Here Are Our 5 Favourite Posts from Instagram

As Semester 2 rolls around, the Auckland Abroad team decided it would be a great idea to highlight some of our favourite Instagram posts from last semester. Every week, we re-post awesome photos on our Instagram from our students on exchange.

1. Into the Wild

2. Arabian Adventures

3. Spring in Scotland

4. Spanish Skies

5. Summer by the Sea

If you want to see more from our students…

During Semester 1, our students had some amazing adventures around the world. Follow our Instagram @auckland.abroad to keep up with our students on exchange. And if you’re going to be on exchange, be sure to caption your photos with #aucklandabroad and you might get re-posted!

And if you’re feeling inspired…

Check out the other posts on our blog at www.aucklandabroadblog.com to hear from our awesome student ambassadors about their amazing exchange experiences!

Follow us on Facebook to keep up with Auckland Abroad and all that we have on offer.

Check out our website for more information on the Auckland Abroad 360 Exchange programme.

And feel free to come in for a chat with an advisor during our Auckland Abroad office hours if you want to learn more about exchange! We are located on Level 4 of Kate Edger next to iSpace, and we are open from 2-4pm on Monday-Friday.

Victor: Why? Because I’m on exchange!

Being on exchange, you find yourself having a completely different mindset compared to when you were back home. Back in New Zealand I can be a bit of a lazy slob sometimes, where home is the only getaway resort I need and my own room the presidential suite (I really should get out more). But damn if I don’t just turn into a “yes” man and proceed to jump on anything that seems exciting/exotic/free coming my way, no hesitation, when I’m exchange!

“Just do it.” – Shia LaBeouf/Nike

As should be implied, this blog entry is about the extra-curricular activities I’ve done while in Hong Kong, and I did a lot of them, sometimes too much. Here’s just a small snapshot of the crazy things I’ve done in HK, some which I hope to continue back home, some not so much.

The green side of Hong Kong

Hiking and camping

At first glance, Hong Kong may not seem like a place that could accommodate the nature lovers with its overbearing, modern concrete jungle image. However, there’s actually quite a bit of nature to discover in this city, if one took the subway or a taxi out of the urban centre. There, hiking trails and campsites await the adventurous.

A trail camping trip was being hosted by a university student association, which I came to know because an exchange student shared it in the Facebook group chat. Unsurprisingly, the event ended up consisting of mostly exchange students. The trail was Stage 2 of the MacLehose Trail which was this breathtaking mountain trail that winds itself to the seaside. I even got myself a brand new pair of trainers just for this!

After two hours of sweaty strolling on the trail, we arrived at this campsite beach for which we were to spend a night over. A fiesta promptly pursued, with frisbees, barbeques, sea diving (too cold for wussy me), and even bonfires! There’s no better teambuilding atmosphere than a dark, cool beach under the starry night sky.

The only part of the trip that I wasn’t too keen on experiencing again is spending the night in a tiny tent with my roommate. No, my roommate was lovely, if you were wondering. It was the blasted noise of the tent flapping like angry seagulls from the beach gusts and the arctic night temperatures that were the culprits. The back pains from the bumpy sand didn’t help, either. On the bright side, my shabby old mattress back in my room never felt more comfortable after this trip.

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Misty seaside view
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Humble tent for two
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Nothing like a bonfire to light up the night!

Ramble on

I joined the Rambler’s Club at HKU shortly after semester started, hoping my $30 membership fee would force me to go out a bit. I had the privilege of going on two events hosted by this club while I was here, a spring walk event and a stream trekking event, and got my hands (and pants) real dirty both times. Had to wake up early too on my lazy weekends, the nerve of these people! Thankfully, the crew’s hospitality is only matched by the beauty of the surroundings, which more than made up for my drowsy Sunday blues.

I went on the MacLehose trail again for the spring walk, this time it being a different, more hilly section of the trail this time, with plenty of large rocks. This was also going to be a proper whole day hike, nine to five. But I am a beginner still, so it’s not surprising that when we needed to climb over some of the rocks or slide down some hills I needed some support, both physically and morally. A tiresome day, but a fulfilling one at that!

Now, the stream trekking. I’m tempted to describe it as something akin to “pseudo-rock-climbing without ropes” in a jungle obstacle course. Initially, I thought we would be doing something similar to the spring walk but just with some water involved. I soon resorted to staring as the group leader promptly turned away from it and started climbing this unmarked small cliff to our right, into this dense and dark shrubbery. Fortunately, my fear of the unknown soon turned into the excitement for discovery, as our humble group twisted and turned inside the wilderness, skipping over gurgling waters and conquering stony walls. I definitely got a taste of a day in the life of Bear Grylls that day!

