Emma H. Exchange Ambassador
What is one word to describe your study abroad experience:
"You never know when your next opportunity will be to return, so if there is anything that you want to do, do it."
Exchange student at Massey University
- What is the best thing that happened while you were studying abroad?
The best thing that happened was being mobbed by dozens of ducklings on my birthday. I was on a two-week South Island trip with eight other international students and the little ducklings kept running after us at a small zoo. We had to be careful not to step on them, the cuteness was overwhelming!
- What was the biggest cultural adaptation you had to make?
Kiwi culture is much like ours, with minor differences. They tend to be more laid back and speak slower. They also don't have Tim Hortons or Dairy Queen.
- Where was the coolest place you travelled to during your exchange?
I went on a black water rafting experience in the Waitomo glowworm caves. I went with a group of friends, and all of us agreed that it was one of the coolest things that we had done. It was one of my most thrilling experiences and also the most beautiful. If you go to New Zealand you HAVE to see the glowworms at some point.
- What is something that you know now, that you wish you knew before you studied abroad?
Air New Zealand charges for a second bag, and it's not cheap. Be prepared for this additional expense, I was shocked to find this out at the airport and that's not how you want to start your trip.
- What was your best learning moment?
I went on a week trip of the North Island by myself. Before I left I had severe social anxiety, so being able to prove to myself that I could do something like that has really helped me overcome many of my fears and greatly increased my confidence. Not to mention I got to see a lot of interesting places and explore at my own pace.
- Who was the hardest person to leave from home? How did you deal with that?
The hardest person to leave was my mom. She tends to be very emotional and seeing her upset always upsets me. Throughout my exchange, I would skype and email her and the rest of my family. it also helps to keep in mind that you are going to be coming back.
- Who was the hardest person to leave that you met while on exchange? How did you deal with that?
The hardest person to leave was the guy that I dated while abroad. The internet has really helped me deal with this, as I can still talk with him. Though there's not much more to say other than it just really sucks.
- If you were to recommend exchange to your best friend, what would you say?
You are not going to regret it, so long as you keep an open mind and say yes to things that you may have never done before or are afraid of doing. You never know when your next opportunity will be to return, so if there is anything that you want to do, do it. Make it an experience that you can brag about at the retirement home when you're old and grey.
- Would it be helpful to learn another language for this exchange?
English is the national language and so you have no need to learn another language before going abroad. Though you will for sure pick up a few Maori words and phrases.
- Did you live on- or off-campus? Would you recommend it, and why?
I lived on-campus in Tawa hall (I was at the Palmerston North campus). Although more expensive than some of the other arrangements the room, desk and wardrobe were massive. I would highly recommend it for anyone who prefers to have a little room to move around.
- How did you finance your study abroad experience?
I financed my study abroad through personal savings and working. I had planned to apply for various travel grants but with work and preparations, time just kinda got away from me!
- What interesting courses did you get to take while studying abroad? What was the title of the course(s)?
I took a course that is called Solving Problems in Animal Agriculture. The entire class was set up as group work, which is something I've never had before and was an interesting way to learn. In the class, we also had the opportunity to do a lamb necropsy and a mock bull auction. Another course that I really enjoyed is called Controlling Plant Pests and Disease. This course had you apply your knowledge in practical scenarios, and I learned things that I can actually see myself use in my future career.
- Is there any other helpful information you would like to provide to future study abroad participants?
Join a club. I joined the alpine club and got some amazing experiences that I would not have been able to do by myself and at a much lower cost.