After an amazing study abroad experience in New Zealand, I have finally returned home to the states. The experiences I had changed me as a person as I became more cultural diverse. I got to see a whole new side of the world, and explored the beautiful country of New Zealand.
My time in New Zealand is slowly coming to a close. However, I still have some time since my classes started later than most other universities where people study abroad. I have had an amazing experience here in New Zealand. It has been everything I could have asked for and then some. I’d like to fill you in on my trip I took this past weekend, and update you on my adjustment to the New Zealand culture.
Starting my study abroad experience, I never even considered going to Bali while I was on this side of the world. I thought I would never have the time, and that it would definitely be too expensive to get to. However, after lots of research trying to find the cheapest flights, I soon found myself wandering the beautiful streets of this Indonesian island.
I just experienced the most exciting five days of my life! It has gone by so fast! I finally got some internet connection to post this blog, as I haven’t been able to get much access at all the past few days. For spring break, me and four other friends decided to rent a camper van and drive all around the South Island of New Zealand. After a short flight from Auckland to the South Island, we arrived at the rental company with the camper vans. My first reaction was, “Wow, this van is tiny!” The van is meant for four people, but we decided to give it a shot even though we had a group of five. The van didn’t have showers or a toilet or plugs to charge phones, so I thought we would all be in for a long week. But as the week has gone on, I have learned to appreciate the van and enjoy the company of my friends, and of course the gorgeous scenery.
What a month it has been! With my class work picking up dramatically and my parents coming to visit, I have kept extremely busy! Last week, I completed two major assignments and a paper for three different classes. Up to this point, I have really enjoyed the content of my classes as they have challenged me academically and have made me eager to learn more.
While most study abroad programs are reaching the end of their semester, I am not quite halfway through with my time here in New Zealand. I have been in Auckland for about 7 weeks now and that seems crazy to me; it’s going by so fast.
For Easter Break in New Zealand, my whole family was able to come out to visit me! It was so nice to see them, and especially to eat real food for the first time in weeks. The first day, we took a ferry over to Waiheke Island which is one of my favorite spots here so far. It is a small island full of at least two dozen vineyards with great views of the city and different beaches. Unfortunately, due to the Good Friday laws here, we were unable to do official wine tastings but we were able to enjoy a few glasses during our lunch and dinner.
Last weekend, I went on a two-day trip to Rotorua. Rotorua is considered one of the most touristy places on the North Island. There are so many fun outdoors activities to explore. The first activity we decided to do was go white water rafting. This ended up being one of the coolest things I have ever done! During our rafting experience, we jumped off a small cliff into the water, small downstream, and rafted down the steepest waterfall in NZ! It was an incredible experience as my friends and I had a blast. After we finished rafting, we went to one of the “secret” hot springs for a swim. These are hot volcanic springs that are not on a map and are not well known to the public. The water in the springs was extremely hot so we could only stay in for a short period of time. I had never been in a natural hot spring, so it was definitely a unique and fun experience.
I have now been in New Zealand for about a month! Studying abroad in New Zealand has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. The atmosphere and overall beauty of this country continues to amaze me each and every day. As classes have gotten more intense, I have had to budget my time between traveling and focusing on my studies. All of my classes have been really interesting up to this point. Along with some business classes, I am taking a computer science class and a international econ class. This is the first time I have taken a CS course, so it has been a little challenging. However, once you get the hand of coding, it becomes very rewarding and satisfying. Programming is a skill that is becoming more and more useful in the business world today. In terms of my international econ class, we have discussed interesting topics such as the global financial crisis, the gold currency standard, and globalization across borders. The lecturer for the course is very engaging and has made this course very enjoyable.