It’s getting near the end of year, which means NCEA exams (good luck!) and more importantly (applying for admission for uni and finding out where you’re going to live next year!). So as you may or may not know, I’m from Christchurch, which meant that moving to Auckland was a pretty major thing. Many people think it’s just a location change, but it’s also a complete lifestyle change as well.
A bit of background info – So I went to Rangi Ruru Girls’ School (shout out to them!) which had around 600-700 students. I’ve lived in Christchurch all my life and I’ve only really been to the North Island twice (apart from the occasional stop at Auckland airport which I’m not counting). I was always keen to study health science. Although they did offer it at my local university didn’t seem as good as the health science programme at the University of Auckland. (Also, they didn’t offer medicine.)
Also, like most high school students, I was just really, really, really desperate to go anywhere. I mean literally anywhere. Just to experience independence and escape seeing the same people for 5 years. (Although looking back, I wish I had made more of an effort to really get to know them). A lot of friends moved away from Christchurch, and I was really fortunate to have some friends from my old school move up to Auckland. (I met a few Cantabrians up here as well!). But the majority stayed back at home (I mean fair enough).
One of the key differences between Christchurch and Auckland is the size of the place. I’ve lived in Christchurch my whole life, so I kind of knew where everything was and I’d been everywhere at least once. Christchurch, unlike Auckland, has a lot of residential neighbourhoods, while I’ve found that in Auckland, a lot of neighbourhoods are really ‘urbanised’ if that makes sense? This year, I’ve had the great opportunities to get to visit; Parnell, Newmarket and Ponsonby and I’m really keen to visit a few more (such as Takapuna, Albany and New Lynn).
That’s what I love about Auckland. It never feels very old, there’s always new places to visit to get lost in, and new pop-up shops and developments (also the number of concerts compared to Christchurch is amazing). Auckland always has something going on. Every weekend there’s so much to see and do (which can mean a tough decision between studying or going to an event) and if you live in a hall, there’s quite a few hall events as well.
Another key difference is just the population size. Christchurch has around 380,000 people while Auckland has 1.66 million people (that’s around 4 times as many!!!), this may be even a bigger difference for those of you in rural towns. This means, there’s so many different ethnicities and cultures, you meet people people from so many different places; from Wellington to Waipu and from places like Hastings, Rotorua and Taranaki.
Living in such a big city is pretty cool, I’ve gotten so used to Queen Street and going around Britomart and the Viaduct that it just dosen’t have that same feel of largeness and grandeur. After 2-3 weeks, I stopped relying on google maps, and after 5-6 weeks, I no longer got lost and I know pretty
much where to go, when to go. However, although I do miss driving a car, you really don’t need one if you’re living at halls! Everything is in such close proximity (Uni takes 2-3 minutes from UH. Queen Street takes 5-10 minutes). However, if you reallllllly do want a faster method of transportation, Auckland has heaps of bike paths which are pretty cool!
However, what it comes down to, is that in reality you’ll be coming up (or down) to Auckland to mainly study. The University of Auckland is the best University in New Zealand, and the programmes it offers are excellent. Unlike some uni’s, a lot of the students already live in Auckland. So it provides a great environment to meet people from around New Zealand but also to meet the locals. Ie, to meet people where it’s normal to take a train to uni and not drive a car around ☺️ (And I could finally experience warm weather and palm trees!).
My advice to anyone considering University is that when you’re considering universities, consider the programme you want to study and not really the location. (I mean obviously still research into it and factor it into your decision making); but all in all, you’ll only be there for 3-4 years while the qualification you hold will be forever.
I’ll be honest. Moving to Auckland hasn’t been easy, but what makes the transition so much easier is staying in contact with my friends back home but also opening myself up to others, making an effort to make friends and loving what I’m studying.
– Lily (: