Massey University, New Zealand
I decided that I wanted to study abroad in order to stretch myself further and to gain a larger view of the world. I knew that I needed to get out of my comfort zone and experience something that was challenging, yet exciting at the same time. My inspiration for studying abroad came from my sister who had studied abroad, but I realized for myself that I needed a change. I was hoping to learn about New Zealand and their culture, but I also made friends from all over the world, which gave me the opportunity to learn about other cultures.
The citizens of New Zealand were so welcoming and friendly and the professors were no exception. They were extremely helpful and truly made my academic experience an enjoyable one. The classes were set up on a different structure than classes here at UNCG, however, the change was refreshing and I still was able to learn so much. I maintained a balanced workload between schoolwork and extracurricular activities because I knew that immersing myself in the culture was just as important as the in class work.
I really enjoyed my living arrangements while I was in New Zealand. My roommates and I were like family by the end of my stay. I lived in the city and the apartment was really close to campus and about a five minute walk from the downtown hub. My roommates and I became very close throughout the semester as we shared different experiences together and I could not imagine what my life would have been like without having them in it. When you meet new people that are in the same situation it makes it very easy to be able to make friends quickly.
At the end of my stay, I traveled for a month around the country. I traveled with a girl from Scotland, and we spent three weeks on the north island and three weeks on the south island. We stayed in hostels, which was the cheapest way to do it. We saw killer whales in the wild, hiked on a glacier, hiked the Tongariro, enjoyed hot springs, went sailing with dolphins, and the list goes on. There are a plethora of things to do in New Zealand. For the adventuresome outdoorsmen, New Zealand is the place to be!
The City and Locals
All of the people in the city were very laid back and they were always friendly to me. They helped me out many times when I was trying to find my way or when I was just looking for a good restaurant. I interacted with the locals so I could learn more about their traditions and I also told them about the American culture. They wanted to know all about the United States. I had one little girl ask me if I ate doughnuts every day because that was her impression of Americans, probably from watching movies. I was proud to be able to share my culture with others, but I also enjoyed learning about New Zealand.