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Misty Mountains!
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Baaaa!

 

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Spirit of adventure (and fitness)!
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A waterfall sight

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Movie extravaganza

Lately I find my attention span being slowly whittled down to that of a goldfish. This means that I find it hard to properly commit and finish a book or even a proper video game before I get distracted and forget where I was, leading to me dropping the thing entirely (I’m getting better though). As a result, movies are quickly becoming my favourite form of entertainment, because it’s a bite-sized treat in which I can consume wholly in one sitting.

It started with me joining the Film Club, for which they handed out free tickets to movie periodically but only several hours before the session began. This led me to impulsively taking up an offer to see a Korean buddy-cop comedy movie, without thinking, at 9 in the evening. Needless to say, I came back to my room half-dying from fatigue at one in the morning, with classes in the morning. Not my best decision ever, but can’t say I didn’t enjoy the thrill of it!

Then came along the Hong Kong International Film Festival. I’ve never been to a film festival before, so naturally I wanted to use this opportunity. Coupled with the fact that special student tickets were going for around $6 NZD (!!), I went pretty nuts on the number of tickets that I bought…

Can’t take photos in the cinema, settle for this cool collage instead!

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Ranging from documentaries to indie debuts, restored classics to anniversary commemorations, I lost count of the number of times I sat in an enclosed theatre space. I found it strangely fitting that I would be watching movies from all over the world in English, Cantonese, Japanese and even Hungarian, in a city that can be considered an intersection of the global cultures.

Initially, I was under the impression that a film festival would be similar to a music festival, where they show a bunch of films in some fixed venue for a couple of days and then wrap it up. However, the films were actually shown at various cinemas scattered across the city, over the course of a month. Therefore, while my school mates went bar hopping on a weekend’s day, I went cinema hopping because I packed two movie showings in the same day. The worst instance of this was when I sat myself through three hours of Kurosawa’s restored Seven Samurai in the afternoon, only to be forced to chase myself to the other side of Hong Kong to catch a 9 p.m. session of a cyber security documentary. I suppose, for that month, I was more exhausted from watching movies than from actual course work.

Other assorted shenanigans

For my regular dose of fitness, I always had sessions of badminton to keep me occupied. In Hong Kong, I managed to find this lovely piece of website called MeetUp, where people get together on the fly to do something they all like, which includes badminton. Since I have a colossal six-hour gap between my morning and evening classes on Tuesday, what better way to spend it than hitting some shuttles for a couple of hours with some friendly locals, right?

I also had the privilege of seeing the HKU Philharmonic Orchestra for their Spring Concert. This was truly a rag-tag team of amateur music lovers coming together to make sparks fly. According to the music director, whose full-time position was the dean of Medicine, none of the members have a music major and some of them only joined the second half the concert because they had tests during the first! Yet, the music they produced could match any of the NZSO concerts. I should know, as I’ve went to most of them all!

And we are nearly there…

The above should be sufficient to give you an idea of life outside the classroom here in Hong Kong, as well as the almost maniacal drive behind them, all because I wanted to milk this exchange experience to my best of abilities. After all, I am only doing this once.

As this entry comes to a close, we are also regrettably stepping towards the end of the blog series as a whole as the semester finishes. Catch the epic finale soon where I will be giving a wholistic reflection of the six months as a whole. Until then, dear readers, and good luck for the finals!

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Bryar: Day Trip to Shimokita

When you’re an exchange student in a city like Tokyo it seems like the number of things to do and see are endless. However, once you’ve been to Shibuya, Harajuku and Akihabara multiple times each and checked out other major recommended tourist spots, it takes a little more imagination to find new places to spend a day in. Often these places are little known by the tourist blogs, and It’ll be your Japanese or other exchange student friends who show you the gems that Tokyo has to offer.

Shimokitazawa is Tokyo’s hub of everything vintage, bohemian and/or second-hand, along with a collection of quirky coffee shops. You won’t see many tourist faces here, but it’s still a bustling and lively district popular among the youth of Tokyo. I spent a day here recently with a couple of university friends, and this is what we discovered:

The Food

We started the day off with a late-morning coffee (well, my friends did) at one of the small coffee shops tucked away on the narrow streets. The coffee was served vintage-style in a jar and was, according to my friend, exquisite.

