Hello! My name is Mark and I’m headed to Dunedin, New Zealand for a semester. I’ve directly enrolled in the University of Otago and will be living in a flat close to campus with other students. According to the emails that I have received, one is from the university and the others are international students like me. I do not know their names, but I am excited to meet them. Orientation is on July 1 but classes don’t begin for another week. I hope to use this time to travel away from the city before I have things like homework and 9 AMs. There are many places I’d like to visit on both islands and now seems like a good opportunity.
Nearly everything I have read or heard about New Zealand has been praised the natural beauty of the islands and not much else. Of course I am excited to ski at the Snow Farm and visit the Fiordlands, but that is not entirely the purpose of my study abroad. I’m also here to learn about a new culture and build independence by leaving home and Mayflower Hill. I’m hoping to quickly make local friends when I arrive, possibly through my host. I’m honestly not sure how different the culture at the university will be in comparison to Colby. From what I’ve heard, people in New Zealand are quite laidback. This is pretty general and does not tell me a lot. I’m trying to go in without many presumptions about the people so that I can experience the culture for myself. However, I have read a bit online and general “laidback-ness” and appreciation of leisure time seem to recurring themes in descriptions of Kiwis. I’m hoping to take some of this back home with me. I consider myself to be a hard worker and I spend a lot of my time at Colby studying or training with the ski team. I don’t think my busy lifestyle is necessarily a bad thing, but slowing down a little could be good for me.
Overall, the two biggest things I want out of my trip are to experience New Zealand culture and to make it out into nature while doing so. I think the strategies best suited for these goals are planning ahead and saying yes. I’m only here for a few months and want to make the most out of it. I currently have a short list of destinations I’d like to make it to but I’m sure that as soon as I start to meet people it will change. From what I’ve heard from people who have gone to New Zealand in the past, this is the best way to do things.
Anyway, I’m excited to see how this turns out.