Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

The Program Matters

First of all, sorry for the lack of updates. I have never been so busy in my life. Whether it’s going into town or taking a road trip, I always seem to be on the move here. And then of course there is the actual school work which is just starting to hit me.

I can’t believe I’m about a month and a half into my time in New Zealand. I’ve gotten setteled and have become friends with a bunch of people who live in Lucas Creek which is where I’m staying. As I think I mentioned before, I’m the only person from the IFSA-Butler orientation who goes to this school. There are about 20 people from IFSA-Butler at University of Auckland but we don’t often see each other since the bus fares add up quickly. Although it initially made me a little nervous, I don’t mind being the only one from my program here. If forced me to meet new people and I still get to keep in touch with everyone from orientation.

Many of the freinds that I have made are also study abroad students from the US, they just didn’t come through IFSA-Butler. Just from everyday conversations I have learnt that I clearly made the right call by choosing to study with this program. We are lucky enough to have a fantastic orientation, a great Student Services Coordinator, many thrilling events and a chance to get together for weekly meetings. One of my friends programs had a week long orientation but nothing else during the semester. I on the other hand have already gotten the chance to go quad biking, plant trees, and go out to dinner all of which was included in the program fee. We still have an adventure weekend planned as well as a trip to see a local rugby match. Also, some other friends had to fill out paperwork for a student ID card but I got an email from the office saying that mine was all ready to be picked up since IFSA-Butler did the work for me. It’s the little things like that that shows they really care about their students.

The quad biking trip was much better than I expected. I pictured us slowly going along some flat path to nowhere in particular. Instead, we got to go as fast as the quads could manage (I got mine up to 55 km/h), traveled off road up hills and through lots of mud and went to the top of a decent sized hill. I had an absolutely awesome time. When we finished riding we were treated to a delicious lunch which was cooked in the ground using traditional Maori cooking methods. The chicken had a unique smokey flavor and was quite good.

Uncovering our lunch!

Half of the quad biking group stopping for a brief talk about the local history.

For our volunteer event we wentout to a nearby island to plant some trees. I felt right at home since I am one of the leaders for the Outdoor Volunteer Efforts program at my school back home. It wasn’t a competition, but if it was I would have won for planting the most trees.

Some of the group hard at work planting trees.

Both of these events gave me an opportunity to do something that I most likely would not have been able to do on my own. I have however done lots of other activities with the friends that I have made at Massey. Next week I’ll write a post telling you all about the road trip I went on this past weekend so be sure to check back soon. I’ll give you a hint as to where we went: there was snow :)

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