So you’re thinking about studying in Auckland? Good on ya, mate. If it’s world-class education providers, miles of golden beaches, fun nightlife, and native forests right at your doorstep you’re looking for, then Auckland is the city for you. Built around two harbors and several extinct volcanoes, the city is a visual feast, and outdoor activity buffet. While vibrant and international, Auckland still has the friendly charm and local feel that New Zealand is famous for. As you study abroad in Auckland, it won’t be long until you feel at home popping down to the dairy in your jandals, and greeting people with kia ora.
Studying Abroad in Auckland
Auckland is the largest center of learning in the country, so you will be able to find courses to suit every interest, across a range of institutions. The University of Auckland study abroad programs are impressive, as the university is the largest in the country; however, there is also the nation’s largest business college at Massey University, and several other world-ranked education providers.
The human population of New Zealand is wildly outnumbered by cows and sheep, making Auckland a great place to study agriculture and agribusiness. Along with large scale farming comes a lot of environmental issues though, and as a country that prides itself on a “clean, green” image, there is a lot of study taking place in the areas of conservation and preservation in Auckland.
Another popular course of study at an Auckland, New Zealand university is filmmaking. New Zealand gave the world the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and they are steadily building a reputation for offbeat comedy films, and dramas telling Maori and Pasifika stories that are unique to New Zealand. International business and travel and tourism are also contextually significant, and are great subjects to study in Auckland.
The school year in a “univ of Auckland” (so-dubbed by the Kiwis!) differs substantially from terms in the Northern Hemisphere. Because seasons are reversed, the first semester starts in February or March and ends in June. The second semester starts in July and runs through to early November. Summer programs are available, from December through to February, but bear in mind that this is also the Christmas and New Year period.
Life in Auckland
Study abroad in Auckland has a little bit of everything. It is where mountains meet beaches, forest meets ocean, and local culture meets international vibes. Study abroad students at an Auckland university are never short of things to do: just short of the time to do them all.
The center of the city is a mish-mash of world cultures, meaning that you can find dumpling joints next to gourmet burger bars, and New York style diners shoulder to shoulder with kebab shops. You will quickly discover that Aucklanders love their food and wine, and with the vast array of cuisines on offer you will fast become a foodies yourself. Take advantage of fresh seafood, homegrown, grass-fed beef, and fruit straight from orchards in the Bay of Plenty as you eat your way around the city.
Auckland is sprawling and vast, so you will need to master public buses, or makes friends with someone with a car, to make the most out of your stay. Each suburb has a little something different to offer, so it’s worth exploring all of the different corners of the city. Browse the independent boutiques and craft beer bars in Ponsonby, or eyeball your way through the vintage clothes shops and vegan cafes of K road.
Hop across the Harbor Bridge to the North Shore, where the best beaches in Auckland are found. Takapuna is one of the most accessible beaches, and is close to plenty of swanky bars and restaurants. You can go west into the Waitakeres ranges, a great stretch of wilderness where you can put the hustle of the city behind you and surround yourself in leafy green tranquility. The city is connected to many of the offshore islands with ferries, so you can explore the vineyards on Waiheke or the scenic reserve of Rangitoto.
Accommodation & Visas
University housing is the most popular choice of accommodation for international students, especially for University of Auckland study abroad. While you will almost always have your own room, these halls of residence often involve shared bathrooms and kitchen facilities. Meals may or may not be provided, depending on your preference.
If you would rather be more independent, and ditch the party scene of the student accommodation, it’s easy enough to find a room in a house shared with other students or young professionals. Flatting is a common practice among kiwi students so there are always people searching for flatmates. The only downside is that in a city of Auckland’s size, where you end up living might be a little further from where you are studying, meaning you have to get up a little earlier to make those 9 a.m. classes.
Depending on your individual situation, you can enter New Zealand as a student on either a Fee-Paying Student Visa (meaning you are enrolled with an approved education provider) or on an Exchange Student Visa, if you are participating in an approved exchange scheme. To find out which visa you will be eligible for, and how to go about applying for it, visit GoAbroad's Embassy Directory to find your nearest New Zealand embassy.
Benefits & Challenges
If this is your first time going overseas alone, attending an Auckland, New Zealand university makes a great place to start. New Zealand is a destination that any mother would approve of. It is ranked as one of the most peaceful and least corrupt nations on the planet. It is about as safe as a country can get, making both living in Auckland and traveling around the rest of the country secure for international students. The general safety of the country, combined with the friendly and welcoming Kiwi culture, makes Auckland a hospitable place for foreign students, and the perfect location to gain some travel cred before taking on wilder destinations.
Speaking of travel experience, studying in Auckland will bring a whole host of exciting travel opportunities. Boredom isn’t tolerated in Aotearoa, and Kiwis like to keep their adrenaline pumping. Whether it is leaping off the top of the Sky Tower, catching some surf at Piha, or taking in the views as you skydive, there are limitless adventure travel opportunities in and around the Auckland area.
Although it be but small, New Zealand is fierce. It combines an outstanding quality of living with excellent education, a laid-back culture, and a broad spectrum of international cultures: the perfect recipe for an awesome study abroad experience.