The Study Abroad Experience: Dunedin, New Zealand

Kia Ora! The means “hello” in Maori, the native language of New Zealand. I am currently spending my semester studying abroad in Dunedin, New Zealand at the University of Otago.

I left snowy U.S. and arrive in New Zealand in early February, and since New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere of the world, I get to enjoy Dunedin in the late summer/early fall. Hope you’re enjoying the snow – I sure don’t miss it!

I’m having a blast nearly 9,000 miles away from Elizabethtown College. For those that don’t know, New Zealand is located southeast of Australia, and their first language in English, though the Maori language is still commonly spoken.

The people here – we call them Kiwis, because the kiwi is the national animal of New Zealand – are incredibly friendly and accepting of exchange students like myself. I often get asked by friendly locals whereabouts I’m from in the U.S., which can quickly turn into a 20 minute or more conversation about why I’ve chosen to come to New Zealand; Kiwis sure do love to chat!

I choose to study abroad in New Zealand because it is a country for adventurers, which is exactly how I would describe myself. I choose to travel 9,000 miles to New Zealand alone, even thought I’d never left the U.S. before!

I fell in love with the country upon arrival. The friendly Kiwis, warm weather, incredibly stunning views, exotic wildlife and mountains to climb all captured my heart immediately.

I’ve been here for a month and a half now, and I’ve already hiked and camped all around the South Island – Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, Mount Cargill, Buttar’s Peak, North Routeburn Track, the Catlins and so many others. If visiting New Zealand isn’t already on your bucket list, it needs to be. Coming to New Zealand has changed my life, and I never want to leave!

Please note: Student Samantha Staub ’20 originally wrote this article for The Etownian’s weekly ‘Study Abroad Experience’ article. It was originally published on March 22, 2018. The Etownian is Elizabethtown College’s student newspaper.

About the Author – Samantha Staub ’20

Sammi is an education major and creative writing minor, who studied abroad in Dunedin, New Zealand for the spring 2018 semester. While abroad, she participated in the University of Otago’s Education Program, which included a 5-week practical experience observing and teaching in schools.

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