auckland, the academic and support staff were very capable and helpful, which certainly helped. (Andrew Bester, University of Melbourne)
  • The classes tend to be much smaller and more interactive. Lecturers emphasise greatly on class participation and class presentations. (Scarlett Li, University of Sydney)
  • The school experience of Monash University was a little different than I was used to and adjusting to a different education style was definitely a bit of a challenge at first. Whilst I had anticipated a change, the transition was a little bumpy but in hindsight I am appreciative of the diversity this experience has added to my studies.(Nicholas Johnston, Monash University)

On Travel

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

  • I was fortunate enough to have the to opportunity to visit the Great Barrier Reef as part of one of my courses and then Byron Bay in my semester break. I traveled around Victoria in a way I never would have otherwise, including trips to the Grampians National Park, Phillip Island and the Great Ocean Road, all of which I would highly recommend. (Emily Wood, Monash University)
  • Highlights of the exchange were getting to travel around beautiful Victoria, to beaches, the bush, and music festivals – spending long hot summer days sitting in parks with friends or swimming in water holes near the city. (Nicholas Johnston, Monash University)
  • Fortunately, there were many chances to escape from study and take a few trips around Melbourne itself and Australia: sunbathing on the golden beaches of Cairns, diving at the Great Barrier Reef, hiring a car to drive along the Great Ocean Road and Sydney sightseeing. These travels were definitely the highlight of my time abroad. My advice to any students thinking about going on an exchange would be yes, do it, do it now. The opportunity to get a new sense of university life in a different city, explore another country and meet lifelong friends from around the world (who have couches around the world) should not be passed up. (Rufus Cuthbert, Monash University)
  • The highlight of my exchange was travelling around Melbourne and meeting new people from Australia and also other parts of the world. Also, I enjoyed Melbourne city very much as it had a great night life. (Joshua Wang, University of Melbourne)



  • The opportunity to get a new sense of university life in a different city, explore another country and meet lifelong friends from around the world (who have couches around the world) should not be passed up. (Rufus Cuthbert, Monash University)
  • You won’t regret what you do, you’ll regret what you won’t do. (Karen Goedeke, University of Sydney)
  • I would certainly recommend it anyone who was considering an exchange. The opportunity to get to know another corner of the world should not be missed, even if it is only a short plane ride away. (Emily Wood, Monash University)
  • The exchange programme is really well organised and I would thoroughly recommend getting involved to any student looking for a change of scenery whilst keeping their studies going. Would love to do it all again! (Nicholas Johnston, Monash University)
  • I would highly recommend everyone and anyone applying for an exchange as it is definitely an experience you will learn from and remember for years after you finish studying. (Morgan Archer, University of Sydney)


University of Auckland students have the opportunity to study at twelve partner universities in China:

  1. China University of Political Science and Law (Law only)
  2. Chinese University of Hong Kong (incl Law)
  3. City University of Hong Kong
  4. Fudan University
  5. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Engineering Only)
  6. Nankai University
  7. Peking University (Law only)
  8. Renmin University of China (Law only)
  9. Sun Yat-Sen University
  10. Tsinghua University (incl Law)
  11. University of  Hong Kong (incl Law)
  12. University of Nottingham at Ningbo


Let’s hear what our students have to say…


I wanted to challenge myself by being out of my little comfort zone. Also I wanted to dramatically improve my spoken Chinese language skill as well as written skill by interacting with the native speakers in the excellent Chinese university. Tsinghua University was such an excellent choice of host university, because it is originally well-known for its high quality of education service.
– Sam Bak, Tsinghua University

I had been to Hong Kong as a tourist before, but, this time, as an exchange student, I felt so excited when I first arrived both in Hong Kong and at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Hong Kong is an extremely prosperous city, everything is so different compared to New Zealand. For example, there are lots of beautiful lightings all around the city, people usually stay up and get up until very late, there are lots of delicious street food and snacks in Hong Kong, everyone somehow seems to be so busy and stressful all the time as they rush even when on the street.
– Sandy Jiang, Chinese University of Hong Kong

I made many lifelong friends from all over the world during the semester, and also realized that I do indeed have a “kiwi accent” something I never realized I had. This exchange has shaped me into a more mature and independent person and is definitely an experience of a lifetime I will never forget.
– Fiona Fang, University of Hong Kong

