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The End

Time December 5th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, New Zealand | No Comments by

Here it is December 5th.  I just got back into the States a week ago today and I can not believe it is already over.  Since being home I’ve seen family and friends and they all ask me that one simple question, “How was it?”  I wish the answer was as simple as the question.  My common response is how unreal it was and what a beautiful country New Zealand is.   However, that doesn’t seem to do it justice.  Living abroad was one of the greatest experiences of my life.  All the good times, tough times, and everything in between ultimately made me so happy to have had that experience.  Being abroad for five months teaches you a lot about the country and yourself.  I have gained a new perspective, made new friends, and have found a new home in the world, despite it being thousands of miles away.  I plan on going back to New Zealand at some point; I definitely want to see it in their summer time.  (It was tease leaving when it started to get really warm out and then coming back to the Northeast where there is snow on the ground this morning.)  But, if I never do make it back to NZ, I’m satisfied with my time there and what that time meant.  If anyone is reading this on the fence about studying abroad, the least you can do is just submit an application.  Go through the process, look more into your country, talk to people who went.  Prepare as much as you can, but remember there’s only so much you can prepare for.  It will be new and maybe uncomfortable at times, but that’s part of the experience.  Don’t rule out study abroad without giving it some serious thought, because looking back, I definitely would have regretted not going.

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The Top 5

Time October 26th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, New Zealand | No Comments by

Well, campus here is officially in study mode.  Everyone is locked in the library or another study space for hours on end.  Most of the finals count for like 50% of your grade so it’s pretty important to do well on them.  Just as important studying is, I want to make sure I’m soaking in my last few weeks in New Zealand.  Last week, I visited Mount Cook/Aoraki and hiked the Kepler Track.  These definitely cracked the top 5  NZ experiences so far and I definitely recommend making trips to both.  It’s kind of weird writing this post because I think it’s my last one…?  I feel like I should be reflective and get all sobby about leaving NZ  in a few weeks.  But I’m not going to do that.  I’ll just give 5 pieces of advice for those lucky enough to enjoy this country next.

  1.  Aioli makes everything better – What is Aioli, you ask?  Pretty much garlic mayonnaise and let me tell you, this is a gift from God.  That thing goes with sandwiches, cheeseburgers, chips (fries), etc. Definitely going to look into getting some back in the States.
  2. Be Open Minded – I considered myself a pretty open minded person before I came and I think that served me well in coming here.  Try new things, get outside your comfort zone.  It’s strange at first, but it may be one of the cooler things you do in NZ.
  3. Get Outside – That’s almost a given.  New Zealand scenery is by far the most beautiful nature I’ve ever seen in my whole life.  Even the views from the road will take your breath away.  Nothing is more picturesque than a million sheep grazing in a green field with snow-capped mountains as the backdrop.
  4. Road Trip – One of my best memories is spending a week in a campervan touring the North Island with friends.  Sharing a living space as small as a van teaches you a lot about what you need and don’t need.  It also shows you really don’t have to shower that often!  You learn a lot about yourself and also about the other people you are “vanning” with.  Also, you get to see some of the sickest things in the country.
  5. Positivity is Key – Alright, a little deep on this one, I’m sorry.  But this is probably the number one thing I’ve learned while being in New Zealand.  As great of a country it is, you’ll go through some rough times.  Everyone does, it’s just part of it.  There are some things you can’t control, but you can always control your mindset.  Being positive will help you get through anything and once you do overcome it, you’ll be a better person.

 

So I think that’s a wrap.  If not, I’ll write another one and be back at it with something else to say.

Cheers to you, New Zealand and all that you have taught me over the past 5 months.

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The Treadmill that is New Zealand

Time October 3rd, 2016 in 2016 Fall, New Zealand | No Comments by

It is officially October here, which means there are officially two more weeks of classes left!  Exams go for a month after that, but even still, the semester is coming to a close!  I absolutely can not believe I’ve been here for a little more than three months now.  Time has just flown by.  People ask me if I’m ready to come home at this point or if I just want to stay forever.  Honestly, it’s a mix of both.  My time in NZ I have left kind of feels like I’m on this treadmill going really fast and I’m trying to keep up with it.  I still have so many things I want to do and see, but so little time.  For a country as small as New Zealand, there sure are a whole lot of things to keep you busy.  This past week I visited Queenstown for a few days, but even in that time, I wasn’t able to do everything I wanted to do.  It was an amazing time hiking and exploring the area, but there is always something more to do.  I’m fortunate enough to have my dad come visit and travel with me for a few weeks after exams end, but even during that time, there will be so much of NZ that I don’t get to experience.  That’s ok though.  There will always be something else, something more you want to do, but time (and especially money) sometimes doesn’t allow it.  But that does not mean I can’t come back here and pick up just where I’ll leave off.

At the same time, I’m excited to go home and see my family and friends.  This study abroad experience, although it went by fast, was a long time away from home.  I think it’s longer than the time my friends in Europe will have.  It’s crazy to think about I started my travelling in late June and here it is early October already.  When November comes, I know I’ll be ready to see my family and be home.  FaceTime and Snapchat are starting to get old.  I’m excited to see everyone back home in person again.  Nothing against New Zealand, but five months is a long time.  So to answer that loaded question I posed earlier, I’m both ready to stay in New Zealand for longer, but also ready to come home.  It’s a strange mix, but encouraging.  It means that I have to make the most of the time I have left and that I already know I want to start planning my next trip back!

