Decision and preparation
As part of my law degree, I decided to spend a semester abroad in New Zealand. I had MicroEDU help me with the organization, which was a very good decision as they were able to quickly clarify any open questions. The most important points are the application itself and the visa, as well as the accommodation.
University and study
According to iamaccepted, the University of Canterbury is a great place to study. The campus is spacious, green and just beautiful. The campus has a huge sports field that students can use at all times. The student residences (Ilam and Sonoda) are a 5-15 minute walk from the main campus, but are still part of the campus. The area is therefore very large overall, but is monitored by the in-house security service (who are very friendly and relaxed). In addition, the campus is smoke-free, ie smoking is not permitted on the entire campus, including on the premises of the dormitories.
The university is well equipped. All of the computers are Apple, the libraries are excellent, and it’s very clean. In addition, as a student you can work 24/7 in the rooms of Kirkwood Village, where you can work in groups or write homework. In general, studying in New Zealand is very pleasant, the manners are very relaxed and the professors and staff at the university are helpful. The level is like in Germany, despite the relaxed atmosphere, high performance is expected. Combining all of this with leisure time is not easy, but it is feasible. The New Zealanders write down almost every word the professors say in lectures, so don’t be surprised at the typing noises in the lectures.
Choose your courses so that you write homework as much as possible, as exams are very stressful in terms of time.
I enjoyed my studies a lot, because you learn a lot through group work and in the lectures, especially the English legal language and the principles of common law.
Life and leisure
To put it bluntly: I have experienced so much in one semester that, in terms of my experiences, it felt to be significantly longer than 5 months. You can really experience something every day!
First of all, about living in Christchurch. Christchurch is a beautiful and, above all, green city. The city center was destroyed by the earthquake and was being rebuilt during my time (which will take a while), but that didn’t affect the atmosphere. On the contrary, as a result of the earthquakes, the residents of the city have moved closer together. Especially as an international student who has chosen Christchurch, one is received very warmly and it is welcomed that one has chosen this beautiful city despite the earthquake. The people in New Zealand are generally very friendly and open, you can find a short small talk everywhere. The atmosphere is relaxed, especially at parties, you can party and have fun with the New Zealanders, and the culture of flirting is very open. However, it must be mentioned at this point that it can be a bit intrusive in bars and clubs when you go out with women. The best celebrations and the best clientele can be found at the university’s parties, mostly organized by the UCSA (University of Canterbury Students’ Association), which also includes the bar “The Foundry”, which is located directly on campus. There you can have a good time with your friends and meet lots of new people. Due to the high proportion of international students, you can of course immediately find people who are in the same situation and who would also like to meet new people.
The next great pastime is traveling. Especially the South Island, on which Christchurch is located, the landscape is varied and breathtaking. Hitchhiking / hiking is a lot of fun! Whether you do it in Arthur’s Pass, in the Mt. Cook area or in the Queenstown / Wanaka area is up to you, but you should try to see as much as you can! If you’re in Queenstown, bring enough money with you. Whether skydiving, bungee jumping or with the speedboat over one of the lakes, there are many ways to spend money and Queenstown is a party town. If you are there in March / April and you like picturesque landscapes, then definitely go to Lake Wanaka and after Arrowtown. For those who like to get out on the water, I highly recommend kayaking. In particular, Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound, as well as sea kayaking on the coast in front of the Abel Tasman National Park (Nelson) are to be emphasized, it is unbelievable fun and you can see a lot of the breathtaking landscape.
You shouldn’t miss out on exploring the North Island either. Wellington should definitely be visited. The city is beautiful and not only the actual but also the cultural capital of the country.
Of course, traveling is not cheap in terms of price. A car costs around $ 50-80 a day, plus the cost of overnight stays. It’s best to go to hostels, which cost 20-30 dollars a night and you will meet many backpackers, work and travelers and other people from all over the world. By the way, you should buy the necessary equipment for hitchhiking in Germany, as it is sometimes much more expensive in New Zealand!
All the fun is unfortunately not very cheap. Find out in good time about possible scholarships or international BAföG. Because in addition to the tuition fees (approx. 6500 euros) there are also the costs for accommodation (Ilam dormitory approx. 2500 euros per semester) and living costs. With trips and celebrations, you can easily get to 600 euros per month. Otherwise the prices in New Zealand are comparable to German prices. However, alcohol is significantly more expensive, as is cigarettes.
The semester abroad in Christchurch was the best semester of my life. The costs are high, but in my opinion it was totally worth it. Such a stay abroad is one of the last opportunities to live and study in another country for a certain period of time without commitments, to improve your language skills, to gain tons of experience, to get to know people from all over the world and to spend an unforgettable time. I can only warmly recommend everyone to do a semester abroad at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch!