One of the things that I was the most nervous about before coming to New Zealand was the school part of the whole experience. The University of Waikato is much bigger than Linfield, with I think about 18,000 students; and this is one of the smaller universities in New Zealand. After all, one of the main reasons why I chose Linfield was because it is so small. I never wanted to go to a big university where everything is so enormous and overwhelming. I was afraid that all my classes would be in huge lecture theaters with hundreds of students. I thought maybe my class would be taught by a T.A. and not the actual professor. Maybe even I would have one of those video conference classes where the professor isn’t even in the same city.
The registration process for classes, or papers as they are called here, is very different than it is at Linfield. First of all, none of it is online. You can look the classes up online of course but you have to go to all of the different schools (departments) and get approved to take each class. Because Waikato is so big all of the different schools have different buildings all over campus. Luckily for me all of my papers were in the Faculty of Art and Social Sciences (FASS for short) but I know a couple of other people who had to go to 2 or 3 different schools to get approved. Then you have to go to the Student Centre to get the enrollment form signed and make sure all of the course fees are being taken care of. It is quite a process. And, if you want to change just one class you have to do all of the steps over again. Needless to say I like the Webadvisor way better.
It turns out that all of my concern was for naught; as the things one worries about usually do. Maybe I just got lucky, but I don’t think I have any classes exceeding 100 students. In fact, one of my classes has only 9 enrolled, but only 3 (including me) show up regularly. One of the most interesting and different things about the classes here is that in addition to the lectures there is also a tutorial that you have to go to. I have found this helpful, especially in a larger class because you can ask questions and have more individual attention than in the lecture itself.