My Not-So-Cheesy Infatuation With NZ Vibes

Emily Renne
February 15, 2015

So all of us IES bloggers were requested to show off our Valentines Day holiday spirit and report on what we LOVE about studying abroad thus far.

I arrived at this fabulous city only 3 short days ago, am minus one piece of luggage (shout out to Virgin Australia for that), and acquired a really fun stomach bug my second day/night.

Needless to say, I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS PLACE AND I’VE ONLY BEEN HERE 75 HOURS.  I would love to say I’m super tough and optimistic which is why I was able to easily look past those few initial hurdles, but I owe this all to: 

  1. Really friendly people in my program
  2. My wonderful mom of a program director, Eunice
  3. New Zealand’s top quality vibes (of course)

My official valentines of 2015 are most definitely my crazy but extraordinarily sweet IES program “mates”, whom I’ve spent 90% of my time with since landing here.  To those of you fellow introverts who are worried about studying abroad and making friends, don’t.  NZ vibes are an extremely unique but incredible entity to this country. 

We just got back from the Orientation Field trip in Springfield, a short one-hour drive from the UC campus.  This was my first exposure to NZ mountains/scenery/previous fantasy movies sets, and we all decided that there are no words to describe it.  The cool thing about standing on some tall hill in the middle of New Zealand and trying to take in every view in front of you is that you can’t.  It’s too big and too brilliant; overwhelming in the best way possible.

Unfortunately, I can't recount every activity from the first day of the field trip due to the stomach bug, but I did (thankfully) force myself to climb “Castle Hill.”  I suppose it’s named Castle Hill because I felt like a queen on top of the world, ruling my peasant trolls (AKA the sheep in the field below me).

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We stayed the night at a resort called “Smylies.”  Our tour guide, Connor, was quite the eccentric elder man, whose family owned the resort.  It was the cutest thing ever to witness him, his wife, and his two children all help out in feeding our hungry herd and then eating dinner together as a family afterwards.  It’s not something you come across often in the States.

Our second day was spent planting a literal forest, jetboating/almost dying throughout the rivers that snake through the mountains (our driver claims it was his only second day driving the boat), and meeting my new favorite animals, sheep and alpacas! I’ve recently learned just how dumb sheep actually are, and witnessed this first hand as they were clumsily herded into their pens by Blue (dog we met at the sheep farm). I also learned how to correctly run with a herd of cows, not against them.  It's sort of a guilty joy to watch cows flee from you for whatever reason.  Thank you for the life lessons thus far NZ.


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So this year’s Valentine’s Day was happily spent infatuated with the good vibes of New Zealand, and of course, watching the toilet flush the wrong way throughout the course of my stomach bug. 

Keep Happy,


Emily Renne

<p>A native of Syracuse, NY, (US) Emily is currently pursuing her B.A. in Integrated Marketing Communications with Minors in Art and Honors. A curious explorer and outdoors lover, Emily&#39;s spontaneity and passions will one day lead her to all ends of the Earth. &nbsp;Witty author, candid photo snapper, and avid dreamer, Emily plans to pursue a career &nbsp;in the fields of advertising and/or design. &nbsp;</p>

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