Benji Gifford

Benji Gifford

Study Abroad student from the USA

Living in student accommodation is a great way to meet new friends and socialise while being right next to campus, says Benji Gifford, a Study Abroad student from the US who is living in Te Āhuru Mayoral Drive Student Accommodation at the AUT City Campus.

“I decided to live in AUT’s student accommodation because I wanted to be close to other students and be more social. The best friends I made in Auckland are the ones I met in Te Āhuru Mayoral Drive Student Accommodation.”

He loves the facilities throughout the accommodation complex.

“We all have our own rooms with bathrooms and kitchens, and the facility is also very modern and secure. Another thing that’s great is the level 6 common area, which is a great hangout spot to meet other friends and residents.

“One of my favourite memories of living here is the time I got home late and some residents I didn’t know offered me some of their dinner. I really appreciated it and we all became good friends after!”

Global adventures
Deciding to come to AUT in Auckland through the Study Abroad programme was easy, says Benj who is studying cybersecurity at Champlain College in the US.

“I wanted to travel the world while I had a good chance to, and my parents encouraged me to study abroad. My home university made it super easy to come here. My dad studied in Auckland 30 years ago and he said he liked it here, so I thought it would be cool to follow in his footsteps.”

It’s a decision he certainly hasn’t regretted.

“I’m doing a lighter workload at AUT compared to Champlain College, so it’s been a nice break in that regard. Doing the Study Abroad programme is a great opportunity to explore this beautiful country while not being overwhelmed with uni.”

Making the most of New Zealand life
Benji says he enjoys that Auckland is close to many beautiful places and he loves exploring them on weekends.

“The adventures I’ve had here in New Zealand are for sure what I love most about being here. I’ve gone sailing, camping, hiking, caving and climbing all within the Auckland region. This country is packed with adventure.”

He has some great advice for other students.

“Don’t just stay in your room all day. Get out there and live!”