My stay in Wellington, New Zealand
I have just finished my semester abroad at Victoria University of Wellington – it has been an amazing four months. I must admit the first month was a bit rough arriving from the hottest summer in Europe for decades to a cold, dark and windy Wellington. The city really lived up to its nick name – Windy Welly. Even though the weather was not the best, I was lucky to meet a group of international students from Denmark, Switzerland and the US that soon became my friends. Together we have explored much of New Zealand in the car we bought within the first month. This purchase really made the difference. We have been able to go surfing several times a week, both in Lyall Bay, the closest surf spot, and several places up both the west and east coast. We have gone camping in beautiful rural locations with amazing views and done a fair bit of tramping (what they call hiking over here). The country has so much nature to offer, so if you enjoy the outdoors New Zealand is the perfect destination.
Beside the wind and the rain, Wellington is a great city. Though it’s the capital, it’s a small city surrounded by green hills and bush, so you’re never far away from nature. It’s known to be the art capital and there are many quirky shops and cafes. No outfit is too ratchet in Wellington. The nightlife is to be found at Courtney Place where you get 10$ jugs, if you’re really feeling it you can head to 121 or Sassy’s for a boogie. If you’re not big on nights out there are several chilled bars, live music and great restaurants to be found in Cuba Street. If you’re into beer there are also several breweries in town, the Garage Project, Fortune Favors, Parrotdog and Hay Day to mention a few.
The university’s main campus – Kelburn is located on top of a hill with beautiful views over the city. I have been very satisfied with my modules, professors and the university overall. I would say the school system is fairly similar to the UK, at least I didn’t experience any big surprises or troubles doing International Relation modules. The student life though was a bit different. The clubs and societies are not as active, and I found it a bit challenging to find arenas to interact with home students. That being said, Kiwi’s are very friendly and helpful! The university has a small university gym which is cheap and has great facilities and classes. Other services such as student health is also to be found on campus.
I stayed in university housing, in University Hall. With this housing, you get a room in a house with shared bathroom and kitchen. There are different sizes of the houses, some with up to 8 bedrooms. These become the hub for international students and host house parties almost every weekend. It is quite expensive and the standard is low, though is very easy and convenient when you only stay in the city for a short time as it can be difficult to arrange your own housing. It is also a great way to get to know other international students. There are also several other halls than Uni Hall you can choose from. Uni Hall houses are located no more than a 10 minute walk away from Kelburn.
Overall I have had an amazing time in Wellington and would really recommend other students to take advantage of this great opportunity to visit this beautiful country!