Spontaneity and Kiwi Friends

Maddie Norman
September 5, 2018
A short 13.1 mile jog with our Kiwi friends!

The most random thing happened this past weekend. Here’s how it all started…

I live an an apartment with 4 other girls, and one of them (Mason) was having her friend from New Zealand visit this weekend. Last minute, my friend who was also studying in New Zealand asked to visit the same weekend while she was traveling in Australia for her spring break. She said her and a couple of her friends were renting a campervan and traveling all around Australia for the week. They were going to spend the first couple of days exploring Sydney on their own (staying in hostels or visiting friends in Sydney) and then regrouping after the weekend for their road trip. Mason and I thought it was just a coincidence that both of our friends were visiting from New Zealand at the same time, until they both arrived...together! They just so happened to be a part of the same group of girls renting the campervan and traveling across Australia for their spring break. It was a funny surprise for our New Zealand friends too because neither of them made the connection that Mason and I were living together in Sydney since it’s such a massive city. I guess they just figured the same thing we did; out of all the students studying abroad, what are the odds?

ANYWAYS, this pleasant surprise made for an absolutely jam packed weekend of crazy awesome fun. Literally there is no better way to describe this weekend. Our small apartment became the home to not only our two friends, but also five other Kiwis staying in Sydney for the weekend. The Kiwis were perfectly fine sleeping on our small couches and makeshift floor beds if it beat paying for a hostel or Airbnb....abroad teaches you to be financially frugal in times like this. In total, there was a group of 10 of us taking on the city, causing a hilarious scene just about everywhere along the way. Mason and I became ‘professional Sydney tour guides’ in the eyes of our Kiwi friends, and we were loving it. We took them to the Grounds of Alexandria for brunch and warm jelly filled donuts, the Royal Botanical Gardens for a beautiful walk through the unique Australian fauna, and to the Opera House for our favorite happy hour drinks. On the last day they were here, a bunch of us spontaneously decided to sign up to run a half marathon at the Sydney Olympic Park Stadium because at this point nothing could make our weekend any crazier. The picture featured for this blog is right after we crossed the finish line!

The best part about of our Kiwi friends visiting was how close the 10 of us became. We practically all just met each other, but by the end of the weekend we were nearly best friends. I think that’s the hidden beauty about studying abroad. Everybody talks about the wonderful places you go and the breathtaking views you see, but nobody really talks about the amazing people you meet. In my time abroad I realized that one of my favorite parts is the people I’ve met. Everyone abroad is just happy to be here and so outgoing and always looking to meet new friends. It kind of reminds me of my first semester of college, in the sense that nobody really knows anyone, so we are all trying to put ourselves out there and make friends. Except, it is wayyyyy less awkward the second time around. By now we have all perfected our elevator speech of who we are, where we’re from, what we’re studying, and we actually have fun facts to share!!! Rather than the classic “in 3rd grade I broke my wrist on the playground” if you know what I mean.

There is also less pressure to make the 'perfect friend group' when you're studying abroad than there is in college. Of course that would be amazing to find people exactly like you who share a similar sense humor and zodiac sign (ha ha), but it’s kinda unrealistic to happen. Since we are only abroad for such a short period of time, everyone is just looking to meet nice people that share similar activity/travel interests. For instance, I’ve met some friends in one of my classes who also enjoy hiking and outdoor activities, and we all really bonded over these similar interests. Then when I looked into hiking trips around Australia I asked my new friends in the next class if they are interested in joining me, which they totally were! Now we have a trip planned to Tasmania to hike and work on an organic homestay farm, and I couldn’t be more excited!! It's cheesy, but there is definitely truth in the Dr. Seuss quote...

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Maddie Norman

<p>I went skydiving on my 18th birthday, and that pretty much sums up who I am! I love doing anything active and outdoors. I am currently working a 9-5 job at an office desk, and I'm anxiously counting down the days until I go abroad to Australia this fall. I have an entire binder in my room dedicated to plans for all the outdoor excursions and trips I want to take when I'm there!</p>

Home University:
Tufts University
Glastonbury, CT
Biological Sciences
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