I applied a good 7 months before my stay abroad and I have to say that you need the time. With a passport and visa application, a good 6 weeks can go into the country. A tip for booking a flight: If you book your flights through STA, as a MicroEDU member you get 4% off the flight price. That may not sound like that much, but with a sum in the four-digit range, that makes a difference. Was also really very satisfied with STA. For example, I postponed my return flight by 2 weeks and that was really easy and not expensive. There is clearly more paperwork to do before you arrive than you think, so it’s better to start organizing well in advance.
It was clear to me from the start that when I arrive in Auckland I would like to have an apartment on site so that I can quickly settle in and feel at home. I also found out about the application for the dormitory through MicroEDU and now I knew exactly what to do. It would also be important to say that all of my courses were on the City Campus in Auckland and I was looking for a place in the Wellesley Student Apartments have applied. Since the places are limited, the motto is: first come, first served. So definitely pay attention to the registration period. This can be found on the AUT website. In the apartment itself you live with 4 other students, in my case it was only internationals. The rooms are equipped with everything you need. I didn’t book this “linen package” because it was so expensive and bought my own bedding on site, because without the package there isn’t even a blanket or pillow in the room. The things in the warehouse (the store where you can buy everything you need in the apartment) were really cheap and at least you had new things. The location of the apartments is simply unbeatable!In a minute you walked to the university and in 5 minutes you are on Queensstreet, the main street in Auckland City with all the shopping opportunities. There is also a bus stop right in front of the front door, where the bus that takes you from the airport also stops. From the bus stop you can drive to many cool areas of the city. Note: according to abbreviationfinder, Auckland University of Technology is abbreviated as AUT.
Since my home university in Kempten is really quite small with only 4,000 students and a few courses, the AUT was something very special for me. The buildings are all super modern as the university is not that old. Each building is clearly marked so that you really can’t get lost. In addition, all buildings are right next to each other and something like a university district has developed. There are 3 restaurants and coffee shops. Unfortunately the food is not too cheap there, which is why we often switched to St. Pierre’s sushi around the corner for lunch, but the coffee is cheap and really delicious. Thanks to the stamp card, there is also a coffee for free every now and then. As I said, there is really no shortage of coffee shops and dining options in and around the campus. The rooms at the university, at least the ones in which I had classes, are really super modern, but most of the time everyone comes to the lecture with their MacBook. Right from the start, I had a contact person at the university who is responsible for internationals and who really is at your side for every little question with advice and action! So you’re really in good hands at AUT. On campus there is also a nurse, a well-equipped library, numerous places to study for university and a great WiFi network for cell phones and laptops. There is also a fitness studio right on campus, which I went to regularly with a fellow student from the start. The fitness is not huge, but there is everything you need and there are also group classes. Arena360 in particular has always been a lot of fun for us and it’s also a great opportunity to meet new people.
The range of courses offered by the AUT is very extensive, as the university has made it a resolution to offer many courses, but to keep the number of students in the courses themselves small. In my largest course we were maybe 40 people, otherwise more like 15-20, which guarantees a personal lecture in which everyone is involved. You just have to be careful and look very carefully when choosing a course, as not every course is offered in every semester.
I am studying tourism management in Kempten and have taken the following courses in Auckland: Tourism Marketing, Strategic Human Resource Management, Leadership Challenges in International Business and Breakthrough Thinking. In general, I have to say that my semester at AUT really had the highest workload of my entire degree. The exams at the end of the semester never count 100% here, but mostly around 50%. This means that the remaining 50% has to be worked out during the semester, be it through group work, essays, presentations or weekly quizzes or intermediate exams. The material itself is not too demanding in terms of level, but there is a lot to do for the university if you want to pass every subject well. Except for the leadership course, which unfortunately is only based on Hofstede’s theories and was therefore not very helpful, I would definitely recommend all other courses.
Yes, that’s probably the most annoying topic of a semester abroad in New Zealand. If you do not travel to New Zealand through an exchange program at your home university, then it is really an extremely expensive proposition. The tuition fees are just horribly high and in my opinion not really justifiable. The student dormitory is also one of the most expensive places to stay in Auckland. So if you want to save there, you can certainly find something cheaper on site and maybe just go to the hostel at the beginning. Another disadvantage of the student dormitory is that you have to pay the money for the entire period before you arrive, which means that you have to make a considerable advance payment with the housing and tuition fees. For this I took a study fund from “German Education” and received BAföG abroad. The cost of living is unfortunately really extremely high in Auckland for people who come from Germany. Supermarket, petrol and alcohol cost at least a third more than in Germany. Sometimes it is cheaper to get sushi than to cook it fresh. Eating out is generally very expensive, apart from sushi and fast food.
Unfortunately, the city itself disappointed me a bit. I thought that since Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand with over 1 million, there must be a lot to offer here. Unfortunately, this is not the case when it comes to going out. Wednesdays are officially Student Night in Auckland, but it can still happen that you and your friends are the only ones in the club. Plus, the CBD in Auckland is super small and heavily concentrated on Queens Street. All other parts of the city are further away, which really makes Auckland very spacious. To get out of the CBD you definitely have to switch to bus or car. I got an AT Card for local public transport. The system is really super easy, in every bus you can touch on and off with the card and thus pay for your trips. You can top up the card directly at the university or in any Fix Convenience Store. A big disadvantage of public transport in Auckland, which consists exclusively of buses and I think 2 train lines, is that unfortunately you never know where you are. Except for the Link buses and trains, stops are not announced. So it is a challenge to travel by bus in Auckland. Another special feature of Auckland is the extremely hilly cityscape. With so many mountains, a bike is hardly worth it and on the way home to the student dormitory it is always uphill. A big plus about Auckland is the surrounding area. There are numerous beautiful islands around Auckland as well as many beautiful beaches. Especially in summer the city is really super, super cool and has a lot to offer.
The semester abroad at AUT was the best experience I had during my studies. I enjoyed it to the full and would do it again anytime. The university is really great, the only drawbacks are really the costs and the fact that big cities in New Zealand cannot be compared with big cities in Europe. Nevertheless, the people in Auckland are just so warm and friendly and especially the still widespread Maori culture makes your stay as pleasant as possible!