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I’m Back!

Time October 6th, 2014 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

It has been a long time since I have posted and I apologize for that! Things have been really crazy and busy but awesome. I had semester break for 17 days and then as soon as I got back to school work and other assignments really started to pile up. I will be posting more thoroughly written posts over the coming days since things have calmed down. I just have one more paper due on Friday and then I am really close to done before exams. Time has really flown.

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Pacing.

Time August 13th, 2014 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Time is a hard concept to fully grasp. It’s hard to imagine a period of four and a half months, it feels like forever and it feels like a day. Here in New Zealand the in class time compared to the United States is a lot smaller. I am only in class for a total of eleven hours a week. I will for a class only have a one hour lecture and a one hour tutorial for a total of two hours a week  whereas back home I would have a one hour class three times a week. Also take into consideration that I am only taking four classes, last semester I took six and on average five. So I find myself with a lot of free time on my hands. I should be spending most of this time studying for my classes but no one is perfect. I cant do that all the time.

 

I came to New Zealand to travel and get a real sense of understanding about this country and its culture. I will not get this by going out every night, my wallet wont either. This past weekend I did two New Zealand “must-do’s”. I can now check Hobbition and the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves off my list of things to do. Both were equally awesome in their own rights. The moment that stood out to me the most happened about 200 feet under ground. Our tour guides had handed us some candy and turned out the lights. There I found myself eating candy in the pitch black looking up at bioluminescence cannibalistic carnivorous fly larva poop. It was truly wonderful.

 

Short weekend trips like this one are great, but the do come in at a cost. Between three bus rides, two tours, and a night in a motel I was paying a pretty penny for all of this. This country has so much to offer and there is a two week spring break starting at the end of the month and then there is another large gap of time of freedom between classes ending and exams beginning. I would really hate to find myself planning trips for these times and find my bank account not agreeing with me because I chose to go out every night from Wednesday to Sunday.

 

To tie this up with my original point of  having much more free time than I’m used too, it is easy to go out and not think anything about dropping 15 to 40 dollars for a night of fun. It’s okay to have a quiet night in and watch a movie, or binge on a tv show instead of going out (or studying…) because you don’t want to wear yourself out too soon. You and your wallet have to respect each other so you can do all of the amazing things that studying abroad has to offer!

 

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The First Week.

Time August 13th, 2014 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

First Week in Auckland

 

I just moved into my flat at Carlaw Park, which is far nicer than I expected. I have a flat with 3 other people, two of who already live here and a third that will be moving in at a later another time. There was a wonderful note written on a chalkboard welcoming me to the new place. I quickly unpacked and did a much-needed load of laundry. Since it was the first night in Auckland the other students studying through IFSA-Butler and I went out for some dinner. We went to Tyler St. Garage, which is known for their pizza. It was definitely out of my budget so I won’t be going there again any time soon even though the pizza was amazing.

 

Since classes won’t start for a while I need to find things to do to keep myself busy.  Auckland is a pretty big city and I was told that it’s really easy to get caught up in it. Auckland is not all that New Zealand has to offer. I am really excited to check out the rest of the country but I have to remember that I’m here for the next few months and I will have to pace myself. Despite being really hilly Auckland is a fairly walk able city. The other day some other IFSA-Butler students and I took the ferry out to Devonport. Still part of Auckland and only a ten-minute ferry ride it feels like a whole different world. It replaces the busy downtown streets with quite little neighborhood roads. Forget tall concrete buildings and think of little front yards with a tree house. We got some fish n’ chips and then worked our way down the peninsula to the old Navy Base which is open to the public. The views were stunning. Devonport is easily my favorite place in Auckland.

 

The weather is really unpredictable here. It can go from being a perfect ‘winter’ day here to raining side ways in a matter of minutes. I say winter but by my definition of winter the weather here is more like perfect. Most days are nice and cool around 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. There is much more of Auckland to be seen over the coming weeks. I look forward to exploring it and the country beyond it.

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Orientation!

Time July 28th, 2014 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

 

The orientation hosted by IFSA-Butler at the YMCA Lodge in Shakespear Park was the perfect way to adjust to a new everything, really. The group flight landed in the early morning of Saturday July 5th where the Butler Staff met us at the airport and then took us to the park. Shakespear Park is a perfect example of the New Zealand coast with rolling hills dotted with sheep, private little beaches, and stunning views. The Park sits in a peninsula that juts out into the Hauraki Gulf and offers amazing views of surrounding island and in the distance the Auckland skyline.

As soon as we arrived we were fed and taken on a walk around the park. After this we were fed again and again and again. It was impossible to go hungry between all the meals and tea times. After lunch we were taught how to play rugby, which is the most popular sport here in New Zealand, and then taken to natural hot springs in the Auckland area. The whole day we were kept busy to help adjust to the new time zone.

Despite the typical winter weather in Auckland, which is rain. The first two days were absolutely beautiful. The sun was shining which made the kayaking and exploring the park very enjoyable. I also go to try mountain boarding, which was really fun. My snowboarding experience definitely helped with not falling down. I wish that we had been given more time there because it was just beautiful. However, we had to move on. After spending a few hours in Auckland we made our way north to spend the next night getting our Maori cultural experience where we learned a little bit of the language and stayed in a traditional Maori village. It was a great introduction into the other side of New Zealand. New Zealand is a country that is trying to do things differently. It is working on finding a balance between its different cultures of the native Maori and the European settlers.

Orientation flew by faster than expected and was such a great time. Next it was time to move into our accommodations. I’m living in Carlaw Park, which is the newest housing development at UoA. I’m excited to get settled and start exploring the city and campus.

 

 

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Pre-Departure

Time July 9th, 2014 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

It’s the night before I leave and I’m surprisingly not as nervous as I thought I would be. This past week I’ve been dealing with all the restlessness/anxiety/nerves/excited-ness that comes with a trip like this. Auckland, New Zealand is almost exactly 9,000 miles away from my hometown. It still doesn’t feel real, it hasn’t hit me that in 12 hours time I will be somewhere in the air on my way to the country of my childhood dreams. As a kid whenever I was asked “if you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?” I would answer New Zealand for whatever reason occurred to me at that moment. When really, I never knew why exactly I wanted to go there I just did. Fast-forward to now and I am. I finished packing this afternoon with my luggage weighing in at somewhere around 43 pounds and my carry on at about 14 pounds (I’m only allowed 15!) Packing was definitely more of a struggle than I anticipated. I’m taking the IFSA-Butler group flight tomorrow so hopefully I will meet some people on the way. If I don’t then I will when we are picked up from the airport to be taken to the IFSA-Butler orientation. I don’t really know what to expect but I predict that these 32 hours of travel time will not be the funnest, but I think I’m ready.

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