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Spraang Breeeeaaak

Time September 9th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, New Zealand | No Comments by

Last week, all of the Uni students were off for spring break.  It’s still weird thinking spring break is in August/September, but then I realized I’ll have TWO spring breaks this year, so I can’t complain.  Students travelled all over NZ to get a look of some of the greatest things the country has to offer.  I knew a lot of people who traveled to the north of the South Island to Abel Tasman.  That place is supposed to be one of the most beautiful places in the country, which was confirmed when my flat mates came back from there and showed me their pictures from the beach tramp they did.  A few of my mates and I decided to do something a little different.  We figured this would be the best opportunity to travel to the North Island and see what’s happening up there.  We wanted to be adventurous and what’s more adventurous than renting a campervan and living/traveling in it for a full week?!  Let me tell you, this was one of the coolest experiences of my life.  Not only did we get to see the beauty of the north, but living in a van with four people was mean (Kiwi for cool, good, etc. I hope I’m using that right).  Everything is so tight you have no choice but to get to know the people you’re with and lucky for us, we all got along, no problems at all.

We started in Auckland and picked up our van, which we eventually named Rhonda because every car needs a solid name.  Then we began our trip going north to Matakana where we were able to take in an incredible sunset on a beach.  We travelled back down the east coast, stopping at Cathedral Cove on the Coromandel Peninsula, which is better than advertised.  We continued down the coast driving through Tauranga and then moving inland through Rotorua and Taupo, three amazing places that I wish I had more time in.  We finished up in Wellington on Friday afternoon and were able to experience the Wellington Night Market and try some pretty unique food.  We flew back from Wellington to Dunedin on Saturday, exhausted, smelly, but with some of the best memories we’ve made since being in New Zealand.  Going back to school this week was not easy after such a great trip, but it definitely reignited the travel bug and I can’t wait for my next adventure!

 

If you want to read a more detailed version of my trip, check out my other blog https://theinexperiencedtravelersite.wordpress.com/ .  In the next few days, I’ll be putting up a day by day break-down of where we were and what we did .  Cheers!

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Not a coffee lover

Time August 18th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, New Zealand | No Comments by

The other day I went into one of the millions of little cafes they have in little old Dunedin.  Now, I am not a coffee drinker by any means.  The only “coffee” I like is an iced mocha caramel coffee from Dunkin Donuts and I only get that on a rare occasion.  For some reason, I feel the need to order coffee whenever I go into a cafe or whatever. It must be some social pressure or image thing, I don’t know someone should do a study on that.  Anyway, I approached the counter, kind of panicking because I knew whatever I ordered I wouldn’t like.  The first thing I saw is what’s called a Long Black and not having a single clue what that was, I ordered it.  I later looked up what it was and it’s apparently a New Zealand and Australian style of coffee that is a double shot of espresso poured over hot water.  Who knew something so simple would take long to make, so when it finally came I was curious what it would taste like.  Let’s just say straight white wine vinegar would have tasted better… Drink aside, the cafe (called A Dog with Two Tails) was really cool with a nice rustic vibe to it.  Hey maybe I’ll make it back there and next time play it safe with a hot chocolate.

The point of this story is twofold.  One, I don’t like coffee and I don’t think I ever will despite the amount of times I try it.  But more importantly, it’s about trying new things.  Even something as simple as wandering into a random cafe near the Octagon (the center of town here in Dunedin) and ordering something ridiculous off the menu, it’s all about putting yourself out there.  Your study abroad experience is what you make it.  It can be filled with incredible hikes with great views, terrible tasting coffee, or anything else of the billion of things Dunedin and New Zealand have to offer.  It’s cliche, but it’s true.  It’s all up to you.

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Snow Sports!

Time August 5th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, New Zealand | No Comments by

Last weekend, I went on a ski trip to Wanaka, which I had the opportunity to ski on a beautiful mountain for two full days.  Wanaka is about four hours north-west of Dunedin.   It’s safe to say that trip is one of the highlights of my study abroad experience so far.  Thinking back on it, that weekend was a trip of many “firsts”.  It was my first time skiing since my Freshman year of high school, but I was excited to get back on a mountain and try out the whole snow sport thing again.  It was my first time staying at a hostel, which was a really nice hostel.  The whole idea of hostels is fascinating to me.  It’s pretty much a community house that brings random people together who have similar interests and you live with them for a few days.  There was a map of the world in the lobby with push pins indicating which part of the world people who stayed there have come from. Running a hostel must be one of the coolest jobs to have because of all the people you meet, each with their own story.  I think I’ll add it to my list of possible retirement jobs (the other one being an airline steward). Read More »

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The Process

Time July 20th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, New Zealand | No Comments by

 

Time is an interesting thing.  On one hand, I can’t believe I’ve been living in this beautiful country for almost three weeks now.  I have done some pretty incredible things such as kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, curling, and I even took a tour of a chocolate factory (not quite like Willie Wonka’s but the amount of free chocolate I got made up for the fact there were no Oompa Loompas wandering around)!  I’ve witnessed a beautiful sunrise in Auckland and powerful waves pounding against the cliffs at Tunnel Beach.  I have met some incredible people from all over the world, all with unique stories of their own.  I’ve survived “The Zoo” at a local rugby match (despite the fact I understand very little about the sport).  The point is, I have done a whole lot in a short amount of time.  It feels like just yesterday I was boarding a plane in San Francisco with a bunch of other random college kids who had no idea what to expect. Read More »

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Here We Go

Time July 5th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, College Study Abroad, New Zealand | No Comments by

Well, the day is almost (finally) here.  After months and months of preparation, it is almost time to leave for New Zealand.  It almost doesn’t seem real that this adventure is about to begin.  After a quick pit stop in San Francisco for a couple of days, I’ll jump on a group flight over to New Zealand. Read More »

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