One aspect of the Christchurch IES Abroad program that is not typical for most programs is that in mid-semester they offer a trip to the Cook Islands. This has been one of my favorite parts of my time abroad so far and strongly recommend to anyone deciding to study abroad in Christchurch—you won’t regret it! A little background: the Cook Islands is a nation in the South Pacific with about fifteen islands. We traveled to Rarotonga, which is the largest and most populated of all the islands and about a four-hour flight from New Zealand. This trip was only a week long, however, we were able to fully immerse ourselves in the islanders' culture and met with a lot of amazing people during this time. We learned their cultural dances, went snorkeling, visited locals' homes, and did a cross-island walk that allowed us to view the entire island from both sides. I ate way too much delicious food, saw a lot of unique animal life, and learned plenty about the island's history and customs. I feel extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to visit and educate myself on the amazing island inhabited by some of the warmest and friendliest people I have ever met. Another perk of the trip was that we did not have cell service for the entire week. This was a little intimidating for many of us at first, knowing we would lose contact with our friends and family for the week, but ultimately it was a great break from our phones and everyone appreciated this by the end. Unfortunately, because of this I have very few photos from the trip but posted the limited few I have. My pictures certainly do not do the island justice, but they capture a little bit of the beautiful Rarotonga. Along with pictures from the Cook Islands, I have included more photos from my travels around New Zealand during the break. I will continue to post from my travels during the holiday within the next coming weeks!
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<p class="MsoBodyText" style="margin-top:.45pt"><span style="line-height:103%">Beyond my academic interests, I am a firm believer in exploring the world and what nature has to offer. Hiking, traveling, exercising are some of my main interests. I believe that life is about embracing every opportunity that comes your way. In the end, a lifetime is a string of experiences and this experience would be one to be remembered.</span></p>