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As we meandered around the streets afterwards we passed a corner store that had multiple layers of customers queueing up outside its doors; the aforementioned friend (and guide) explained to us that it’s a pancake shop, and that he line can sometimes reach up to two hours long (!!). I asked who on earth would wait that long for pancakes, but he said that he’d tried them and apparently they merited the wait.

We took a break mid-afternoon for some lunch; we found a quaint little Italian restaurant that felt (to someone who has admittedly never been to Italy) like stepping right into the real deal – the pizza was delicious, and surprisingly affordable seeing as it came with a salad and drink.

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We ended our day trip with some home-made gelato from a store that had pastel pink walls and a chandelier hanging from the ceiling but still somehow managed to feel vintage. How?

The Shopping

Shimokitazawa is packed full of little stores selling everything that someone riding the bohemian trend could ever wish for. Clothes, accessories, knick knacks – even the stores themselves give a boho vibe with the uneven wooden floors and artistically peeling wall paint.

vintage

This district is also a haven for those who love everything second-hand. Everything from little upcycled boutiques, to entire warehouses with rack upon rack of second hand clothes. We could have been lost these places for the entire day.

secondhand

The day that we visited Shimokitazawa, it also featured a small market of hand-made goods set up near the exit off the station. An array of different kinds of jewellery, trinkets, leatherwork and even jackets for handbag dogs were on sale; it made for a lively and up-beat atmosphere and complimented the overall vibe of the district.

market

If you ever find yourself in Tokyo as an exchange student or a tourist, I would definitely recommend taking a day out of your schedule to visit this treasure trove and discover everything that it has to offer!

 

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Accommodation Awards: Courtney

When deciding where I wanted to study abroad, I knew I wanted to choose a big city to live in. However, the main drawbacks of choosing a city as opposed to a smaller town or a University town is that things can get a little more expensive – especially accommodation-wise. I would personally recommend staying in University accommodation over finding somewhere yourself, as it usually tends to be cheaper and more central. Along with this, it usually includes all bills, so all you need to worry about is buying food for yourself, and paying rent – no extra costs included. It also provides a great way to meet other students, both those local and other study abroad.
 
In saying that university accommodation is cheaper than most private rentals, London is still expensive. Fortunately, most residences at King’s are in Zones 1-2, which means an easy commute into Uni each morning. The location on each though, does depend. I personally live in accommodation situated about a half hour bus ride into the city – although I know some that consist of a 20 minute tube ride, 10 minute bus ride  and 20 minute walks. It all depends on your location and what public transport is available to you. Obviously, you’ll be paying more the closer you are to the centre of the city (and therefore closer to the University). I don’t mind travelling into the city, particularly as much of the time I am travelling with friends.
 
Now I can only speak for King’s residences, and of that I have obviously only lived at one. I have visited (and heard of) a few others due to friends living there, so I will give a rundown of these the best I can. So as follows, here are the Accommodation Awards for KCL Residences 2017:
 
Furthest Away, Most Modern and Highest Concentration of Woodland Creatures: Champion Hill
My residence, and arguably the furthest away is Champion Hill. Located in the suburb of Denmark Hill, it is connected by the Overground, National Rail services and buses. While the bus takes longer in London due to traffic, it has the advantage of being the cheapest. £1.50 will get you as far as you need to go – no zone charges, unlike the tube or rail. The absence of an underground does mean sometimes it takes slightly longer to get somewhere, but in a city as large as London, almost everyone has a long trip at some point.
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Because the residence is quite far out (although in London terms, its as close to the city as Mount Eden or Parnell), it has quite a suburban feel. I love this about the area, as you feel like you can get away from the hustle and bustle of it all and relax. Even better – the amount of squirrels and even a few foxes living in the area! Much to the amusement of my American and British friends, who are used to seeing these, I find it very exciting every time I see one! Now that we’re fully in Spring here in London, they seem to be out and about more, to help me get my fix of woodland creatures.
 
Rooms here are pretty spacious – similar to that of Carlaw Park Student Village/University Hall at UoA, although slightly narrower. The best part about these rooms is whilst it is classed as a non-ensuite, you still get your own shower and hand basin, sharing a toilet with around 4 others on your floor – which is great. Champion Hill does offer rooms with their own toilet as well, although these are slightly more expensive. Like the other residences, they come with a shared kitchen which you share with some of your flatmates.
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I cannot speak for the other residences, but I will say that there are very few events put on by the halls, so it can be difficult to meet others in your hall. Apparently this is due to the fact of my arrival time – I have heard they have lots of events in O week in September, and I arrived for the second semester in January. So if you are relying on those kind of events to meet people, I might suggest choosing to go for the Fall semester. However I will say that it is not impossible – as long as you put yourself out there, you will definitely be able to meet some people. Remember – your hall experience is what you make of it!
 