At first it was really daunting to think about going on exchange – the whole thing gave me jitters since I was really afraid of stepping outside my comfort zone and being alone, but I gave it a shot and I don’t regret it.
– So Yu Han, University of Hong Kong


On Culture


Peking University has a beautiful campus, which turned vibrant shades of red and yellow as fall set in. The large Weiming Lake froze over and students were able to go ice-skating and play winter sports on it. The campus is located nearby other leading universities in the north-west corner of Beijing. Student life thrives in this part of town. China also has excellent railway networks and cheap domestic flights, making faraway provinces easily accessible for weekend trips.
– Lucy Toepfer, Peking University

Food in Hong Kong also forms a large part of its identity. The exchange students and I tried a variety of street food, local food and alternative food. One of my best memories was having lunch with my friends, searching for snacks immediately afterwards, then planning for dinner!
– Yanqing Wei, Chinese University of Hong Kong

There’s always something to do outside of the university and is super easy and cheap to get around quickly using the city’s comprehensive underground metro. For shopaholics, there are an absurd amount of malls if you’re into tax free shopping and also markets where you can haggle your way to a good bargain. For a day time adventure away from the concrete jungle, Hong Kong offers plenty of breathtaking nature hikes as well as the standard tourist attractions. At night, popular activities include a visit to the horse races, followed by a night out in Lan Kwai Fong to experience of the world’s best night life.
– James Hui, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Hong Kong. This city is so vibrant and alive; a city that never sleeps. Neon lights, billboards and signs light up the streets. The night life at LKF, eating the quintessential dim sum at 3am in K-town. Learning the slang from locals. The fast moving pace of the city and its people. It never seems to stop.
– Fiona Fang, University of Hong Kong

While researching about Hong Kong, people described Hong Kong as a melting pot of different nationalities and cultures but I found that people in Hong Kong well preserved its own, unique culture, while getting along with people with different nationalities.
– Michelle Kim, Chinese University of Hong Kong

When I first arrived in Shanghai, I was amazed by the range of things this large city had on offer, there was a wide selection of food, including all kinds of cuisines, my favourite was the xiaolongbao which is a kind of shanghai traditional bun.
– Muyang Wang, Fudan University

I lived like a Beijinger in my second semester. I rode a bike to and from uni, dodging between cars and the hundreds of scooters on the road at any one time. I spoke only in Chinese almost all the time and found myself having complicated and interesting conversations with both teachers, friends and people I met in my day to day life. This brought with it a huge level of satisfaction which helped to make time fly by and as such my memories of my second semester are dominated by recollections of the time eating with my classmates or preparing together for our exams.
– Tom Henderson, Tsinghua University


On Orientation


During orientation week, we were shown around the campus and our colleges. Through the semester, CUHK also organised a lot of cultural trips and activities for us. For example, we visited the Big Buddha, the Ngong Ping fishing village and also the Hong Kong Legislative Council.
– Yanqing Wei, Chinese University of Hong Kong

The orientation programme organised by the university is great with many opportunities to meet other exchange students and also to familiarise yourself with the campus.
– James Hui, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Orientation week at the host university allows me to meet many new friends from all over the world.
– Sandy Jiang, Chinese University of Hong Kong

The University of Hong Kong was great with catering orientation for exchange students with a 1-day programme from different speakers to introduce you to the university services and the Hong Kong culture.
– So Yu Han, University of Hong Kong


On Housing


Each student at CUHK is affiliated with a college, where we also stayed. SH Ho was my college. One of the best memories was having afternoon tea with some other students of the college with our college master. CUHK offered on-campus accommodation to the exchange students. We typically shared a room with one or two other local/international/exchange students. My roommate was an exchange student from Taiwan. At first, I was very nervous about having a roommate because I have never shared a room with someone I didn’t know or for such a long period before. However, my roommate unexpectedly ended up being one of my best friends from my time on exchange.
– Yanqing Wei, Chinese University of Hong Kong

The university accommodation is comfortable, although it is a lottery for which hall and roommate you get, as some are better than others. The best part is that all your friends live right next door so a good time every night is guaranteed. The university halls do not provide any cooking facilities therefore cooking your own meals is problematic. However, there are so many options when it comes to food on campus especially if you love Asian cuisine.
– James Hui, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

