For my two interest courses, rock climbing and kayaking, we went on end of semester field trips that were absolutely amazing.
For rock climbing, we went back to castle hill, but instead of just bouldering like last time, we did some top roping too. It was incredible being able to top rope outdoors because you typically have to be with someone very experienced to do it. Our instructor set up two different climbs that met at the top. One was somewhat easier and the other was harder, but they were both really fun. I started on the harder climb, and was really challenged to get to the top. It didn’t look like the hardest climb, but once you got past the beginning, there were almost no hand holds or foot holds, save a nook or two that only fit the tip of one finger. It took a lot of trust in the skills we’ve built over the semester to finish the climb.
For kayaking, we went white water kayaking on the Rangitata River. It was one of my best, but most exhausting days here. Kayaking makes me a bit more nervous than rock climbing because of the aspect of being under water when you do something wrong and inevitably flip upside down. We’ve taken tons of safety measures, so we all know what to do to get out of those situations, but it’s still nerve wracking. The rapids we went down were between grades 1-3. We only hit one or two grade 3 rapids, but they were awesome. I’ve never been paddling through waves that big before, but we all successfully made it down the river. By the time we were done, I was so exhausted I got out of my boat and just tossed myself in the river to float around and relax. I didn’t care how cold it was, it felt amazing.
Being in New Zealand has given me the opportunity to participate in amazing classes like these two and I’m so happy for it. My school at home offers nothing like these classes, and I’m so happy that I was able to change up my experience in my adventures here abroad. It’s made me wish we had outdoor education classes at home and want to be an outdoor educator myself, although it’s just a pipe dream.
If you are coming to University of Canterbury, I would definitely recommend both of these classes, even if you can only take one of them. Don’t be worried about experience and skill level; i had no experience with rock climbing before coming here and very little with kayaking. The instructor is the same for both of them (kayaking has an additional instructor too) and he is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. (They’re kind of hard to find online, the course codes start with TEPE if you’re looking for them).
Succession on photos of my doing one of the top roped climbs:
Castle Hill has some crazy views too:
Kayaking the Rangitata:
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Katie Steike and I'm a junior at the University of Rochester, studying molecular genetics and music. I love reading, playing soccer, and going on hikes and adventures! I'm going to be studying in Christchurch New Zealand for spring 2014 and I'm excited to become immersed in the Kiwi culture and explore the beautiful country!</span></p>