I’d like to dedicate one, or maybe a few posts to the simpler parts of my stay in New Zealand, like cooking, day-to-day activities, and living in flats.
So, here’s your guide to life at the University of Otago in New Zealand!
1. The Flat
Through the Arcadia program, you get placed into a house or “flat” that you share with usually around 5 other students. All of the university flats are located right around the college, so you probably won’t have more than a 10 minute walk from your flat to campus, which is soooooo convenient, especially when you’re running late to class (yikes!).
The flat comes with a fully equipped kitchen (pots, pans, knives, utensils, etc.), but it’s up to you to supply everything else. No, there’s no fancy smoothie machine or food processor, but if you’re lucky, your kiwi host might supply a rice cooker or panini maker!
2. The Flatmates
Out of the five other people you live with, one of them is your kiwi host. They are your friend, your hero, your lifesaver. They basically help you with EVERYTHING, from showing you how to use an old can opener (let’s be honest, it’s been a while) to giving you advice on what classes to take and how to stay out of trouble. If you’re anywhere as lucky as me, you’ll get this purrty girl right here.
My flatmates and I absolutely adore our kiwi host. Make friends with your kiwi host and your life here will be THAT MUCH better. My flatmates and I have movie nights with her, and even hang out with parties with her friends. Some people (from stories I’ve heard) aren’t as lucky, but make the best of things!
The great thing about the University Flat system is that you get to meet lots of other international students that are going through the exact same thing as you. In my complex (group of flats), we have students from Germany, China, USA, India, and Singapore.
At the beginning of the semester, you basically have a meeting with your flatmates about grocery shopping, food storage in the flat, and whether you want to cook meals individually or cook meals together and assign days of the week. Most flats have flat dinners, where someone cooks for everyone else on specified nights, but unfortunately not in my flat. Most of us weren’t very confident in our abilities to cook for other people so we decided to cook for ourselves. But it’s fun anyways! You definitely get to explore the range of your cooking ability.
Or you can eat pasta and fried rice most nights like the rest of us.
The University has an absolutely massive, state-of-the-art facility just down the road from campus, and it’s connected to the newly built Dunedin Stadium (that’s where all the Highlanders Rugby games are played!).
There are fun exercise classes that you can attend for a really cheap price, or you can just play sports or go to the cardio or weight room. There are so many things to do there. You actually don’t even have to go there to work out. Yeah, I know. Going to the gym and not working out? Sounds too good to be true. But nope, I’m not lying.
This gym has pool tables, a cafe, and loads of other stuff you can do if you don’t wanna break a sweat. Sweet as
5. Getting Around Town
Everything that you need is right around campus. There are dairies (convenient stores), cafes, restaurants, grocery stores, Kmart, and every other store that you could possibly think of. It’s all right here in Dunedin. Most students just walk everywhere if they don’t have a car, but it’s a really good way to figure out all the streets and get some fresh air.
Otherwise, you can buy a bike on TradeMe (the Kiwi version of Ebay) like I did, and it makes your traveling a lot easier and faster. Such a sweet deal for $60.
Stay tuned for more!