Emily Renne
February 2, 2015

Greetings to all fellow/interested travellers!

Hey look, we already share something in common.

I’m assuming that most of you who are reading this post are students who are potentially studying abroad, families of students who are potentially studying abroad (my mom read every Christchurch student’s blogs on here), and my own family and friends.  For those who do not know me, here is a short and sweet introduction:

A sophomore at Ithaca College, I am studying Communications with a minor in Art.  I am a “narp” (non-athletic regular person), and my favorite past times include:

  1. Hiking during the few months of warm weather we have here in Central NY
  2. Eating Swedish Fish
  3. Watching YouTube videos, and
  4. Working on my personal blog (emrennay.blogspot.com which you are also welcome to follow). 

So, predeparture-related things. 

My excitement level on a scale of 0-100 (100 being most excited):


My level of preparedness on a scale of 0-100 (100 being most prepared):


I hate to admit that my habit of procrastination has carried over into my semester abroad, but I have packed absolutely nothing and I leave in 7 days. Rating my preparedness as a -5 is probably an exaggeration, as I’ve been preparing myself in other ways. 

I’ve been researching places to go and things to do in NZ, I’ve been working/saving money to see these places and do these things, and I’ve been saying my goodbyes to beloved places and people.  Since the NZ semester starts late in comparison with the US semester, I just spent 3 weeks at my college staying on friends’ couches, floors, air mattresses (you name it), and I’m finally ready to part with friends and Ithaca. 

Things I will not miss about Ithaca:


My plan is to start packing today (finally) and strictly follow the “Keep it Simple” motto.  From what I’ve gathered reading other student blogs, bring lots of layers and a good wind jacket for hiking, durable hiking boots, a few things that remind you of home, and to use space bags (I bought some for cheap on Amazon).  This is not a packing tip, but you should listen to all the advice saying APPLY FOR YOUR VISA EARLY.  I have several friends also studying abroad this semester, and they have not yet received their visa/are freaking out about it.  Having my visa in my possession has relieved much of the anxiety of travelling halfway around the world. 

Other feelings that I have realized are normal during your final weeks home:

  1. Excitment
  2. Terror
  3. The feeling that it's not real

I don’t know how else to describe “the feeling that it’s not real”, other than it just doesn’t feel real yet.  Let’s just pause a moment and consider why studying abroad is so great.  

You can go just about anywhere you want to in the ENTIRE WORLD.  You spend 3-6 months immersed in a whole new culture.  You meet all sorts of people from all sorts of places.  You take the bare minimum of classes (well at least I am).  You basically have a free pass to live a dream life and for a decent duration of time. And this is classified as studying.

Other than the few packing and visa tips I offered, I’m not sure how else to give advice in preparing for this.  Mainly because I’ve decided there is no right way to prepare oneself for the adventure of a lifetime.  You just have to roll with it. 

7 days and counting… HUMBLE ABODE CHRISTCHURCH! 

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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