Texas to Auckland: Before I Go!

Isabelle Galko
June 21, 2019

The moment I set foot on campus and saw the study abroad table at the campus activities fair, I knew I wanted to spend a semester of my college time abroad. I marched straight to my study abroad office to learn about where I could go and what I could study. After talking to my friends and family for months about it, I decided where to go. While they thought I’d be just across the Atlantic Ocean in Europe or down in South America, in fact, I’d chosen Auckland—almost all the way across the globe. Everything about Auckland—the nature, the culture, the food, the people!—called my name, and with the support of my advisors and parents, my dream of studying abroad was finally coming true.

For the longest time, my adventure has been weeks and months away. When I took my last final, I was nine weeks away from my flight. At the beginning of June, I had still over a month to wait. And a few days ago when I celebrated the fourth of July, a week was still left until I said goodbye to the US. for five months. But now, the days are in the single digits. Maybe I’m impatient, but I think it’s the exhilaration of traveling abroad and my readiness to experience new things that have heightened my pre-travel excitement.

I’m looking forward to my first few weeks in Auckland the most. It’s when I’ll get to discover the city, figure out my studies, and meet everyone for the first time. I can’t wait to sit in a lecture in the various anthropology and environmental science classes I’ve enrolled in at the university. All of the classes I'm taking have local components to them, so I’m eager to learn how global topics I already know about are applied to the Pacific environment and communities. I'm also looking forward to seeing how studying in New Zealand is different from being a college student in the United States; I know it will more likely take some adjusting, but I'm looking forward to it!

I’m keen to explore everything that Auckland and the rest of New Zealand have to offer. At home, I follow basketball and hockey games, but I’m hoping to learn about netball and rugby—maybe even go to an All Blacks game if I can! I love the environment, so I hope I can visit beaches near Auckland and see New Zealand wildlife when I’m not studying. As an avid hiker and camper, I’m excited to see the natural beauties and unique environments of the area. 

Coming back to the present, the first challenge ahead of me is probably the most nerve-wracking part of my trip: the 17-hour plane ride to Sydney and the following trip to Auckland, a short three hours! I do have a lot of experience traveling internationally, but this is the first time I’ll be taking such a long flight and without my family. Even though this can be worrisome at times, I am excited to go on this adventure! I hope this trip will strengthen my independence and help me grow as a person. 

Happy travels,


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