New Zealand, located 42 degrees below the equator which also happens to be the point where the global,
5 Pages
English
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New Zealand, located 42 degrees below the equator which also happens to be the point where the global,

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Learn all about the services we offer
5 Pages
English

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New Zealand, the land with abundant sheep that is comparable with the population of Singapore, frighteningly powerful rugby teams and apparently Middle Earth is simply awesome! Going to New Zealand alone is the most courageous thing I ever did and the initial stages were filled with apprehensions but all worries were gone once I touched down in Auckland International Airport. The sights from the plane was simply magnificent! No doubt that the movie, “Lord of The Rings” was mostly filmed here. I met up with the University pick up service which would be provided for all first time international students to University of Auckland (UoA). Though preparations for my exchange to UoA were tedious and frustrating at times, but as I look back now, it was all worth it! The experiences and things that I have learnt were invaluable and memorable. The things that need to be prepared are: bank statements, student visa, accommodation, air ticket and travel insurance. I stayed at a privately managed apartment, Princeton, which is located right beside the Department of Property. I have to comment that the rental rates for apartments/hostels are really high in Auckland City! The only disadvantage about staying in Princeton is that it does not organize any official functions or events like a University managed Halls of Residence. Nevertheless, it has good facilities such as each apartment comes with a well- equipped kitchen and there is also room cleaning service ...

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New Zealand, the land with abundant sheep that is comparable with the population of Singapore, frighteningly powerful rugby teams and apparently Middle Earth is simply awesome! Going to New Zealand alone is the most courageous thing I ever did and the initial stages were filled with apprehensions but all worries were gone once I touched down in Auckland International Airport. The sights from the plane was simply magnificent! No doubt that the movie, “Lord of The Rings” was mostly filmed here. I met up with the University pick up service which would be provided for all first time international students to University of Auckland (UoA). Though preparations for my exchange to UoA were tedious and frustrating at times, but as I look back now, it was all worth it! The experiences and things that I have learnt were invaluable and memorable. The things that need to be prepared are: bank statements, student visa, accommodation, air ticket and travel insurance. I stayed at a privately managed apartment, Princeton, which is located right beside the Department of Property. I have to comment that the rental rates for apartments/hostels are really high in Auckland City! The only disadvantage about staying in Princeton is that it does not organize any official functions or events like a University managed Halls of Residence. Nevertheless, it has good facilities such as each apartment comes with a well equipped kitchen and there is also room cleaning service every week. The Property Manager of Princeton, George, who happened to be a Singaporean whom has migrated to New Zealand years ago, was very kind and helpful. He has helped me in numerous ways and I am really thankful to all the assistance rendered by him. It would be best for one to be equipped with some basic cooking skills before leaving for Auckland because prices of food are generally high and ranges from NZD6 to NZD10 for normal food court meals. Fast food would be a cheaper alternative but cooking your own meals would be more economical and advisable. For those who love Asian food like me, you are in luck! There are many Asian Eateries around but the taste might not be as ‘authentic’ as what we have in Singapore. As for recreational activities, there are many to choose from and I chose to take up kick boxing. It was fun and can be a form of self defense too! Though UoA has a Recreation Centre like the one in NUS, membership fee is pretty dear and thus I chose not to apply for it. During the academic term, I enrolled in four modules namely; Property Finance, Property Development, Advanced Property Management and International Relations. The lectures and tutorials were conducted in a very interactive way whereby all students actively participate in. The workload in UoA is slightly lighter than in NUS. Lessons were conducted is more of a handson and practical type whereby lots of site visits were arranged for us to get a clearer picture of what we are learning in classrooms. The exchange coordinator in UoA, Ms Juliette Hayes is a very helpful and considerate lady. She is always there to answer any queries and would render any help needed.
During the mid semester break, I went backpacking for two weeks with a group of exchange students. This was my first backpacking trip and the experience was simply amazing! We first flew from Auckland to Christchurch. From Christchurch, we started our South Island backpacking before heading back to North Island and back to Auckland. I was on a 'Magic Bus', a backpacking coach that drove us around throughout the 14 days! Personally, I find Queenstown and Wellington (the capital of New Zealand) the more memorable places among other cities that I had traveled to. I would definitely like to visit these two places again if I have the chance. I also went White Water Rafting, in Rotorua, which was full of adrenaline rush and excitement! The views in the South are breathtaking! It is strongly encouraged to make a trip to the South to truly experience New Zealand. I am so fortunate to be able to spend my birthday there with the company of friends from different countries like Malaysia, China, Germany, Japan and last but not least, my fellow Singaporeans! I had the most unforgettable birthday there. We had lots of fun drinking, chatting and playing games. Did I forget to mention that drinks are really cheap there! I have tried almost all the different brands of beer available in New Zealand and wines too! I went at the right time for the Rugby season and on days where All Blacks (New Zealand National Rugby team) plays, all the shops would close early! All Blacks is really fantastic! Way to go All Blacks! After the exams, I went away for a skiing trip with two friends. We drove all the way to Mount Whakapapa which is near to Lake Taupo (which happens to be about the size of Singapore!). It was the nearest skiing area to Auckland. Skiing was tiring but fun! Furthermore, it was my first encounter with snow and I made my first snow man too! Renting of cars and petrol is cheap in New Zealand and it is highly recommended to travel around New Zealand. Public transport isn’t cheap especially the taxis! Do not take a taxi unless absolutely necessary. An interesting point to note about New Zealand is that the toilets will never run out of papers and there is no need to bring tissue papers along whenever you dine out because lots of serviettes will be given! An aspect of life so different from Singapore! When it was time for me to leave New Zealand, I start to think back on what I have learnt and experienced during my short five months stay in New Zealand and I can concluded that it would have to be total independence, cultural exchanges, establishment of new friendships, new living and studying environments and last but not least, the experience of traveling abroad alone! Had a farewell party to bid goodbye to all my friends from Hong Kong, Malaysia, China, Malaysia, New Zealand, Germany, Japan etc. Had a tearful day but unforgettable as well. To my fellow juniors, it is really a once in a life time opportunity to go for exchange and if it’s possible financially, one should really muster up the courage and go for it! It will change you forever. By the way, New Zealand is facing a shortage of qualified Valuers so if anyone is interested in becoming a valuer, you may want to consider practicing in New Zealand. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank two very special friends
of mine whom have taken great care of me during my stay in New Zealand and they are Stanrick and Joelyn who are fellow Singaporeans studying full time in UoA. I am very grateful to both of them for all their care and concern!
Matheson Lake: A reflective lake taken during my backpacking trip.
View of Rangitoto Island at sunset.
Me and Bernd, a German taken at Grey Mouth while backpacking.