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Time July 13th, 2015 in College Study Abroad | 1 Comment by

Well I’m home now, 5 months early, but I’m “home”. My parents believed that i was going to be in New Zealand until November, which i was originally supposed to. I had registered for the calendar year abroad, but after talking with immigration and not being allowed to work 20hrs/week while studying i chose to shorten to one semester, I just didn’t inform my parents; the reaction…PRICELESS.Sorry, but i will not be uploading the video of it.

Being back home, its different, home hasn’t changed, but its not like New Zealand. In New Zealand i don’t remember looking at the news and seeing so much crime, judgement, hate. when you bought something for $10, it was $10 not like $10.30 or something. It wasn’t so crowded or ugly. So far I’ve seen California, I’ll be back home in Alaska on August 7th and see what its like up there. I don’t feel like i have had a hard time adjusting to life back here in the USA, but i could do with out the California desert heat. At the end of my study abroad i was feeling home sick, but now I’m feeling, missing New Zealand sick, i want to go back.

I got grades last night

A, B, B, C, not to shabby.


Well i think that’s it for me, i may go abroad for masters or PhD, but for now I’m going to finish studies in Alaska.

This is Aaron Rowbotham signing off.


The Last Days in New Zealand

Time June 25th, 2015 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
Ernest Hemingway

Wow i just realized its been quite a long time since I last posted or looked at this blog. That’s what finals will do to a person I guess.

So whats been happening, well not much. Finals have been a killer, i was doing great in my classes until finals came and killed me. But, i should pass everything. Now that finals are over people have started packing up and heading home. Everyday friends are leaving and i am staying, but that will soon be over, my time here, in this beautiful country, is ending. I have a few days left and on Sunday i will be home. I still find it funny how i leave New Zealand at 3pm on Sunday and arrive home in California Sunday at noon. I will be home before I even leave.

With all this coming to an end I think why, why did i come here? Well i think i found the answer, i came here to experience something new, to do things i normally would never have done if I had not gone abroad. I guess those are my fun reasons for studying abroad, I do have professional, i want to have classes under my belt that employers wouldn’t normally see in a candidate, how many people have a background and Antarctica? Not many. How many people have studied in New Zealand, one of the best places to study geology? I have done things here in New Zealand that not many have. I came to Canterbury because it was in the middle of a recovery from a devastating earthquake. I have seen a population slowly recover from devastating geological event, even in the small amount of time that i have been here.

All i can say before i head home is that i have had a blast and it couldn’t have been any better, yes, there were many other things i wanted to do (go to Sydney) but my journey needs to end somewhere, but of course I will start another at some point.


The Return Journey

Time May 26th, 2015 in College Study Abroad | 1 Comment by

I was looking at the calendar today, 1 month left in New Zealand. I look and see all my trips written on there, ones that I did and ones I wanted to do but never did.  I remember all of them as though I was doing them yesterday. Arriving, orientation, welcome dinner, beginning of classes, rafting, picton weekend, skydiving, Auckland, hobbiton, bungy jumping, rugby games, geology field trips. There has been so much that I’ve done here, and now there’s so little time left, so much I wanted to do.  I saw a quote pop up on Facebook the other day

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”

Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky (Discworld, #32)

I’ll be going back home soon, I’ll see my family (who doesn’t know I’m coming home early), I’ll see my friends in Alaska, and I’ll see the country I left. I can’t tell you how many times I have thought and said “I once thought there was nothing better than America (granted it’s still a great country), but being here, being away from it, I have gained new insight, there’s a whole other world out there, a better world in some aspects. A lot of what I once thought will change; my whole life will be different now.

Yeah i miss home(Alaska), but when i leave i think I’ll miss New Zealand and everyone I’ve made friends with here. I think what I am afraid of the most is never being able to return or to see my new friends again. And if i dont return well i had a great run, great friends, great country, great university and a somewhat ok IFSA staff cough, Alexis Keeman, cough.

To all those first generation college students (and other students) thinking of going on a study abroad, don’t think, just go, scrounge up every penny you can, this is a must do while in college. I will never regret doing this, no matter how much debt I have accumulated and offset my degree I will forever remember this trip and never forget it. College is the time when lifelong friend and memories are made.

And thus the return journey is at my door, it is coming, it is coming….


