After my first semester in New Zealand came to a close, my next question was: What am I going to do for the break between semesters? Because of the way that the school year works in New Zealand, the break that would be winter break at SDSU is actually the summer break for AUT. Right when the semester ended I traveled to Sydney, Australia with some friends (you can see my vlog about it in my previous blog post). But I still had from the end of November until the 24th of February. So I thought it would be fun to talk about what I’ve been doing for the past couple months.
A new semester is almost upon us, and that means a new group of SDSU students are heading out to study abroad destinations all around the globe! This spring, nine of them will be blogging for SDSU Be International.
Before you follow them on their journeys of discovery, let’s get to know a little bit about them!
My study abroad program at Auckland University of Technology is coming to an abrupt end. I left for New Zealand just about four and a half months ago, and time has gone by seemingly in the blink of an eye. While there have been instances where it felt that time was moving slower than molasses — especially right before my departures for trips and during exam weeks — it’s hard to believe that I will be boarding a plane to the United States within the week.
My three weeks traveling throughout New Zealand have come to an end, and my trip has left me in awe of the spectacular scenery and natural wonder of this amazing country. I spent two weeks driving through the South Island in a rental car, and then explored the North Island for the third week in a minivan modified to include a refrigerator, cookware and a small bed. My campervan journey through New Zealand was incredible, and because my words can’t come close to doing the experience the justice it deserves, I invite you to take a look at the best pictures I took over the second part of my trip.
After a grueling three weeks of testing, writing papers and putting together presentations, I’ve finally reached the the promised land that is the two week mid-semester break. Similar to SDSU, at my university in New Zealand the due dates of exams and other large assignments are in quick succession of each other within a two to three week stretch. Consequently, the time before the beginning of the mid-semester break was stressful to say the least.
Last weekend I went on my first excursion outside of the Auckland area to a region called as Waitomo. It’s a place with beautiful scenery and much to do and see. I was drawn to this part of New Zealand mainly by the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, a network of underground streams and rock formations home to bio luminescent fly larvae (they produce light and a sticky hanging substance in order to attract insects to eat). I found out about this area while doing my pre-departure research back in the United States, and after learning more about the caves through videos and local tour websites, I was determined to see the glowworms with my own eyes.
After many weeks of waiting, numerous applications and forms completed, and a nearly 30-hour long journey, I am finally here in Auckland, New Zealand to begin my semester program at Auckland University of Technology (AUT). It’s surreal to realize that I’m actually living in a foreign country thousands of miles away from my home, California, where I have lived for my entire life.