Turbulent Times: Predeparture to New Zealand

Lisa Penfield headshot
Lisa Penfield
February 12, 2024

In the past few months, I’ve been completing all the important, and at times tedious, tasks: getting University of Auckland courses approved for transfer credit at my home institution, applying for a visa, and last-minute shopping/tasks.

Enrolling in Courses and Submitting Concessions
To earn credit for courses taken abroad at my home university you must submit a “Transfer of Credit Request”, showing the abroad course’s title, code, and description to the appropriate department. These requests will either be approved or denied. This process began a year ago; I was submitting transfer requests for various courses required for my major. Then, a month ago University of Auckland finalized their course catalog... and a few courses I originally planned to take were not offered. After finding out about this, I scoured the course catalog, eventually finding new courses that would work for my major. However, I couldn’t enroll in these courses immediately; instead, I submitted concessions, a form that lets the University of Auckland know that I took the prerequisites required for the course elsewhere. These concessions will either be approved or denied by the University of Auckland’s staff. After three concessions, with one accidentally withdrawn and then resubmitted, I am now enrolled in all my courses!

If you plan to enroll in courses at the University of Auckland, be proactive! Do not hesitate to email the study abroad team at the University of Auckland as they’re very responsive. Also, email departments to ask if they plan to offer a certain course in a future semester!

Applying for a Visa
With IES Abroad’s pre-departure guide, submitting a visa application wasn’t very difficult as they provided detailed instructions. Once I submitted my visa application, I was content with playing the waiting game, that is until seven weeks passed, and I had not heard back. Confused, I called Immigration New Zealand (who were very helpful). Coincidentally, Immigration New Zealand had emailed me that day with my visa, but I never received the email, even after refreshing my spam folder. Luckily, Immigration New Zealand sent the visa again and I received it! Following the call, I also received a text, alerting me that my phone call was $66... a great wakeup call (and reminder) that international calls are expensive, and I needed to figure out what I was going to do with my phone plan abroad. At least after the expensive phone call, I received my visa, but be careful of fees for outgoing international calls if your plan doesn’t cover it!

Last-Minute Shopping and Other Tasks
Speaking of phone plans, I ended up buying T-Mobile’s international plan for the first month while I settle in and will eventually buy a prepaid SIM card (just make sure your phone is unlocked first). Other tasks included getting a credit card without foreign transaction fees, buying some plug adapters, hiking boots, a nice sleep mask, and a few books for the long flight.

Now that I’ve (hopefully) completed all the logistics related to studying abroad, the hard part is next... leaving, navigating airports and terminals, and arriving in New Zealand. In less than 48 hours, I will be on a 20-ish hour flight from New York to New Zealand. Although right now I feel a little bit nervous, I can’t deny that I’m super excitedready for this new adventure!

More Blogs From This Author

View All Blogs
Lisa Penfield headshot

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
Explore Blogs