One of the classes I’m taking while I’m here is rock climbing. If you come here and have the space in your schedule, I would definitely recommend taking it. The instructor is from New Zealand and genuinely the nicest guy I’ve ever met. The class meets once a week for 3 hours, but those hours fly by because it’s tons of fun. Typically we climb in the rec center on campus, but last week we went on a field trip to go bouldering at Castle Hill. It was a blast. We ran around barefoot and explored the place while the instructor, Chris, showed us all sorts of cool places and rocks to climb. He taught us about the geology behind the place and also about its sacred history for the native Maori people. It’s a really strange place, but a really breathtaking place. After exploring for a bit, we got down to some bouldering, which was really challenging and fun.
Rock climbing is one of my favorite classes here. My other favorite is paddlesports, where we learn how to kayak. If you’re planning on coming to University of Canterbury and want to take either of these classes, here’s some tips:
1. Buy a pair of rock climbing shoes in the States. They’re not required for the class, but they make a HUGE difference in your climbing ability. I bought a pair here, but you can get them cheaper at home. Chalk/chalk bag is also helpful, though not necessary and you could always get it here if you want it. Even if you’re not taking the class, you can join the climbing club for $10 and they make all sorts of fun climbing trips around the south island.
2. If you take the kayaking class, a wetsuit is really helpful. I’m borrowing one from the instructor, but without it the water is bitter cold and it’s not a good time. If you have one at home, bring it. A shorts one is fine, as long as you have something that will help. Besides that, this class is really great too. We go kayaking every thursday for 3 hours. We started at a local pool for 2 lessons and then started going on rivers and the ocean as well.
If you have a wetsuit, even if you’re not taking the class, bring it. The water in Christchurch is not ideal for swimming as it’s pretty cold. I have braved it in the cold water a few times, but you can’t stay in for too long if you don’t have one. It’s probably not worth buying one just for swimming, but if you have one, it’ll be really nice to have it.
I’m really glad that I overloaded each semester at my home university so that while I’m here I can afford to take some fun classes like these. It’s really nice to have some laid back classes while I’m here so I can enjoy my time and travel more without worrying about studying and exams. I’m taking evolution and music history as well, but they aren’t too much work, so I am able to travel pretty much every weekend while I’m here. I’m loving it here and never want to leave!
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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>