School, Clubs, & Trail Talk; Updates from a happy gal

Bella Santana
July 25, 2018

After this past weekend, I can honestly say that I feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I have began to feel my heart fill with love and appreciation for this country even though I have only just begun to explore and experience it. New Zealand is absolutely stunning, with postcard views every way you turn, making it an outdoor lovers playground and a view chasers dream.

Besides being one of the most beautiful and diverse countries in the world (in my humble opinion :) ), the University of Canterbury is a school that has amazing student involvement and course offerings! I study environmental sciences, geography, and some biology, and had no problem finding courses that I was interested in taking, while also helping me finish fulfilling my degree requirements.

While I do indeed wish that I could be in a constant state of travel during my time here, I feel grateful that I get to spend my weekdays learning more about the subjects that I am most interested and passionate in, while also getting to spend my spare time getting to know new friends and involve myself with clubs.

I personally have joined the Yoga Society as well as the Tramping Club (which is like the NZ version of a backpacking club). At UC there is such a surplus of clubs you can join, which is super helpful in terms of getting involved with new and old hobbies, as well as meeting new people! When I say there is a surplus of clubs, I am not lying, there is literally anything you can think of; from sports, to religion, to food.  Having a Facebook is the easiest way to be kept in the loop about when/where clubs meet, so if you’re like me and deleted your Facebook back in high school, I highly suggest reactivating it so you’re not the only person that shows up to the YogaSoc class when it was canceled via Facebook (also like me).

Besides school clubs and classes, my first weekend of free time was spent tramping in the Port Hills, dancing to funky cover bands at the most amazing bar/venue I have been to since turning 21 (it is called Fat Eddie’s and if you are ever in Christchurch and love live music; GO! Just do it; you absolutely will not regret it), and exploring the mountains and town of Akaroa with new friends. I suggest making the long trek up to Stony Bay Peak, it is an absolute killer on the legs and endurance, being completely uphill for 5 miles, but the view is undoubtedly worth it. Overall, my experiences this past weekend refueled and left me in a constant state of gratitude and excitement for the situation that I am currently undertaking.

With this upcoming weekend approaching quickly, I am preparing to go on my first backpacking trip since arriving in NZ with the Tramping Club. We are going to Nelson Lakes. After this weekend I am going to be determining how heavily I want to be involved with the Tramping Club in terms of going on their trips, so stay tuned for more details about my experience if you are interested in studying in Christchurch and also joining the TC.

I want to leave you all with many thanks for taking the time to read this chapter of my journey; whether you are a prospective student of NZ, study abroad in general, or just one of my adoring fans ;) (hi mom!).

Love and Light,



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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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