Trip to Auckland and Hobbiton

Time April 30th, 2015 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Well it was a fun 3 week break, but now school has to start again. So here are the highlights of my break.

Week 1

New flatmate from India, he seemed ok at first, then he started getting too close with me, now he gets on my nerves. I think I can deal with this. Wednesday, SKYDIVING, expensive but totally worth it. 20 minute flight (in the smallest plane I have ever been in, 5 people uncomfortably) then out the door we go at 12000ft. When you first go out, it feels like your falling down stairs, not having any control over whats happening, then you put your arms out and you are free falling. That last about 45 seconds then the parachute opens and everything slows down and is peaceful. The New Zealand country side is BEAUTIFUL. That was the biggest highlight until week 3.

Week 2

Was lazy and sat around watching movies and wandered Auckland for a couple days.

Walked the tram line that goes through the city center, saw a lot of the destruction caused by the earthquake. Went to the Earthquake museum and saw the pictures from the destruction and videos taken during the quake. The sad part was listening to the stories that were being told.

Week 3

Well here is what everyone wants to hear about, my trip to Auckland to tour Hobbiton.

I spent 5 days in Auckland.

Day 1

Basically a laid back day. I arrived in Auckland about 11am and got to the Backpackers about 1230pm. Walked around the immediate area and saw what kind of adventures I could have the next couple of days. One of the people in my room at the backpackers invited me to go to the bar with them. Because I was staying at a backpackers, the first drink was free, plus it was raffle night. They were raffling off crazy expensive prizes, AND I WON ONE!!!!! I won a bungee jump off the Auckland Bridge.

Day 2

Not a very boring day, I bout a ferry ticket to a volcano that last erupted 600 years ago. Hiked around there for a few hours went through a lava cave. Hiked to the summit and had a great time. I got back to Auckland at around 1pm. I then decided to use my free bungee jump. I have to say it was worse then skydiving. Skydiving was easy, but this, this I was scared to death of jumping off the edge. When I jumped, well the adrenaline hit and I had the time of my life.

Day 3

Early morning, met the tour bus at 640am. We traveled to the Waitomo Glowworm caves first. I wouldn’t say it was an amazing tour, but it was interesting. I think the best part about it was that I asked a couple question to the tour guide and she then asked if I was a geologist and of course I said “yes,” apparently I made her nervous after that. Whenever she would finish explaining something geology she would look at me to see if I had any correction or questions.

We then stopped at some farm to wait for a different tour bus to take us to hobbiton. The tour I have been waiting for. This place is in the middle of nowhere, seriously nothing but farm land for miles in any direction. OMG was this place amazing. It was smaller than I expected, most of the hobbit holes were life size. None of the hobbit holes were deep; they had just enough room to open the door then nothing. So when a character enters a hobbit hole they immediately walk from Matamata, New Zealand to Wellington, New Zealand. And sadly we were only able to take photos inside of one hobbit hole, and it wasn’t bag end. We went to the party tree and that tree is huge. I got a few photos. We then ended our tour at the green dragon, and I got to have a beer inside, they used it as an actual bar. I then slowly made my way back to Auckland.

Day 4

This was a slow day; I took a ferry to Devonport and toured the island. According to the tour guide the cheapest house you can buy in Devonport is $2.5million, and it’s not even a nice house. I’m not going to bore you with the rest of the details of the tour.

Day 5

I went back to Christchurch.

School started 2 days after I got back.


Me Vs. Fellow Study Abroad Students

Time April 27th, 2015 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

How in the world did i even get here?

Now that is a hard and long question. According to a lot of people the average study abroad student is a white, female, from an elite college, majoring in arts/humanities, and has highly educated parents. I don’t think I could be any more opposite then this, and i realized it more during our 3 week break then anything. I’m a white male, from a state college, majoring in science, and neither of my parents or grandparents went to college. Read More »


Weekend trip to Picton

Time March 30th, 2015 in 2015 Spring, College Study Abroad, First Generation Scholars, New Zealand | No Comments by

Well it took me quite a long time to get this posted but last weekend we went up north to the top of the South Island to Picton where we swam with dolphins, went to a winery, and Kayaked around the sound. Read More »


Thinking about home

Time March 30th, 2015 in 2015 Spring, College Study Abroad, First Generation Scholars, New Zealand | No Comments by

dscn1551 Well I guess its that time, I’ve been in New Zealand for about 1 1/2 months and i guess I am pretty well settled in, and now I should start telling you about it. Read More »


Time to play in the water

Time March 11th, 2015 in 2015 Spring, College Study Abroad, First Generation Scholars, New Zealand | No Comments by

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“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

Well as you can see in the photo, this past weekend was AMAZING, I’m still waiting on the Rangitata River Rafting photos from my SSC, but hey this weekend was sooo much fun Saturday I went Cave streaming and on Sunday I went Rafting down the Rangitata River.

