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Student Stories

Charlotte Gerling

Charlotte is studying a double degree, Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Tourism Management, at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW)

“After not really knowing what I wanted to do after school, coming to New Zealand was the best thing I could have made. It gave me several months between school and university to travel and work, and the degree I am doing here at VUW is incredibly flexible. I can take courses I’m really interested in, and although I do have some mandatory courses there are still plenty of options to explore other subject areas. It gives me the opportunity to do two degrees, in environmental studies and tourism management, and still learn Spanish at the same time!

“I’m doing more papers than most students but it never feels like too much work because of the friendly, personal atmosphere in lectures and tutorials, plus I have still had enough time to meet new friends, use all the facilities at the Recreation Centre, go to the concerts organised by the Student Union and join in with free events like movie nights on campus.

“Wellington is the perfect place to study: it has everything a city should have to offer, whether that is bars, shopping, and Wellington’s famous cafés, or museums and galleries. Especially over summer there are performances, plays and films shown outside throughout the city – a great experience, especially when you’ve just come from Europe in February! There are also lots of green spaces in the city, like Mount Victoria and the Botanical Gardens, which offer great views over Wellington and the harbour, plus it is only a short 15 minute bus ride to somewhere where you can walk along the coast and feel miles away from anywhere. It is definitely the place for you if you want to live in a city but love the outdoors as well!

“I am staying in university halls, and share a flat with a New Zealander and an American exchange student. Halls are the perfect place to make friends with locals but also to meet people from all over the world. After just a few months we have basically decided that we must be the flat having the most fun in the whole city…! Our flat has its own kitchen and bathroom, and it’s so close to uni, town and the supermarket that it’s well worth the rent. I definitely recommend staying in university accommodation for at least the first term – it’s a good place to meet people, and the friendly staff really helped me settle in in the beginning by offering lots of free events, like pizza nights or a harbour cruise.

“Groceries are more expensive here, but if you go to the weekly Sunday market at the waterfront it’s much cheaper – as well as a much nicer way to shop.

“I spent my Easter holiday travelling in the South Island with friends, walking the Routeburn Track in Fiordland, spending a week kayaking around secluded islands in Lake Manapouri and exploring Queenstown – it was definitely one of my best holidays! Now I have just come back from a week’s trip between trimesters up in the North Island around Rotorua, Auckland and Whangarei, which was very nice as temperatures are hotter up there, and the scenery is stunning. Cheap bus and train fares make all this affordable. But also shorter trips in and around Wellington have been amazing, including walking around former railway tunnels in Rimutaka Forest Park at night, watching the seals and doing the Red Rocks walk at the coast (only 15 minutes from the city) or going to Abel Tasman National Park for the weekend.

Study Options helped Charlotte organise her applications…

“Without Study Options’ help organising all this would have been so much more complicated. They provided all the information I needed, and answered all my desperate e-mails immediately! They even helped me with my application for my NZ$10,000 scholarship from VUW, which has made studying here financially a lot easier. I would like to thank the whole team, but especially Sarah for encouraging me to come to the other side of the world – this really has been one of the best experiences of my life so far!”