I was one of the lucky people that got university administered accommodation and lived in the Student Flats on Sassoon Road, where I met some amazing people by living with five other girls and experienced sharing a room with two other people. It was small, like typical HK flats due to the dense population in Hong Kong but it was very affordable since it was university administered.
– Fiona Fang, University of Hong Kong

The accommodation at my host university was very small but exposed me to a very simple way of living- that I think is important that you learn to live in simplicity. I think it definitely makes you appreciate New Zealand and its luxuries.
– Jessica Young, Tsinghua University

The international students and exchange students all live in a special area called the Fudan International students’ village. They have very nice facilities there and some dorms even have a view of the bund, the international students village hosts activities during festivals which makes it very easy to make friends. In Fudan, almost all students live on campus, this makes bonding easy which makes the environment very friendly and everyone is quite approachable.
– Muyang Wang, Fudan University


On Academics


I did not only learn Chinese language/culture but also learned various fields of study such as journalism, communication and Beijing’ foreign policy towards its neighboring countries. For example, students were encouraged to develop their own theories in order to write the term-papers. They were allowed to choose what topics they want to write about in their essays, and I enjoyed writing my essay regarding my favorite topics such as China – Korea international relations etc. I was glad that I made a right choice for the host university, because I believe that non-Chinese language programs gave me a huge motivation to continue to study Chinese even after I complete my bachelor degrees.
– Sam Bak, Tsinghua University

Studying there through the Auckland Abroad programme is a fantastic opportunity and privilege. My lecturers were among China’s top legal academics and were very clear and forthcoming in their analysis of legal development in China. My favourite class was Chinese constitutional law.
– Lucy Topefer, Peking University

The class sizes at the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s law school were smaller and tutorials or seminars occurred weekly. This allowed us to interact more with our teachers and classmates, ask questions and engage in discussion.
– Yanqing Wei, Chinese University of Hong Kong

The courses at UST are relatively similar to UoA in content and difficulty, and all courses are taught in English. HKUST uses a bell curve grading system where there is no set passing grade and instead an established percentage of students obtain each letter grade. This makes passing courses very easy but also getting good grades a challenge.
– James Hui, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

The courses and professors teaching my programme at Tsinghua were very useful- luckily the programme was in English! During my time at Tsinghua, we had some of the top regional architects from Asia come to tutor us with great knowledge and networks in the field of Architecture.
– Jessica Young, Tsinghua University

The language class was amazing. Learning a language full time with people who don’t speak your native language forces you to use the language you are learning. This incredible environment allowed English speakers, Europeans, Koreans and people of other nationalities to communicate in any way they could using Mandarin. I made some good friends who I spoke only Chinese with and this is an opportunity I have sorely missed upon coming back to New Zealand.
– Tom Henderson, Tsinghua University

On Travel


Some favourite memories involve exploring Beijing’s hutong labyrinth, summer camping on the Great Wall, and watching the sunrise from the Summer Palace.
– Lucy Toepfer, Peking University

Because of Hong Kong’s central location you can easily plan quick weekend trips across Asia to places such as Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, China or a day trip to Macau.
– James Hui, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

I made a lot of friends with local students and international students, to travel around Hong Kong. From touristic places such as Star Ferry, Big Buddha, and LanKuaiFung, to local places such as Shatin. Shatin is my favorite shopping centre!
– Michelle Kim, Chinese University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a very vibrant and busy city, with a cultivated and reserved culture but also with very dominant values. With 20% of its land only used for urban and residential areas, and 80% of it being undeveloped, it has something for everyone. While being famous for being the shopper’s paradise for almost anything and having great dim sum, I escaped the densely populated city by exploring different hiking trails, seeing a different side of Hong Kong with a newfound appreciation.
– So Yu Han, University of Hong Kong

Tips and Advice


While I was on exchange, I had good opportunities to interact with other groups of people that I never experienced when I was in NZ. If someone loves talking with new people and getting new friends, being on exchange is a great chance to enjoy!
– Sam Bak, Tsinghua University

