A Misconception about Studying Abroad

Bella Santana
August 21, 2018

Today’s blog post might not be too exciting or informative in terms of the latest and greatest adventures and information about New Zealand and if that is why you are here, I understand if you wish to stop and go find another post...but, I urge you to continue with my post, for maybe it will give you some guidance, or at least entertain you with my thoughts. This topic is something that came into my mind yesterday, and I feel it is important and worth writing about for those who are going to be studying or are studying overseas. While my time here has been filled with many adventures and exciting moments, today, I want to touch on the simple and normal moments that I have been facing

Before arriving here, when I thought about my time in New Zealand or even studying abroad in general, I looked forward to the experience thinking that I would always be living a go, go, go lifestyle; always on the move, seeking one adventure after another, and experiencing something 24/7. I thought about how living in another country for nearly six months would give me a constant feeling of adventure. And while I have experienced so much in the almost seven weeks that I have been here, I have came to the realization and understanding that studying abroad is not some magical experience where responsibilities and life halts and my days are all of a sudden filled with adventure after adventure.

Studying abroad is magical, yes, so extremely and deeply magical, and it is also filled with adventure, but it is not always a go, do, and see experience type of magical. The first big slap in the face in terms of limiting a go, go, go lifestyle while abroad is the most obvious one, study! Monday through Thursday I am in Christchurch, going to class, working on readings and assignments, feeling like I could be back in Bloomington with all the work I am doing. The weekdays do manage to hold some adventure in my eyes, but the moments of bliss that I find Monday-Thursday are not in the form of seeing new sites, but more so in doing the small things that make me happy regardless of my geographic location: yoga, hula hooping, reading, having time to call loved ones, journaling, and reflecting.

All of the activities that take up my weekdays are quite normal for me to do back home as well, and these are the moments when I realize how sometimes studying abroad is not always a special and new experience every moment of every single day. In terms of adventure and things to do, sometimes it is going to be boring and tedious. I still have the moments where one hour lectures seem to go by in slow motion (this happens far too frequently because let's be honest, it's hard to focus when you're in New Zealand), instant coffee and oatmeal are now my best friends (there is no coffee pot in my flat, and recently I discovered how convenient it is not to make oatmeal on the stove), Netflix is still here and thriving, and doing laundry, yeah that hasn’t gone anywhere either.

As I sit here swallowing in pain from tonsillitis (another thing that doesn’t care if your traveling halfway across the world? Sore throats.), having finished a 4,000 word biology paper on a NZ invasive plant species gorse (which I finished three weeks ahead of the due date, because even in NZ, another normality occurs, I cannot procrastinate), I feel utterly and completely normal in this very moment.

So what is the point of me potentially boring you with my normal life recap? Well, I think that it's important to come to the conclusion that normal moments are going to happen, probably far more than one might expect or want being in a new and exciting country; pent up emotions are going to surface, your mind is going to wander, and hey, you might even feel like you could be back in Indiana when you look out of your bedroom window (minus the pigeons; Bloomington, Indiana does not have those). The point of realizing about the simple moments I face is not to get annoyed or bored by them, but to allow them, because what the heck else am I going to do? Even though these normalities take up a large chunk of my time here, it is still pretty dang cool to ponder the fact that I am able to do normal things in a new country, nearly 9,000 miles from my home. On some days, the simple and normal moments even give me a little taste of home in a strange and completely different situation sort of way; but none the less, a little bit of comfort and wholesome nostalgia for home is welcomed on these days. And hey, if you still want to be a little bored or annoyed by the every day normalitites, at least use them to fuel a much larger desire to go out and explore every chance you get! I know that's what I like to do at least. Here is to the normal days: I thank you comfortable friend! Because without you, I would not understand how truly amazing and exciting the new and adventurous days really are.


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Bella Santana

<p>Hello all! My name is Bella. I am 21 years old, and am a lover of the outdoors, yoga, hula hooping, and music. I believe that life is about enjoyment, happiness, and exploration, and I hope to share my everyday findings of happiness and life with you all!</p>

Home University:
Indiana University
Chesterton, IN
Environmental Studies
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