If you didn’t already know that I spent this summer studying and working in New Zealand, where have you been?
! I had the absolute best two months of my life and I don’t think anything will ever top my experience. I’m a very lucky lady indeed.
So what course did I do and where did I study? Well, my dear reader, this summer I took part in the Massey University National Expedition and Internship!
Today I’ll be reviewing the program by telling you all the pros and cons, to help you decide whether you want to partake in this program in the future.
About the Massey University National Expedition and Internship
The Massey University National Expedition and Internship is a six-week study abroad program in New Zealand.
The program takes you across the North and South Islands and places you in an internship where you’ll work on real-world problems relevant to your degree.
You start by completing assignments while you embark on a two-week study tour through some of the planet’s most spectacular scenery.
The tour is followed by a four-week internship in the capital of New Zealand, Wellington.
What subjects can you study?
There are four different tracks you can choose from.
These include Communication and Marketing (my chosen track!), Creative Expression and Digital Media, Agriculture and Environment, and Disaster Risk and Emergency Management.
Each track embarks on a completely different tour and, of course, completes different coursework.
You may live with some of the other students while completing your internships in Wellington but, aside from that, you will not see students from the other tracks.
Am I eligible and how can I apply?
The Massey University National Expedition and Internship is open to students from any country, as long as you meet their English language requirements and have permission from your home university.
To apply, all you need to do is fill out an application form and send them your CV. It’s that simple!
Please bear in mind that Massey University is pretty shit at getting back to you quickly.
It took me around two months to receive my Offer of Place, even though they say it’ll only take five to seven working days.
If you’re interested in applying for summer 2019, the deadline for applications is 15th March 2019, though I personally applied around Christmas time.
You’ll make friends for life
Well, unless you’re put with a shit group that is. Luckily for me, that wasn’t the case.
I was placed with the loveliest bunch of human beings in the world.
It’s safe to say saying goodbye was hard (especially since pretty much all of them live across the bloody North Atlantic). I may have shed a tear or seven hundred.
When you spend 24/7 with people for two months, sharing hostel rooms, being stuck on long bus journeys together, climbing mountains together, and perhaps even working together, you are inevitably gonna form a unique bond (or hate each other’s guts, either-or).
In the Communication and Marketing group, there were about fifteen of us in total.
However, we also spent a month living with eight students from the Media group in our hostel in Wellington so we got really close to them too.
You don’t have to plan your travels yourself
I obviously have no trouble planning my travels. In fact, I thrive off it and enjoy the process a concerning amount. However, most people are not like that.
With this study abroad programme you are not responsible for planning any travels yourself, aside from your return flights.
This means it’s the perfect study abroad programme for anyone who has never been abroad before or planned their own travels.
I never once had to stress about organising anything or being late to somewhere as they escort you everywhere.
So even though I love planning my travels, it admittedly did take the pressure off a lot.
We discovered just how difficult it was to plan travels for a huge group of people when we tried to plan a weekend trip to Taupo from Wellington.
But you can still travel independently
If like me, you love travelling independently, love organising your own travels and want to tick as much off your New Zealand bucket list as possible, you still have the opportunity to do your own thaaang!
Your weekends in Wellington are free to do with as you please.
And of course, you can decide when you choose to come to New Zealand and when you leave.
Many people on the course organised independent travels either before or after the program; several of my friends even travelled to Australia to make the most of being in such close proximity to the country.
I personally spent a week alone in Auckland before the expedition started, and a bunch of us also visited Taupo one of the weekends we were in Wellington.
It looks great on your CV
If you want to travel during your university holidays but also want to do something worthwhile, the Massey University National Expedition and Internship is perfect for you.
It allows you to gain valuable global experience while seeing more of the world at the same time.
Not only are you partaking in a study abroad programme, and are thus learning more about your discipline and completing coursework, but you also get to intern at a company for a month.
The Massey University National Expedition and Internship is very unique in that it combines study, work and travel.
This is very rare to find in study abroad programmes which is why I wanted to apply so badly.
*Plays The Best of Both Worlds by Hannah Montana in the background*.
Businesses often look for applicants with a global mindset to engage with their culturally diverse employees and overseas clients, meaning this program will really set you apart from other applicants.
Unfortunately, there are some disadvantages of studying abroad. Read on to discover what could have been better…
I won’t lie. This course is absolutely extortionate. There are no two ways about it.
I knew that it was going to cost me an arm and a leg before I even applied.
But having saved up a lot of money the previous university year from working multiple part-time jobs, I could afford it and I knew that I wanted to spend my money on it.
Be warned: the bulk of the program cost goes towards your tuition fees.
Plus, when you throw in additional costs like food and drink (the amount I spent on wine on this trip is laughable), independent travel and partaking in activities like chucking yourself out of an aeroplane, it definitely adds up.
You don’t get much time in each place
If you want to see every nook and cranny of New Zealand, the Massey University National Expedition and Internship probably isn’t for you.
Unfortunately, you spend the majority of the exhibition either on the bus or in industry talks.
However, if you’re keen to get a broad overview of the country, this program is great!
The lack of time meant we sometimes did not get to do the activities we wanted to!
For example, a bunch of us really wanted to bungee while in Queenstown and a similar number wanted to skydive while at our industry talk at Skydive Taupo. However, we didn’t have time to do either of these things.
But because we were so desperate to skydive, we decided to leave Wellington for a weekend during our internship to stay in an Airbnb in Taupo so that we could skydive.
This meant spending a lot of our own money on top of the already extortionate program fees.
Plus, we always made the most of the nights too!
You don’t get to choose where you work
If you’re lucky like me, Massey University will pair you with the perfect internship host.
However, this was not the case for everyone. And while some people were paired with relevant companies, they were not doing valuable work.
Obviously, as with any internship, your experience can be very hit or miss.
Luckily you need to fill in an Internship Placement Form when applying which means Massey University can try to assign you to a placement that suits you and is rewarding for both you and the company you are working at.
I spent a month working at a student exchange travel company (could they have possibly paired me in a more relevant organisation!?), AFS Intercultural Programs New Zealand, where I was responsible for creating marketing plans and assisting with various tasks in social media, email marketing, and graphic design.
I loved my internship and found my time there incredibly fulfilling and rewarding!
You have to complete a lot of coursework
You have to approach this programme with a realistic mindset. You’re not just there to travel and have fun.
At the end of the day, you’re there to work and study to gain university credits.
However, most British, and a handful of American, universities do not accept the credits so please check with your university and take this into account before applying.
Having this short course on your CV is still an achievement in itself mind!
A lot of my friends were very stressed as they tried to write thousands of words for assignments while living in a hostel, working a 9 to 5 job, and making the most of their time in New Zealand.
As a result, they didn’t manage to do too much of the latter which is a real shame.
That is why I stress the importance of allowing yourself additional time to travel outside of the program to see more of the country when you are not up to your eyeballs in work!
The programme absolutely flies by so you may be gutted you didn’t see more of New Zealand.
Tell me: Have you ever studied abroad? Where did you go and how long for?