Hi, I’m Mike and I’m going to be a junior at Saint Michael’s College in Vermont. I’m a biology major and business minor and in one week I will be leaving for New Zealand.
It’s crazy to think that the day is almost here. I have been preparing for this moment ever since last October when I had a meeting with the study abroad advisor at my school. I walked into her office not knowing much. In fact, the meeting was a little overwhelming. The first question she asked was, where do you want to go? I kind of thought that was what we were going to figure out at the meeting but I guess I was a little behind. I knew that I did not want to go to Europe. I figure that would involve lots of museums and old building which I don’t have any appreciation for. I would much rather be in the middle of nowhere with an awesome view. Luckily I had been thinking of this question a little bit before the meeting and was able to come up with two places: Africa or New Zealand. I think Africa would be an incredible experience seeing as I love the savannah. We were quickly able to decide that if I were to go to Africa, I would do a program in Tanzania that focuses on Ecology since that is what I’m interested in. The program seemed a little strict for my liking though and didn’t seem to offer students the opportunity to explore the country on their own which is something that I want to be able to do.
This led me to focus on New Zealand and after much thought and some advice from friends who have been there I decided to study with IFSA-Butler at Massey University. The orientation and excursion activities look amazing and I can’t wait to experience them. The school is only a 20 minute drive away from Auckland which is the biggest city in New Zealand but it’s even closer to beaches, great hiking and hot springs. The biggest ski area in the country is also only a few hours away. Then during our breaks I plan on going down to the South Island to get in some more hiking and an adrenaline rush from Queenstown. This promises to be a crazy semester and I promise to keep you up to date on everything that is going on!
As of now not much exciting is happening. I’m working at a grocery store so I can save up for my trip and am starting to say my goodbyes to friends and family. I’m currently working on starting the packing process just to make sure everything will fit and that I don’t go over the 5olb limit. Each day I watch a video or read something about New Zealand in order to learn about the country and start figuring out all the things I want to do while I’m there. I’ve found that it is best not to do this right before bed seeing as last week I was reading a blog from last year and got so excited that I couldn’t sleep for hours. I’m really hoping that I will be able to sleep next Tuesday night so that I’m not tired for the trip but knowing me I will once again be too excited. I hope everyone is having a great summer and I can’t wait to share all of my experiences with you!
P.S. This map below isn’t exciting now but I will be using it to track where I go throughout the semester so it’s sure to get a lot more interesting!