As an exchange student it is easy (and valuable) to befriend other exchange students, especially when studying in a country in which you face a language barrier. It is important however to make connections with locals too.
– Lucy Toepfer, Peking University

Ultimately, the people I met were the highlight of my exchange. Words for those going on exchange – it will fly by very fast, so make lots of good friends and try lots of new things.
– Yanqing Wei, Chinese University of Hong Kong

Studying Abroad at HKUST has been the most unforgettable experience highlighted by the amazing people I’ve met along the way. The piece of advice I could give to anyone thinking of studying abroad is just take a leap and go for it!
– James Hui, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

The advice I would give students thinking about exchange programme is to challenge yourself and choose a destination that is not so common and will push you to work harder and smarter and will also challenge yourself in terms of your personality. Being out of your comfort zone will force you to grow so I think choosing a destination where you can learn and somewhere that is not a common holiday experience is a great opportunity to be exposed to a new culture and understanding how other people live.
– Jessica Young, Tsinghua University


University of Auckland students have the opportunity to study at various universities in the United Kingdom

Let’s hear what our students have to say…

  • Most people think of going to London when they think UK but Sheffield is an underrated northern city with plenty of history, greenery and home to the Arctic Monkeys. It was voted the most generous and the safest city in the UK in 2015 and really lives up to this reputation. It’s an industrial city, with more trees than people and a village feel. Sheffield is a student city, where statistically the most graduates decide to stay on. (Natalie Wood, University of Sheffield)
  • Being away from home, I always felt very excited and found the people very friendly. It was at times a bit cold and wet in England, but not as cold and wet as I had been told it would be. Generally, it was full of beautiful architecture and public transport was very good. (Richa Garg, University of Birmingham)
  • One of the exciting things about going on exchange is being thrown out of your comfort zone and being put into a new environment and calling it home for a while, I remember my very first impression of London being how big it is. I can safely say that it’s the biggest city I’ve ever seen in my life. Kingston was a very suburban town about 40 mins outside of London city, this made it feel quite easy to settle down. I remember walking around in Kingston thinking of how lively and cute it is, as somewhat of a student town I felt like I was going to have a great time living here there seemed to be so much to see and do. (Roberto Panovski, Kingston University London)


On culture

  • When I first arrived in London I must admit I was pretty overwhelmed. London is a huge city and walking down Oxford Street was nothing like Queen Street in Auckland. I had never seen so many people, buses or stores. However, within a couple of days I quickly realised that I loved London and there was just so much to see. (Allanah Colley, King’s College London)
  • Orientation was incredibly helpful and gave me the opportunity to make loads of friends. Both local and exchange students. Sheffield has the best students union in the country, with plenty of offices, tour guides and drop ins no matter where you are. They had plenty of activities set up, there was a dance, games, historical tours, campus tours, workshops to sign up for clubs and weekly weekend trips to other UK cities. (Natalie Wood, University of Sheffield)
  • King’s offers a rich selection of clubs and activities. Their student union is amazing, and there’s always something to head along to – a student play, or a debate for Black History Month, or the student bar to commiserate about election night. I joined the Literary Journal editorial team, and helped to produce a beautiful edition which we launched with the help of wine and crisps in the middle of the city. (Sophie van Waardenberg, King’s College London)
  • At first I was slightly apprehensive of the fact that I would be living in Kingston, as it is a 40 minute train ride away from London city, but I quickly learned how amazing this would prove to be. I still remember how excited I was on my first day going to London city, seeing it for the first time I was amazed. I made the effort to go into London city every Saturday to explore and see as much as I could in the city, it became natural walking around in that colossal city and navigating the tube system was so easy I got to the point where I didn’t need to look at a tube map. There were so many benefits to living outside of London city, I got the best of both worlds. (Roberto Panovski, Kingston University London)


On orientation

  • With the events put on by the Study Abroad team at King’s during Orientation week I found it very easy to make friends (even though I was nervous about this!). I truly made lifelong friends at King’s who became my new family and were a source of invaluable support during my time away. (Allanah Colley, King’s College London)
  • Orientation Week, or Fresher’s Week as it’s known in the UK, was no disappointment and some of my finest memories from my exchange are from that first week. (Sebastian Bailey, University of Manchester)
  • Also, Leeds University had many welcoming parties for exchange students like me which gave me many opportunities to talk to and get along with many other people from different countries. The orientation was good, the staffs were very friendly and easy to talk to. I loved the Leeds University as the campus was so much bigger than Auckland University and academically there was less pressure on grades and the courses were not as tight and difficult so allowed me to have some relaxing time. (Jiwon Hyeong, University of Leeds)


