The trip to New Zealand was easily one of my favorite experiences of all time. I spent the entire 2 hour car ride homeward bound trying to tell my parents about all of the awesome things that we got to do while we were in New Zealand. One of the things that made the trip so cool was the fact that we travelled together with a nicely sized group of new faces which quickly turned into good friends as we were able to experience together all the amazing things that can be found only in New Zealand.
I would like to say that I met my objectives from before the trip started. I experienced the unique culture of New Zealand through both the Marae stay and by just being out and about in the cities and towns that we visited. I think that my views have also changed a little bit too. I’ve gotten so used to living in the U.S. and seeing the same people all the time around UD and my hometown. It was really amazing to get to see how much more is really out there in the world all though we were only in one country. I have been to Europe a few times before, but what makes this trip so much different was the amount of time that we spent in New Zealand. It really allowed me to experience and see so much more of the culture and environments that can be found which definitely gave me better insight.
Arriving in PHL on Jan 2, I really did not know what we were about to go through. The thing I knew for certain was that we would be spending some time looking at the geology and biology found on the shores of New Zealand. And of course the trip included that along with so much more. In the first day alone, we had travelled in a boat from Auckland to Rangitoto (after driving up to the top of Mt. Eden) where we were able to look into a huge crater of a shield volcano which was pretty crazy. Then we broke off to explore a little bit of Auckland which was a brand new city for everybody. And we spent our first night in a hostel which I’m sure was new for a lot of us. Basically the whole first day was spent exploring, which would turn out to be the mold for the rest of the trip. We spent a night with some Maori people, which turned out to be one of my favorite activities. We made our way to the Bay of Islands where we got to take a boat all the way through the “Hole in the Rock.” We had a pretty cool experience at Hot Water Beach and then spent a lot of time exploring Cathedral Cove all in one day. We even sailed out to White Island where we stepped into an active volcano expected to erupt every ten years (it was year 10, of course).
I’m going to stop there because you know the rest, but just about everywhere else that we went offered a new place to explore, a new place to learn, and a new place to strengthen friendships. And it’s for these reasons that I was able to get the most out of our trip to New Zealand. It was really tough to say good bye to New Zealand for the time being, but I look forward to staying in touch with everybody in Newark and I know that I would absolutely take an opportunity to go back.