My journey in Christchurch has finally commenced. Thanks to my IES Abroad group and trustee leader, Eunice, it wasn't at all hard to adjust. The first week we had several meetings, activities to get to know each other and the campus, a trip to the city, as well as the beautiful Christchurch Botanic Gardens (pictured below).
We "kayaked" on the Avon River (in quotes because my new pal Gabby and I did not know how to control our kayak). For some reason it was so attracted to the walls of the river! If you need a kayaking lesson, don't ask us because apparently we were doing it wrong (we learned that the back person has all of the control). Whoops!
Another fun fact I learned here, there is no tax AND no tipping! Sweet as (also started picking up the Kiwi slang, this means awesome/cool, you may catch some unfamiliar words as I go on).
Do you recognize these boulders? Well, if you're a big movie fan like me, you'll know they're "for Narnia!!!!"
Castle Hill ROCKS, haha get it?!
Next stop after Castle Hill was the Cave Stream Scenic Reserve pictured below; you'd have to agree, it was pretty scenic.
Continuing on our Springfield trip, we came across these fluffy guys. Let me tell you, they are not my friends. As soon as I tried to get a good look at them, one of the alpacas decided it would be entertaining to spit in my face. Some people told me that may have been good luck; if it was, luck smells bad.
Springfield was heaps of fun. My IES Abroad group became so close that during Orientation week at the University of Canterbury, we learned how to use the bus system and took a ride to Christchurch's Sumner Beach (pictured below).
We had another field trip before lectures began to the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. Not a lot of Kiwis could say they've seen actual Kiwi birds, but we did!! We also witnessed a Pōwhiri, which is a Māori (the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand) peace offering, and our bold male members of our IES Abroad group learned and performed the famous Haka!
When the Māori people completed the full Haka together, my eyes may have been just as wide as theirs. I reckon the All Blacks (the NZ national rugby team) do the Haka before every game to intimidate their opponents, because it sure intimidated me.
I really enjoyed learning about the Māori culture. I find that an important aspect of studying abroad is discovering the history and the customs of the place you are studying and the people you are surrounded by.
Now you may be wondering why I titled this, Say Yes to Adventure... At the first meeting, Eunice asked us, "What is one thing you want to accomplish this semester?" My answer was that I want to say yes to everything, thus my motto became: Say Yes to Adventure.
So far I've climbed a boulder, ridden a jetboat, sheered a sheep, drank the most pure NZ water from a creek, slept in a hostel room called "Narnia" (but it looked more like the cupboard under the stairs), learned how to skip rocks, ate a traditional Māori Hangi meal (learned how to pronounce "hangi"), fed sheep and deer, and have made 35 new best friends; you can spot them in the photo taken below by our MVP, Eunice.
Say yes to adventure, you won't regret it.
More Blogs From This Author
<p>Hey there! My name is Jami Weinstein, I am from the north suburbs of Chicago and I am a junior majoring in speech language pathology at Indiana University! I am thrilled to be sharing my study abroad experience from across the world, behind my camera, in Christchurch, New Zealand. When I snap a photograph, I feel as if I have jumped into a whole new perspective of life, and to me, words can’t explain a single moment, but a photo captures a story. Follow along on my journey as I make the moments count. Adventure awaits!</p>