On Saturday me and a few others from IFSA met up with this Christian club called “Revolution Uni” and drove out to cave stream. They gave us semi proper clothing so that we wouldn’t get cold in the water. We hiked down to the cave and went in. I brought my semi water proof phone(I have no idea why) and my non water proof camera with me. We went in and man was that water cold, it felt warm after a while. The water at max came to chest deep and I was holding my phone and camera in the air like an idiot. Anyway, we traveled through the water for about a half hour and reached a waterfall that our leader refused to continue pass, then we traveled back. Through that whole time I fell in once(not getting my camera or phone soaked) and scraped my knee and leg a bit. After all that we traveled back to Christchurch.

On Sunday the whole IFSA group went rafting down the Rangitata. We met at 845am to meet the shuttle down to the rafting company. Our SSC is a liar, she said the shuttle was supposed meet us at 9am, but when we met she said it was coming at 915 and she wanted all to meet early, cause she didn’t believe we could all be there on time. It was a 2 hour ride to the company in which they fed us sandwiches before the trip, then got us all into wetsuits. We traveled to the river. It is next to EDORAS!!!!, not exactly but just down one of the valley’s is where they filmed it. In minutes they taught us how to properly navigate a raft down a river and in 2.5hrs we traveled through multiple grade 2 and 3 rapids and a few grade 5’s. I had a blast(pics to come soon). they fed us a BBQ lunch after and drove us back to Christchurch. What a weekend. If most of the semester is going to be like this then I’m glad I choose to study abroad.

Next weekend

Saturday: rugby game

Sunday: idk yet


Hopefully one of these day’s, if I have the spare money, a 12000ft skydiving trip.


From US to New Zealand learning

Time March 2nd, 2015 in 2015 Spring, College Study Abroad, First Generation Scholars, New Zealand | 1 Comment by

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”

Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky (Discworld, #32)

Read More »


Orientation and Arrival in New Zealand

Time February 20th, 2015 in 2015 Spring, College Study Abroad, First Generation Scholars, New Zealand | No Comments by


“We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey.” –John Hope Franklin Read More »


Countdown to New Zealand

Time February 2nd, 2015 in 2015 Spring, College Study Abroad, First Generation Scholars, New Zealand | 4 Comments by

Hey everyone,

It’s February 1st, in 10 more days I will be on a plane headed for New Zealand and my life will change. New college, new friends, new country, and more. It’s almost here.

Soo much to do, so little time, and I’m nervous as ever. All this change about to happen, I’ve been looking at my suitcases wondering if I have too much or too little, what needs to go, and what doesn’t. Hoping I will have enough money while I am over there.

It’s beginning to be time for me to say goodbye to my family; I guess its no different then when I have left California for Alaska. But at those times I was still in the United States, not going to another country. Read More »


All about me

Time January 16th, 2015 in 2015 Spring, College Study Abroad, First Generation Scholars, New Zealand | No Comments by

Hello everyone,

I am Aaron Rowbotham; I am from Victorville California (the desert). I am a Geology and Anthropology student at the University of Alaska Anchorage, UAA.

So, why to go to college in Alaska of all places? To be honest it started out as a joke to scare my mother and grandparents (it worked). I applied and was accepted to multiple universities in California, Utah, Ohio, and Alaska. I wasn’t originally going to apply to Alaska, nor was I even thinking about it, then I asked a friend what his favorite place in the world was, and he said Alaska. You can guess what happened after that. Being accepted to UAA, I originally wasn’t looking at it until I Financial aid reports were coming out and UAA had the best report and I looked into it more. When I switched my major over from Sociology to Geology I realized that of all the Universities that I applied to, there was no school better for geology then UAA, especially since it is in Alaska, a place that can be argued as the most complex geological system in the world. So in the end I chose to go to school in Alaska.

Read More »