Highest Percentage of Study Abroad Students: Great Dover St
Located very near to London Bridge, this is a really nice centrally located hall. I have friends who reside at this dorm, and have visited it a few times. Mostly first year students live here, although a large majority of study abroad students are placed here – making it a great community to meet other like-minded study abroad students. However, it might be slightly harder as a result to meet British students, as they tend to put all the study abroad students together. The rooms are slightly smaller than that of Champion Hill, but they have full ensuites in all of the rooms. The rooms are organised into groups of about 8, which all share a communal kitchen. The location means its about a 20-30 minute walk to the Waterloo Campus, and slightly further to the Strand Campus. However if you’re placed at Guy’s campus – it is very close by!
 
Best Suburb Name: Julian Markham
This first year dorm also hosts other study abroad students in a similar set-up to Great Dover. It is located in a zone one suburb of Elephant and Castle, which arguably has the coolest name of an area I’ve found so far in London. It’s a 20 minute walk again to Waterloo campus or a very short bus ride if you’re running late! The rooms are similar size to that of Great Dover with a similar layout – ensuites with a shared kitchen.
 
Laziest Commute: Stamford St Apartments
You can imagine my envy, when on the first day of classes after a busy 40 minute bus ride into the Waterloo campus for class, I look directly across the street and see a KCL residence. Students that live there and have classes at the Waterloo Campus literally have to roll out of bed and they’re already at class – which I was beyond jealous of! Although – no excuse for missing class! While it’s a great timesaver and very convenient, the apartments cost an extra£40 per week (around $80NZD) and being that central means they are probably pretty used to lots of noise. Definitely something to weigh up though if you like your sleep!
 
From the Residences that I have seen, most seem to offer a good way of living, all in similar circumstances. However, the nicest ones are arguably Angel Lane in Stratford and Champion Hill – some of the furthest out, but recently renovated so they offer a few more modern additions.  While London is expensive, it is an amazing hub of culture, art, history and business. It is incredible to be living and studying in the heart of such a city, you barely notice the transport times or accommodation costs. If you’re an urbanite like me – I can definitely recommend living in London while studying abroad. 
 
More perks of living in London – it is such a great hub to get to other places in Europe! I’ve currently visited Scotland, Denmark and Sweden. I’m then off in a week to visit a friend in the Netherlands, followed by a trip to Cologne and Berlin, Germany with some study abroad friends! 
 
Until next time,
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Food, glorious food: Elizabeth

Food is perhaps my best part of life. Going on exchange it’s even better – using ‘well I won’t be here in six months’ as an excuse to buy excessive amounts of food is my favourite thing.

The hard part about living in a new city is not knowing straight off the bat where the best places to get food are. Although through trial and error (and lots of other people’s recommendations), I’ve done all the work so you guys have some top quality food to try if you’re ever in Nottingham!

Best cafés

My best advice to any exchange student looking to move to England (but outside of London) is to give up coffee now. You don’t want a caffeine headache when a burnt coffee from Starbucks is likely to be your best option. New Zealanders love good coffee, supposedly the Brits do too but I am yet to find much evidence of it – I would like take this opportunity to thank to the Uni Bookshop Costa for the worst flat white of my life.

The upside to the normally terrible coffee: bonding with other New Zealanders and Australians about it. I’m not saying that I’m friends with one of the Australians because of mutual complaining about rubbish coffee, but it definitely helped! That being said, there are a few hidden gem in among the very below average quality coffee.

Greenhood, Beeston
This is my local café – if local means a 15 minute walk away – and an absolute star. The people who work here are lovely, the locals are friendly, and the coffee is decent. What more could a girl ask for? I’ve spent many an afternoon here studying (or talking to friends while I should be studying) over a coffee or several. They also always have a small selection of homemade cakes which are always incredible – I can definitely recommend their Elderflower and cream cake.

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This was the first decent flat white I’d had in Nottingham and I had already been there for four weeks!
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Greenhood – appropriately named, because – if you remember from my other blog – everything is Robin Hood themed here

200 Degrees, Nottingham City

While Greenhood is my local, 200 Degrees is my favourite. The coffee is superb, the sign outside is always hilarious, and it’s just all around spectacular. There’s also a branch by the train station that I haven’t been to yet but I’m sure it’s just as good.  I always make an excuse to go when I’m in the city.

