It’s been a week since I arrived in New Zealand. It still feels like a dream but this is it. The long wait, the long queue, and the long air travel were all worth it. I am now officially starting my new journey here. So where do we start from here?
1. Make sure you have booked your accommodation prior to your arrival. As a scholar, you will be provided with accommodation solutions as soon as you confirm the scholarship offer. You will have to consider the pros and cons and decide from the plenty of options provided for you. If you are not familiar about how to get around near your university, it is best to choose the University accommodations as they are generally accessible and convenient. The only downside is that it comes with a price (don’t worry, it is still within your allowance kaya lang tipid moments). Be mindful that there are some universities (i.e. University of Auckland) that will require you to submit an application for accommodation. If you wish to stay at a more affordable place, the Accommodation Solutions (you will receive an email) will give you options.
2. Once you secure your accommodation you need to book your airport pick up (if applicable). In the case of the University of Auckland, you will receive an email with a link so you can book one. You need the exact address of your accommodation and the number of luggage you will be bringing.
3. ALWAYS check the baggage allowance allotted for you. The scholarship will normally grant you the economy baggage allowance (e.g. 30kg) so if you are bringing in more items then you need to prepare for extra charges. As a personal tip, you just have to bring things within the allotted baggage allowance to avoid inconveniences. If you are coming in with your family, send your balikbayan box/es one month in advance if it is really necessary (for sure, mauuna ka pang makakarating kesa sa padala mo).
4. Print out your ticket, visa/e-visa, scholarship letter and letter of offer from the university in preparation for any interrogations it may occur during your travel. You will also need these documents when you process your university requirements later on.
5. Pack light but pack the essentials (i.e. foldable umbrella, ballpens, markers, sticky notes, notebook/notepad, calculator, cosmetics). The ones I mentioned are some of the expensive items I have found in NZ. For instance, a pen (parang Panda lang) costs around 5 NZD, umbrella costs 20-25 NZD (hindi pa yan automatic). Remember to pack your passport, cellphone, charger and power bank.
6. Check your email regularly for updates. You need to check some advisory and essential updates regarding your flight schedule, airport pick up, and other things related to your travel to New Zealand.
7. Buy a New Zealand sim card. If you need to contact someone (i.e. the driver upon your arrival, you can buy your sim card at the airport. Remember to activate it and register online. It comes with mobile data if you avail the package. I got a Vodafone sim card at the airport. The sim card costs 5NZD and top up with 30 NZD for combo package. (mobile data, calls, and unlimited text messages). You can download the mobile application for ease of transactions and to monitor your remaining balance.
8. Drop by the International Student Office for courtesy call, a welcome pack, and some instructions (UoA).
9. Claim your student ID at the Student Center Office. If you can get a tertiary sticker, do so. The sticker is essential if you usually commute because you will have 40% discount on your AT Hop card.
10. Open your bank account. For you to receive your allowance, you need a bank account. You need your student ID and your passport. Make an appointment with ANZ bank or BNZ bank. Mine is ANZ Bank because it is very accessible to the University.
11. Get an AT Hop card. This is essential if you commute every day. AT Hop card costs around 10 NZD and you need to top up with some amount for you to use. Make sure to activate it and register online. You should also apply for concession to finally avail of the 40% discount. Your student ID number will be required. You also need to download AT Hop application on your mobile phone.
12. Check the nearest grocery and department store from your location. You just arrived and you need to eat. If you live in Auckland Central Business District, the grocery is just few minutes walk. You can check Warehouse, Countdown or the Asian Store. At this moment, Google Maps is very useful. You can survive 🙂
So basically, these are just some of the essential tips I can share with you based on my personal experience as you begin your journey to New Zealand. Remember, if you have the courage to begin, you’ll surely have enough courage to succeed. Shine on!
If you have the courage to begin, you surely have enough courage to succeed.
👣The Official Traveler