On housing

  • With King’s College I was lucky enough to live in Borough, which is very centrally located and within walking distance or a quick tube ride away from most of London’s sights. I was living in one of the University’s Residences, and was paying relatively cheap rent for being able to live so centrally. My flat was full of other study abroad students from around the world, and I made lots of friends through my Hall. (Allanah Colley, King’s College London)
  • In Manchester, my accommodation was “Oak House” which is situated in Fallowfield. I had my own room and shared a bathroom with three other girls. My flatmates and I became very close, we cooked meals and baked delicious sweets in our kitchen throughout the semester. (Briana Putnam, University of Manchester)


On academics

  • I really enjoyed the classes I took at King’s College. I took European Politics and English Literature papers, including a Shakespeare paper where I had classes at the Globe Theatre! My lecturers were all passionate, helpful and very knowledgeable in their fields. (Allanah Colley, King’s College London)
  • All my lecturers were very professional and very helpful especially towards exchange students, always taking the time to answer any questions properly after class. The courses I took were interesting, and actually made me excited for more study. (Richa Garg, University of Birmingham)
  • Studying at King’s has been an absolutely incredible experience. From the daily crossing of the Waterloo bridge in getting to classes to the afternoons spent in the Dumbledore’s office like Maughan library, from the passionate lectures given by professors with posh British accents to the Friday afternoon tutorials that promised a peaceful sunset view of the Big Ben. Together they take you on a journey through time, a journey through the past 188 years reminding each and every Kings’ student of the rigour and diligence with which the generations of scholars have worked in search of the truth. As a student at King’s I was constantly challenged and thoroughly enjoyed the rigorous academic atmosphere. (John Liang, King’s College London)



On travel

  • When I wasn’t studying, I spent my time in London going to markets, parks and gardens, visiting Buckingham palace, exploring art galleries and museums, getting lost in bookshops and department stores, being in the Graham Norton audience, wandering past the Thames river, going to musicals and shows on the West End as well as eating delicious food. There really is something for everyone in London – it is such a vibrant city and there is always something amazing going on. (Allanah Colley, King’s College London)
  • I visited the Peak district often, it is a 5 pound return on the bus. There are beautiful cycling trails, hikes and quant villages to explore and its right on your doorstep. Flights to Europe are also insanely cheap. I went to Portugal, Macedonia, Hungary, Ireland, Bulgaria and Germany. All of these flights ranged from 10-30 pounds. This makes it affordable if just for a weekend. (Natalie Wood, University of Sheffield)
  • Manchester also has a very big international airport, and I was able to pick up extraordinarily cheap flights to places all over Europe. I was able to visit places like Tenerife, Hamburg, Dublin, Barcelona and lots more places for outrageously cheap prices. (Sebastian Bailey, University of Manchester)
  • It’s easy to escape, too. As well as exploring Cardiff and Bath, I wandered around Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Munich, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Salzburg, Barcelona, and Paris, and the list goes sickeningly on and on. If you’re lucky, you can grab a ten-pound flight to France and have a weekend away, eating pastries and pretending to speak the language of love. (Sophie van Waardenberg, King’s College London)
  • While Studying in London I took great advantage of this opportunity and visited 12 countries with friends during weekends and study breaks. This has by far been the most memorable experience in my life, the friendships developed during these travels, the diverse cultures explored and the different people I got to meet are all intangible assets that will I cherish forever. (John Liang, King’s College London)



  • I felt this exchange programme gives you broader views of seeing the world because during the exchange period and while you travel, it allows you time to think about a lot of things: about your future, about yourself etc. which, I believe, actually helped me become more mature and gain more confidence through this time. (Jiwon Hyeong, University of Leeds)
  • I learned that I can accomplish a lot more than I thought I could and part of this was due to what I would recommend to future exchange students: make the most of your experience by getting involved in University life, seek new friendships and soak up as much information and culture as you can. Furthermore, even though it may be tempting to spend the semester partying and travelling, university life on the other side of the world is definitely an experience not to miss as well. (Briana Putnam, University of Manchester)

