My First 48 Hours at the University of Auckland — Getting Lost, Classes, and Club Expo

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Lisa Penfield
March 17, 2024

Two days ago, I completed my first day of classes at the University of Auckland (UoA). With nerves, jitters, and excitement I felt like a freshman/first year again. I didn’t (and still don’t) understand the layout of the campus. I don’t know where all the bathrooms are, where to find an outlet, and where I can do work... leaving me wandering around campus until I find my destination. Despite the wandering, my first day was fun! I had three classes, checked out Alfred’s St., and explored the Club Expo.

My First Day of Classes at the University of Auckland

At the University of Auckland, I’m enrolled in a variety of classes including introductory courses in geography and marine science as well as postgraduate classes such as spatial statistics. These classes provide a wide range of what courses are like at the university in terms of difficulty. In my geology and marine science courses, the professors reviewed the syllabus and course expectations, certainly a relaxing introduction to the school life here. For my spatial statistics class, the professor also reviewed the syllabus and course expectations but began lecturing on the initial content. Overall, in terms of classes, it was a solid day. 

I would recommend exploring the campus before classes begin; the buildings can be quite confusing. At UoA, all classes are listed with a code such as 302-150 where the first number (302) is the building number, and the second number (150) is the classroom number. Building 302 is also connected to buildings 301 and 303 by various bridges and stairs, making a confusing “super/mega building”. Also, since Auckland is a generally hilly place, any entrance can place you on any floor in these super/mega buildings.  


Differences Between Classes at UoA and Classes at My Home University
1. Papers

One initial difference between classes at UoA and classes at my home university is that students refer to classes as “papers”. Although this difference is trivial, when I first heard the word being used, I was confused. 

2. Recorded Lectures

Another difference is that it is standard for all lectures to be recorded at UoA, allowing students to have more flexibility in their schedule, if needed. This also allows students to be enrolled in courses that have overlapping lecture times; students just need to submit a concession to override the clash. 

3. Start and End Time of Lectures

All lectures at the university begin five minutes after the scheduled start time and end five minutes earlier before the scheduled end time. For students with scheduled back-to-back classes, this allows them to make it to their second class on time.

4. Multiple Lecturers 

For four of my five courses, different lecturers will take over at different points in the semester. For example, in my introductory geography course, we’ll have a total of three lecturers, one for the beginning of the semester, one for the middle of the semester, and one for the remainder of the semester. 

5. Non-standardized Lecture Times

At UoA, all the lecture times are random, meaning that a student may have one class on one day, but the next day have four to five classes. At my home university, most lectures are repeated at the same time on Monday and Wednesday or repeated at the same time on Tuesday and Thursday.


Alfred’s St. and Club Expo

In the last two days, Alfred’s St. has been blocked off, allowing students to explore various tents, maybe win a few prizes, and enjoy the music by performers on the large stage. A few minutes away at the Old Government House lawns sat a large white tent with many people representing several clubs inside (Club Expo). The tent certainly came in handy for the rainy first day. Club Expo is CROWDED, especially within the last hour. There are many clubs to join, especially ones that don’t exist at my home university, such as an underwater club, just remember to bring NZ cash if you don’t have a NZ bank account as most clubs have a member fee ranging from 5 NZD – 30 NZD


The first few days of university can be overwhelming, especially if you’re at a new school in a foreign country, but in general, I find it more exciting than overwhelming as I find ways to decompress, like running near the water (which is the cover photo of this post 😁).

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Lisa Penfield

At Tufts University I’m a Sustainable Solutions Fellow, a member of the Chinese Students Association, and a Volunteer Coordinator for the Food Rescue Collaborative. Outside of school, I enjoy running, baking, and learning to play frisbee!

Home University:
Tufts University
Engineering - Environmental
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