New Zealand is: Impressive

Renato Dornelas
August 7, 2016

When I first moved to Skidmore College all the way from Brazil, I thought I was going to a school much, much bigger than the high school I went back home. And it was. First month of freshman year was hard to adapt; having to get around and find myself on campus, going from class to class, building to building... It was a long month! But, well, little did I know that things would get way "worse". 

The University of Auckland has about 50,000 students and kinds of majors one can think of. It is an insane amount of people on a campus that has its own neighborhood in Auckland.

First impressions of the University of Auckland:

  1. The lecture rooms are literally the biggest I have ever, ever seen. 
  2. All my classes have about 300 students. 300 STUDENTS!!!
  3. Nobody really raises their hands or interact with professors during lectures. If everyone would try to say something during the 2-hour lecture, we wouldn't be able to do anything in class. So I guess that's fine..  


  4. Some final exams are worth 60% of the entire grade. Like, what?! 
  5. Although you might have a lecture in Anthropology and Culture, it is most likely that your classroom will be in the Engineering building... don't ask.
  6. The university is pretty cool - there's always free food, club events, and some crazy events happening outside. It keeps the energy up and the uni spirit alive!

I have been in Auckland for almost a month now, and I am about to enter Week 4 at the University of Auckland. So to end this post on a constructive note, here are 5 things to live by if you want to be successful at UoA:

  1. Go to class. Although that might sound stupid and obvious, some people just don't. Okay, I get it - it is a big school, so who cares, right? Well, you should. It doesn't matter what school you come from, you are missing out the experience. You don't want to be one of those kids that by the end of their exchange all they can share about their semester abroad was how comfy their bedroom was.
  2. Do your readings (or part of it). I am lucky that at Skidmore we have always been very much encouraged to do the class required readings and discuss them with professors, but here at UoA it isn't the same. If you don't do the readings, nobody will actually know. But remember: exams are about 60% of of your final grade, so why not spend some time going through a paper or two? I swear, it isn't that bad.
  3. Don't stress about books. Some books are very expensive here, but I have managed to find everything I need at the school's general library. It is actually really great the variety of books (and digitalized books) they have and the number of copies they offer. I would highly recommend you to try using the library and saving that money for a nice trip to south island... just saying.
  4. Choose unique classes. If you have to fulfill a college requirement, then you can't do anything about it. But if you can choose, don't be lazy. Explore Maori Studies, take a Television Studio class, enroll in Wine Tasting labs... There's just a world of options and you should enrich your abroad experience with awesome classes!

  1. Be open minded. The system here is very different from what we are used to in America, but that isn't a bad thing at all. It is actually very exciting and, personally, impressive. I am still overwhelmed by how much the university offers, and you need to be open minded to welcome everything as a learning experience.

Follow this, and your experience will be just amazing. I am loving the University of Auckland, and I know I have made a great choice to study abroad here!


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Renato Dornelas

<p>Kia Ora! My name is Renato Dornelas, and I am an international student from Brazil at Skidmore College, studying abroad at the University of Auckland, in New Zealand. At Skidmore I am an International Affairs major and a Media &amp; Film minor. Some of my interests and passions are cinema and hollywood, social media, photography and Thai food. Follow my blog if you like adventures, exciting videos, and first-hand information from a unique study abroad program!</p>

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