USA: East and South

University of Auckland students have the opportunity to study overseas at over 125 partner universities in over 25 countries. One of the most popular destinations to study abroad is the United States. Our American partner universities are all diverse and renowned institutions, providing students with equally as diverse cultural experiences and academic opportunities. In this post (the second of three), we hear from past exchange students who have studied in the Eastern and Southern regions of the United States as part of the Auckland Abroad program. Our partner universities in the East and South are The University of Maryland, The University of Virginia, College of William and Mary, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, The University of Georgia and American University

Update: As of Semester 2, 2017 we are now partnered with The George Washington University in Washington DC!

“While America isn’t the cultural opposite of New Zealand like some other exchange programs, culture shock still hit me. From the super-sized food, to realizing Greek life isn’t just in movies and perhaps even that America might just be the greatest country in the world, at least for the college experience anyway.” – Josh Barkle, Rutgers University

The University of Maryland

“The moment I stepped onto the College Park Campus, I was met with a Campus that looked like it belonged in a magazine. I had my own room in a hall only a thirty second walk to the diner, which supplied all my meals. It was a huge hall with eight different ‘mini restaurants’ to choose from, including pizza and pasta stations, sandwich and salad stations and a make-your-own-waffle station. With three days jam-packed full of orientation events, the exchange students quickly formed friendships which grew closer and closer till it felt as though we had been friends forever. In my first week, I attended a ‘Pep Rally’ (as seen in many American films), an American Football game, and bore witness to a ‘flash mob.’ Over the next few months, I would attend stimulating lectures, join the circus that is students supporting their university sports teams and go on weekend excursions to the Niagara Falls, Toronto, New York (complete with watching a show on Broadway), Baltimore and Virginia. When I had an afternoon or morning free, I could take the metro for 20 minutes and find myself in the capital – Washington DC. Wandering around the Smithsonian Museums, spotting Obama at the White House and visiting famous monuments.” – Klara Klippel, The University of Maryland

The University of Virginia

“The buildings of the University are stunning and one of a kind – it’s a World Heritage Site for a reason. Despite many of the buildings being in red brick, I found the grounds to be overwhelmingly green and full of foliage, and moving into the Fall, Charlottesville only gets prettier. While the University’s bus system does a really great job of getting you around Grounds to wherever you need to be, when you live in a place as beautiful and scenic as this, why take the bus?” – Christine Winspear, The University of Virginia

“I remember arriving in Charlottesville, Virginia and straight away, the University presence was extremely obvious in the town. I was surprised to see UVA banners at the airport, hanging in windows around town and logos even printed on the road! The University itself was beautiful; both the buildings and the grounds, and my first impressions were that UVA was something that you’d see in the movies. Everyone was so lovely and friendly in Charlottesville, and the fact that I was a New Zealander was a huge hit! From the moment I arrived until the moment I left, I absolutely loved America!” – Sarah Menzies, The University of Virginia

College of William and Mary

“William and Mary is situated in the picturesque town of Williamsburg, which is one of the original English colonies that was settled on the Virginia peninsula. Because of this history, Williamsburg is always bustling with re-enactors, festivals and markets. As the second-oldest university in the United States, William and Mary is treated as a vital part of this historic community. William and Mary has a beautiful sprawling campus, scattered with colonial houses that have been converted to classrooms. The campus is always buzzing with activity and there are plenty of clubs to involve yourself with. Everyone is extremely welcoming and there is a strong school spirit that unites the student body.” – Elle Crump, College of William and Mary

“I was lucky enough to spend 5 months living abroad in Williamsburg, Virginia, while studying at the College of William & Mary Law School. Living in Williamsburg was surreal. Aside from looking like something out of a storybook, Williamsburg was a living museum, with a large part of the town dedicated to colonial re-enactment. Stepping into colonial Williamsburg really does feel like stepping back in time. William & Mary is historic in more ways than one. The Marshall-Wythe School of Law was founded by local Virginian Thomas Jefferson in 1779, and is the oldest law school still operating in the United States. As an American history buff, it was amazing to be studying somewhere that was so at the heart of American law and politics for so many years!” – Hannah Thomson, College of William and Mary

