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

The First Week

Time July 16th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

I can’t believe I have been in New Zealand for over a week. It seems like ages ago when I was siting in LAX waiting for my flight. Luckily for me, lots of IFSA-Butler students arrived at the airport early making my 7 hour layover a little more enjoyable. I knew right then that it was going to be a great orientation. After an enjoyable 13 hour flight we landed in New Zealand. We quickly made our way through customs and loaded our stuff up on the bus. Before leaving we had some kai (food). This would be a common occurrence throughout the weekend. I felt like a hobbit with all the meals and could not be any happier about it.

I felt as though we were in Jurassic Park on the ride to Shakespear Regional Park due to all the fog. Emily and Amy served as tour guides for the hour and a half bus ride but there wasn’t much to see since the fog was so thick. Once we arrived we had a meeting and the fog lifted. It was quite a sight seeing the countryside for the first time. The lodge we stayed at is situated on farmland and not far from the ocean. In short, a terrific location. Over the next few days there were many outdoor activities such as kayaking, rock climbing, archery, wandering (hiking) and mountain biking.

The red roofed building is the lodge we stayed at.


Not a bad view :)

We also got to go to a hot springs water park. It was a little cold since its the middle of winter but Icouldn’t help but go on the slides.  Luckily since we were the only crazy people not sitting in the hot pools there was no line. I’m pretty sure the slide would be illegal in the U.S. since my legs went over the side of the pool when I landed but it was awesome! We went to stay at a Marae for a night in order to get a sense of Maori culture. Although it was not as authentic as I was expecting, it was still a cool experience.

Some Maori carvings.

After a stop at the Auckland Museum we were taken to our schools. Since I was the only one in the group who picked to study at Massey Albany, a cab came and took me and one of the staff members Greg to my flat. I’ve go ten all settled and love it here. I can walk to wherever I need to go and can take a bus to various parks. I look forward to starting classes this week and to the many adventures that are sure to unfold over the semester!


One Week

Time June 28th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

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!