Kayla Petersen
August 3, 2015
Los Angeles Airport sign before take-off to New Zealand

I remember the exact moment I decided to study abroad. I was sitting in my dorm room at school and looking through some photos of people traveling. As I sat there dreaming of the snow peaked mountain tops, the crystal clear rivers, the roaring sounds of waves crashing on a quiet desolate beach, my heart knew it was time to start planning. I knew that nothing was going to stand in the way of my chance to go explore an entirely new country. Before I knew it, I was running around campus like a madwoman getting teachers to sign off on credits, or financial aid to provide me with funding details. The list seemed to feel as though it went on forever, and at one point I doubted I’d ever make it at all to my beautiful New Zealand. However, my friends encouraged me and with the help of my mom and advisors guiding me along the way, things started falling into place.

I also remember the moment I got my official acceptance into the Christchurch program. I was leaving class and noticed a voicemail on my phone. As I walked out into the beautiful spring day, I heard the words, “Congratulations! You’re accepted!” Oh, how crazy I must have looked jumping around waving my arms in the air with excitement to the news. From that moment on, time seemed to move faster than the speed of light. Through all the excitement, I made the mistake of procrastination. The packing situation left me stressed and confused. I was feeling a bit overloaded with the heaps of information I had received, and was scared of packing anything in fear of over packing.

Out of all the stressors of leaving, the one thing that was the most difficult for me was saying goodbye to friends and family. I knew that going into this, I was going to be growing and changing in so many ways and they weren’t going to be apart of it, which scared me. However, I knew they loved and supported me, and would be there for me if I ever needed them while I was away. Even though I felt scared about the unknown, I was giddy and excited at the idea of being truly independent, and letting this be the first of many adventures yet to come. 

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Kayla Petersen

<p>I&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">am a sophomore at Miami University in Ohio. I major in nutrition and have a concentration in Dietetics. &quot;Home&quot; is&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">wherever I feel happy, and for that I find my home in many places. After undergrad I plan on taking part in a Dietetic&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">Intership that will last about a year and then take the RD exam to become a Registered Dietitian. I am apart of the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">Miami tribe, and hope to give back and work with the tribe after I become a Registered Dietitian. I am hoping that my&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">experience in New Zealand will help lead me to better understand how culture plays a role in people&#39;s health and diet.</span><span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">The Maori tribe plays a crucial role in being able to research and compare the different revitalization efforts from the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">Miami tribe.</span></p>

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