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Unfortunately, the Brits don’t do brunch like New Zealanders do. This is the worst thing about the country as far as I’m concerned. I have no recommendations in Nottingham and it kills me a little bit inside – especially since my friends in Auckland keep going to cute new brunch places at home. So please get your brunch fill while you’re still in Auckland!

Restaurants
Being a broke uni student doesn’t change while you’re on exchange (in fact, it usually gets worse), so I can’t say I’ve made it out to that many restaurants (the exchange rate kills me a little bit sometimes).

One place I can recommend is Annie’s Burgers in the centre of Nottingham. They have about 30 different burgers on the menu, from classic to weird and wonderful. My friend had the Elvis which is PB&J flavoured – just incredible.

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My burger, can’t remember what it was called but it had cheese, bacon, and a hashbrown – marvellous!

The best hot chocolates I’ve had: a series
In my attempt to get rid of my caffeine addiction (with varying levels of success), and because chocolate is amazing, I tried to switch from coffee to hot chocolate when I went to cafes. This has resulted in some incredible drinks, even if coffee is still number one in my heart.

 

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Mum’s Great Comfort Food – Edinburgh, Scotland. You should go here not only for the deluxe hot chocolates, but also because the menu has the best comfort food in the world. My friends and I went three times while we in Edinburgh over New Years, and I took my other friends here when I went back during Easter

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The Breakfast Club – Soho, London. I waited for 45 minutes in line to get into this brunch place and can confirm it was 10/10 worth the wait. Look at those mini marshmellows!!
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Northpoint – St Andrew’s, Scotland. Not only was this malteasers hot chocolate life changing, but this was the café where Will + Kate had their very first date. If you’re as royals-obsessed as me, this café is a must
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York’s Chocolate Story – York, England. I paid £10.50 to go through a chocolate museum and it was not wasted. The chilli hot chocolate at the café afterwards was pretty good too

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 Cooking food yourself
Since I live in a self-catered apartment, it means I have to cook for myself. I’m honestly cooking on exchange because a) you’re not studying as hard as you would at home so there’s more time and b) FRESH PRODUCE IS SO MUCH CHEAPER HERE! Honestly, berries at tesco are the same price (if not cheaper) off-season in England than they are in-season in New Zealand. I’ve been able to cook with loads more veges and delicious things than I can at home because it’s just way more affordable. Also they seem to always have Ben&Jerry’s on sale for £2.50 which is equally amazing and dangerous.

The range of food is also much wider than at home! Although there are still some things missing though. I searched the whole supermarket but couldn’t find fresh pesto. Plus, there’s no Wattie’s Tomato sauce here which breaks my lil kiwi heart (and annoys my flatmates to no end because I never shut up about it and they’re all from other countries and don’t understand).  My best advice for the stuff you miss is to make friends with a New Zealander or Australian whose parents send them a care package! I managed to sneak two tim tams and half a packed of chicken crimpy shapes off one of my friends and it was beautiful.

Traditional English Food
As far as traditional English food goes, it’s not that different from New Zealand most of the time. At the start of semester my flatmates and I tried sampling as many British chocolates and crisps as we could, but apart from that I haven’t noticed much difference (but that might be because Mum’s English). My favourites that you can’t get in NZ are quavers, cheese and onion Walker’s crisps, hot vimto, and Cadbury’s caramel chocolate (the caramel is WAY better than our caramellos, although it’s the same idea). Plus they have way more variety in popcorn at the supermarket which is fantastic – I’m partial to tesco branded salty & sweet popcorn for £1 a bag.

Mulled wine and cider are both big in Europe as well over winter. I tried mulled wine for the first time at Winter Wonderland in London, and although it’s not my favourite drink in the world, it was definitely nice to sip on while walking around Christmas markets.

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I was also lucky enough to stay with my mum’s family in England over Christmas and had myself a proper English Christmas dinner (complete with Yorkshire pudding, of course)! I maintain it was the best meal I’ve had on exchange. So if you’re coming over Christmas definitely try to get yourself invited to someone’s place for food!

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That’s all I’ve got to tell you for food! As always let me know if you have any questions about Nottingham or exchange in general.

As a side note, I just wanted to add to my Accommodation Awards post from last time, but the rubbish bins at Broadgate Park (where I’m living) recently featured in a meme (https://www.facebook.com/StudentProblems/videos/1235920199868044/) and so if you ever wanted to live somewhere #famous then Nottingham is your place!

Hope you’re all well – please enjoy a good flat white for me,

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Spain

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…

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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Australia

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…
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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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)

Tips

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  • 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)