Latest The Journey of an International Student to Otago

The Journey of an International Student to Otago

Sri Themudu
Sri Themudu
Sri has left his home in Malaysia to study for a Masters in Entrepreneurship at the University of Otago in New Zealand. His ASEAN Scholarship has opened up this new opportunity for him.

New Zealand is becoming a popular choice for international students seeking a high-quality education away from home. It has a great reputation as a provider of quality education, offering excellent study opportunities and support services in a safe learning environment.

Moving away from home is an experience that comes with an array of realities.

It comes with fears like loneliness, financial stress and failure. Being an international student moving to New Zealand isn’t an easy transition.

Regardless of whether you are moving here with family or not, the experience of moving remains the same. It can really be a nightmare, but I was lucky I chose the University of Otago. Leaving my family back home and moving to New Zealand was a smooth journey for me.

Airport-cab-arrangement
“The International Office provides a guarantee of accommodation placement services to all international students”

What makes up a smooth transition for an international student?

I would say it is pre-arrival and post-arrival support that the University of Otago provided. Here are my thoughts.

Pre-arrival support

The pre-arrival support is the first impression for an international student. This support will give us a perception of how smooth is a life transition would be by moving to the land that you have known almost none.

  • Admission and Visa

Dunedin-Airport-Sign
“Apart from document sorting, accommodation arrangement is another uphill battle for every international student”

Personally, I felt amazed with the assistance provided by the international student services department and specifically by Paula McLeod, International Admissions Manager. She is an asset for the University of Otago and basically an angel for an international student like me.

Paula patiently answered a thousand questions that I emailed her one month after I received my scholarship confirmation from the New Zealand Embassy. She has responded my every email with the greatest detail without fail.

That gave me an idea of the ability of the international division in welcoming international students. With such great support, I sorted out my pre arrival documents, such as my Visa and flight ticket, within two weeks.

  • Accommodation

Apart from document sorting, accommodation arrangement is another uphill battle for every international student.

The baton was passed on to the accommodation office to guide on accommodation.

At Otago, the International Office guarantees accommodation placement services to all international students who receive an academic offer.

For an international student, there are several accommodation options available to consider depending on whether you prefer an independent lifestyle or enjoy living in a community.

After submitting my application to the University Managed Accommodation, the accommodation was confirmed in a few weeks.

On arrival support

I arrived during the weekend so I had anxiety feelings on whom to contact and where to get the keys.

But along came the university flat manager Tony Buchanan, who saved me time and energy in searching for a flat at an affordable rate. He made it so simple to get the keys and settling down, even during a weekend, that my worries were gone in a second.

Dundas-flat
“For an international student, there are several accommodation options available to consider depending on our lifestyle”

The cab driver who picked me up at the airport also understood the accommodation office process (quite an advantage of Dunedin being a city campus). During the journey from the airport to campus, she assured me that she would assist me to get into the flat. When I arrived at the accommodation office, she rang up the Campus security to get a key and necessary documents. The Campus security officer helped me get the keys and necessary items such as information pamphlets and maps.

After a few hours, the same Campus Security officer knocked my door to find out whether I was fine with the flat. She gave me a tour around the flat and showed me how to operate the electronic items and so on.

International-office
“Moving away from home is an experience that comes with an array of realities.”

This was only my first day at the University of Otago. But I promise I will continue to share my journey here in New Zealand.