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Processed with VSCO with m3 preset

“UNC is a typical American college campus, with a beautiful tree lined quad, sports stadiums and an overwhelming amount of school spirit and pride. UNC is the perfect mix of academic study and extracurricular activity. I can promise that you will never be bored in Chapel Hill! The faculty is exceptional and the learning opportunities are once in a lifetime. UNC’s exchange organization, EASE is a great resource for incoming students, providing mentorship, networking and events throughout the year. My advice to any exchange student would be to make the most of every moment abroad. Partake in research projects, connect with faculty, volunteer and get involved – these opportunities not only enrich your experience abroad, but look great on a resume to future employers! My year at UNC was the best year of my life – you will be challenged, rewarded, welcomed and excited by all that being a member of the UNC family means. UNC Chapel Hill will become a part of you – once a Tar Heel, always a Tar Heel.” – Courtenay James, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

“Firstly, Chapel Hill in 400 words is a challenge. I could spend days talking to someone about what it means to be a Tar Heel. No word of a lie, if you choose Chapel Hill, you are on the door step of the best semester of your life. Chapel Hill is a small college town in North Carolina. UNC is the clear academic front runner on our list of options – if you’re after a truly southern college experience. The campus is stunning, everywhere you look there is beautiful scenery and a bunch of squirrels. The weather in this town is near perfect and the social scene is a lot of fun. Whether you are into country music, quirky bars or fraternity parties, there is something for everyone at UNC Chapel Hill.” – Joanna Appelman, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of Georgia and American University are two of our newest exchange partners.

8622872d36d0c3a0f4fa1146b909bb6cFounded in 1785, the University of Georgia is the nation’s oldest state-chartered university. History and tradition have special emphasis in the life of the University. With its strong academic majors, outstanding athletic programs, and extensive and varied campus life, the University attracts more students from every state in the nation and many foreign countries. The University of Georgia is located in Athens, a college town in Northeast Georgia within an hour of Atlanta.

American University
is located in Washington DC, 20 minutes from the center of the city.  Students are active citizens both on and off campus. Studying in Washington DC places students at the heart of US history and politics. With highly ranked schools and colleges and internationally recognized faculty, AU offers a balance between class time and career-advancing experience in Washington, D.C., and beyond. Its students, among the country’s most politically active, distinguish themselves for their service, leadership, and ability to rethink global and domestic challenges and opportunities.

10 Must Buy Items Before Studying Abroad

Hurrah! You’re embarking on the adventure of a lifetime, travelling the oceans to a new land to study, explore and immerse yourself in a new culture and way of life. A dream come true!

But let’s be realistic: Preparing to go on an exchange is no easy feat. It takes time and effort, not to mention the toll on your emotions when you realize you are leaving home for the unknown. But never fear – with these ten items in your suitcase, you’ll be leaving on a jet plane with no worries at all!

1. A portable charger


The greatest thing since sliced bread, the portable charger is truly a life saver while studying abroad. As optimistic as we are about the battery life of our phone, the time will come when you’re about to take the perfect Snapchat of something cool to show your pals back home and BAM, the black screen appears and your phone is dead. Solve this problem by plugging your phone into one of these babies, often they can hold one or two full charges, making travelling/snapchatting/skyping your Mum etc an easy feat.

2. Raincoat


Regardless of your destination, a rainy day is inevitable. Raincoats are something easily forgotten, until you need to walk across campus to your class in the pouring rain. Don’t show up looking like a drowned rat – get a raincoat.

3. New Zealand Snacks

Even if there isn’t much space in your suitcase, try and squeeze in some of your favorite Kiwi snacks (no cheese or kumara chips though – you don’t want to make immigration mad on your first day out of the country). Stick to packaged treats like Jaffas, Whittakers Creamy Milk, Tim Tams – whatever you think you might crave during an all-nighter or an exam cramming session. Trust me on this one – I had to get an emergency pack of Pineapple Lumps mailed to me in the States during midterm season.

