From Germany to New Zealand for a semester abroad

Like many of our study abroad and exchange students, Ann-Katrin Nolte was attracted to New Zealand because of its rolling green hills, sandy beaches and rocky mountains.

27 Jul 2023

So, when it came time to complete her semester abroad as a part of home studies at Hochschule Niederrhein (HSNR), her decision to study in New Zealand was an easy one.

Ann-Katrin Nolte at the University Rowing Championship 2023.

More complicated was where in New Zealand to study. The University of Waikato was high on her list, with papers in communication design, public relations and media piquing her interest. But the deciding factor for choosing Waikato was when Ann-Katrin was awarded the University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor’s International Bursary scholarship.

Since arriving in New Zealand at the start of 2023, Ann-Katrin has immersed herself in the kiwi way of life. She found herself living in a typical kiwi flat over the halls of residence which many international students tend to opt for.

“In Germany, I have always lived at home, so I didn’t know what flatting was going to be like, but it was fun. I really enjoyed it.”

Ann-Katrin says she has had many incredible experience’s while in New Zealand, from trips to Hobbiton Movie Set organised by the University’s International Student Support team to being a part of the University of Waikato Rowing Club.

“The highlight of my semester abroad has to be going down to Twizel for the University Rowing Championship. Our Waikato Novice Women’s 8 came away with the gold. It was pretty special to be a part of.”

Aside from her adventures around New Zealand, Ann-Katrin spent a lot of time in the design labs at our Hamilton campus. During her trimester at Waikato, she completed three papers, with MEDIA220 – Creative Media Production being her favourite. Inside the MEDIA220 classroom, Ann-Katrin was challenged to create a professional media project as a part of an assignment, and the “Truly International Podcast” was born, providing unbiased opinions on life as an international student abroad.

“Going for a semester abroad is a life-changing experience but it can also bring struggles with it.”

For those considering a semester abroad, Ann-Katrin has some sound advice.

  • Plan ahead: Start the planning process early to ensure a smooth experience. Apply for programmes, scholarships, and visas well in advance, and make sure you have all necessary documents in order.
  • Visa: Know what and what you can’t do with your visa. Depending on how long you’re staying you might not be able to work which brings me to the next point…
  • Budget wisely: Create a budget for your time abroad, including expenses like tuition, accommodation, food, travel, and leisure activities. Factor in any exchange rates and potential fluctuations.
  • Document your experiences: Take photos, keep a journal, or start a blog to capture your journey and share it with friends and family. These memories will be cherished for years to come.
  • Connect with other students: Make an effort to build relationships with both local and international students. It will make your time so much more special.
  • Travel: Take advantage of your time abroad to explore nearby cities or countries. You never know when or if you can come back.

For more information on study aboard programmes that the University of Waikato runs visit the Study Abroad and Exchange Website.



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