Leave Your Comfort Zone: Join Clubs Abroad

Aubrey Maryniak ’19 is a biochemistry major at Elizabethtown College. Aubrey’s hobbies include taking photos, hiking, painting, cooking, and yoga.  While abroad in Dunedin, New Zealand, she had the opportunity to work as a BCA Study Abroad Storyteller. To make the most of her experience, she became involved in clubs on the University of Otago’s campus.

Aubrey was an active member of the Dunedin Fire and Circus Club (DFCC). Upon joining, she was given a set of poi and was shown how to use them. Poi is an indigenous craft which originated with the Maori people. It is made of two ropes with weights tied on the end and were used to learn coordination and build wrist strength for warriors.

Because Aubrey did not understand how to use the poi, she attempted to use a staff instead. Another club member immediately came to help her. Although struggling, Aubrey realized there were a variety of skills in the room. She set a goal to find something she was passionate about and to grow close to the people who had seemed to accept her so quickly.

After practice was over, the club took part in the burn. At this point, the club members began to work with fire. Another club member taught Audrey how to complete a weave with the poi and then gave her a set of flaming poi to try. With her adrenaline pumping, Audrey had found her passion within the club.

From this point onward, she met many individuals in the DFCC community. She learned their individuals stories and saw how their background shown through with their performance styles. Aubrey always felt a warmth at DFCC, from the people and the fire.

DFCC is all about personal and communal growth. It is about breaking down fears, finding beauty in nature, and learning to put passion into life. The people Aubrey met at the DFCC helped her realize these things and have given her high hopes of the future.

*Click on the hyperlinks above to learn more about the Dunedin, New Zealand program and to read Aubrey’s original blog published by BCA Study Abroad on January 24, 2018.

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