4. A carry-on bag

One of the greatest aspects of an exchange is the travel. Wherever you are in the world, expand your horizons and use whatever free time you have to explore your surroundings. To avoid horrendous baggage charges (and save money for more travel!) purchase a sturdy, reliable, easy to move about airline approved carry-on bag. You’re about to move halfway around the world – so it’s a good idea to learn how to pack light.

5. Journal

Regardless of how many Instagrams or Snapchats you take while abroad, there’s nothing like getting home and looking back through a handwritten journal detailing all your overseas adventures. If you’re more of a techie, how about starting an online blog? Or even better yet, join the Auckland Abroad team as one of our student bloggers. Find our current bloggers here.

6. Universal plug adapter

Pretty self-explanatory. Make sure to invest in a good quality one to avoid any electric shocks and/or hairdryers blowing up (yes this happened to me so take heed!)

7. Insurance

Boring as it may seem, this may save your life (literally). You will most likely be required to purchase mandatory health insurance but be prepared and invest in some quality travel insurance for your adventures.

8. Souvenirs from home

Whether this be a poster, New Zealand flag, a stuffed kiwi, postcards or an All Blacks jersey, it’s a great idea to pack some reminders of New Zealand to decorate your dorm room or wear around campus with pride.

9. A neck pillow

If you’re anything like me, travelling on trains, planes and automobiles usually results in some serious napping. An inflatable neck pillow is a super handy addition to any travel bag, folding down flat when not in use. Get a comfy sleep on a long journey and wake up refreshed for whatever destination may await you (also yes I may have taken mine to the library once during exams for a brief seated power nap…)

10. University of Auckland merchandise

The campus store in the quad has a wide range of quality tees, hoodies and other merch to purchase to represent UOA while abroad. You can also buy online here.



8 Reasons to Go on an Auckland Abroad Exchange

1. The weather!

We don’t get snow in Auckland, so maybe you want to spend a semester in a winter wonderland. Or maybe you want to spend the whole semester in swimming togs – we have exchange options for all!

2. You’ll make lifelong friends


We know it sounds cliché, but you really will make friends for life when you go on exchange. Being thrown into a brand new culture with a bunch of like-minded people seems to do that!

3. You can study off campus


Maybe you’re a politics student and you want to be studying in the heart of American politics and government in Washington D.C., or you’re a commerce student and want to be in a global business centre like London. You’ll not only enjoy exciting classes on campus, but you can explore your academic passions off campus.

4. You could be eligible for scholarships!


We know money is probably on your mind. Not to worry – Auckland Abroad has a generous budget for scholarships! You might be eligible for funding to go on your exchange. Not to mention the fact you’ll pay Auckland fees while you’re on exchange, and you could be eligible for the full range of Studylink loans and allowances.

5. The food!

If there were ever a reason to move across the world, food is it. Maybe you want to have pasta and pizza in Italy, poutine in Canada, or authentic sushi in Japan – you can do it on exchange! Find your inner foodie and go abroad.

6. You can take unique courses overseas and still finish your degree on time


When you go on exchange, the courses you take can be transferred back to your Auckland degree. If you plan it right, you could earn credits for your degree while studying overseas! And you can get an exemption for a gen ed, allowing you more flexibility within your degree. What’s not to like?

7. You’ll grow as a person


Yes, we know this also sounds cliché, but it’s true. Living overseas for a semester or a year will change you as a person. You’ll gain new experiences and grow personally, academically, and professionally. And it’s also true that going off to another country to further your academics looks pretty dang good on a CV!

8. And yes, the travel

When you’re on exchange, you’re going to want to make use of your weekends and holidays, and travel. Being closer than a 12 hour flight to some of the world’s most exciting places will be welcomed by both you and your wallet. Maybe you’re after a weekend in Paris or Berlin, or a day trip to Tokyo – the world is your oyster!

If we’ve convinced you to consider going abroad…

Come see us at Auckland Abroad during our office hours. You can get advice on available exchange programmes, how and when to apply, and more. Also, if we haven’t convinced you, come anyway. Because we will!

  • We’re located in the Kate Edger Student Commons on the 4th floor next to iSpace.
  • Office hours are from Monday to Friday, 2pm-4pm.

Also, check out our website for more information:

And, in an act of shameless self-promotion, follow us on social media:


By Michael Calderwood