12 Days and Counting; Reflections on How Studying in New Zealand Was Different than Expected

12 Days and Counting; Reflections on How Studying in New Zealand Was Different than Expected

by Paige Diller, CCI Greenheart Travel High School Abroad Participant in New Zealand

Coming into my last 12 days in New Zealand, I’m finding myself quite confused. Though 12 is a very small number, I still feel as if I’m ages away from coming home. I have less than two weeks left here, and I find that the individual days go by slow, while the countdown is reaching top speed. Though I’m very excited to come home, I’m equally as sad to leave my family and home here.

My stay here has resulted in being much different than I expected. When I left the States, I expected more of a vacation for 4 months than anything. Though I’ve been to many exciting places and seen many beautiful views, these four months have been an experience of meeting new people and building friendships. The family and friends that I’ve met here have proven to be the most important part of my stay.

For anyone that is considering traveling abroad, or preparing to travel, you should prepare yourself not for a vacation, but for a normal life, with the excitement being meeting new people from all over the world, learning about them, understanding their perspectives and personalities, and appreciating them for the heritage and culture they live in. I can say from my experience, that though it’s definitely been hard a points, meeting new people from all over the world (in my experience: Japan, Germany, Hong Kong, New Zealand, England, etc) has been wonderful. I surprised myself by how fast I was able to make friends, and have really enjoyed the time I’ve been able to spend with them.

I’ve also found it to be a wonderful experience to live with a host family. This also comes with it’s difficult times, but once you start to know them, and spend more and more time with them, you’ll start to really love and appreciate them more then you ever thought you would.

With only a week and a half left, I’ll start packing soon and saying my goodbyes. The rest of this week we will have a few more field trips, tomorrow’s trip (weather permitting) will be a surfing lesson. In the past week or so we’ve been kayaking and sailing on the Wellington Harbor, visited a bird sanctuary, fed chicken legs to pet eels, been to the beach (a few times), went swimming, and many more things.

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