You are here

The road most traveled

December 7, 2017

I did not expect all the things that I would do and experience while studying abroad in New Zealand. I actually wasn’t very ambitious in the beginning. I arrived in Auckland with the simple goals of taking classes, meeting new people, and learning about Kiwi culture. I thought that I would spend all my time in Auckland, studying and hanging out with new friends. But once I got to Auckland, I realized there were so many more opportunities that I hadn’t expected.

There are so many beautiful places to explore in New Zealand. Spending all my time in Auckland would have been a crime. In the span of four months, I traveled from the most northern point of the North Island to the most southern point of the South Island. I saw beautiful caves sparkling with glowworms and a beach where hot water bubbles out of the sand. These are things I was not expecting- I didn’t even now they existed before I came to NZ.

For the first couple of months in NZ, I felt pressured to travel. I saw on Instagram and Facebook all the amazing places other IES Abroad students were going, and I felt like I was behind. When we had a pizza meeting towards the beginning of the term, our program director asked who had been to Rotorua, and more than half of us raised their hands… but not me. I eventually did take a road trip to Rotorua (and made a blog post about it). It was amazing and I’m glad I went, but a big part of my motivation for doing it was because everyone else did it. For the first few months, I worried that I wasn’t making the most of my time in NZ, and it was incredibly important to me that I use my limited time wisely and experience as much as possible.

I might never come back to New Zealand. Knowing that, my time here has felt very precious and valuable. It causes me a bit of anxiety, and a feeling of having to be busy all the time. I’ve had to learn how to slow down and just enjoy being here- even if I’m just sitting in my flat. I also realized that traveling all the time just isn’t right for me. Traveling is stressful, and I personally need time to stay home and relax without worrying about going somewhere new every weekend. If other people like to be constantly traveling, that’s great for them, but that lifestyle isn’t right for everyone.

There’s so much to see and do in NZ, it’s impossible to do it all in one semester. That means I’ve had to make some sacrifices. I never managed to see a kiwi, even though I really wanted to. I didn’t see any glaciers, or have time to hike around Cape Reigna. But I have to learn to let that go, and be grateful for the experiences I did have.

I didn’t see a kiwi, but I did see a tuatara and a kea. I visited two oceans, climbed volcanoes, ate amazing food, and met lovely people. What’s there to be disappointed about?

From Our Blogs

Jul 19 6:36am

Where I've Been

by Rachael

Travel

Hi everyone!

Learn more
Jul 18 6:27pm

Making memories all over New Zealand

by Veronica

Hello ladies, gentlemen, and non-binary folk!

So last time I was speaking to you, I was just arriving in Auckland. As I am writing to you now, I am just a few days away from ending my program. I still can not believe that.

Learn more
Jul 18 12:16pm

Rome, Week 8

by Briana Maddox

It’s hard to believe that one more week has passed by and there’s only one week left of the program. It feels like we just landed yesterday, and everything went by in the blink of an eye. Sounds cliche as all hell, but it’s true.

Learn more
Jul 18 2:59am

Why Study Abroad In the Summer

by Shea

If you are like me, you may have a lot of questions about studying abroad in the summer. Is it too short? Is it enough time to travel? Do you get full credits for the courses you take? Are there less places and courses to choose from? Do you get the full experience of being abroad?

Learn more
Jul 18 12:50am

Ebb and Flow

by Erin

I feel like pinching myself when I say it, but I miss home a lot. It’s so hard to admit it to myself. How could I possibly want this wonderful trip to end? It seems ungrateful, and whiny.

Learn more
Jul 18 12:08am

Shanghai Summer Internship Classes

by Lexi

In addition to our internships, we all have Chinese class once a week, as well as our internship seminar course. Our internship seminar course is a two-and-a-half hour class, which meets Thursday nights after we arrive home from our respective internships.

Learn more