To begin, I have never had a month of my life go by so fast before my trip to
New Zealand. I think the best way to sum up my feelings on my study abroad
trip is that the learning experience I attained was of several different aspects: I
learned so much about the course material in the field, was immersed in a new
culture, and made new friendships through all the hustle and bustle of traveling
across New Zealand.
In particular I was very impressed with the program's focus on having us
experience the native culture of the Maori which was only helped by the
instructors' passion for the country and its peoples. Staying in a marae was eye
opening and seeing the different influences of the culture throughout the
country made the importance of preserving the ancient culture obvious for the
kiwis. From wooden carvings to the jade jewelry sold in almost every store, I
could see how much pride is held in the Maori.
The two classes I took while abroad were perfect for the landscape. I think I
had the best possible experience with the variety of beaches we analyzed and
actually being able to walk on the different types of mountains and volcanoes
made the material come to life. There is definitely no other place in the world
that could have been better suited for the course material.
A couple of trips and location is best enjoyed include the whale watch and
cathedral cove. Being able to see sperm whales, dusky dolphins, hector
dolphins, seals, and albatross all in one excursion was amazing! Cathedral cove
was one of my favorite beaches because it encompassed both courses well. We
had to hike a good 45 minutes to reach the picturesque beach, but when we
arrived it was definitely worth it! We were able to see different geological
formations (sea cave, arch, and stack) and some interesting fauna (sting rays
and urchins!!). Plus, there was a rocky intertidal zone on one side of the beach
where I noted limpets and some gastropods. As well, the scene was
breathtaking and the experience was one in a million! I loved that beach!!
However, at the end of each day, after all the adventures and learning, I made
new friends that will share special memories which are completely irreplaceable.
I am so so so grateful for this experience and will never let these days leave my
Thank you for everything guys!!!!