I believe my urge to travel started in high school, when I participated in an exchange program with students from Spain. It was a lot of fun and I really liked my two weeks living in Toledo, Spain, but I decided to switch it up in college and chose to live in New Zealand for four and a half months. I regret nothing. Here is a quick rundown of my amazing time in Dunedin, NZ:
I lived in a spacious flat on Forth Street with my kiwi host and three other international students, right next door to another flat of five students. We each had our own room with a double bed, dresser, and desk. Each flat came equipped with a kitchen and laundry room. All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better flat or location, since I was five minutes from the veggie stand, gym, and school buildings.
Surprising, there were a ton of Indian BYO’s. Needless to say, I made some progress in liking Indian food, but I’m still not quite there yet. Maybe I’ll have to go back for another few months to fully like curry!
We did not eat out all the time, though. My flatmates and I took turns making dinner during the week—which is extremely cost effective. It surprised me at first because when it’s your turn to cook, you have to cook extra for everyone, but I saved so much money because I only had to cook once a week.
This way, you can try foods that your flatmates cook from their home, so you get to try new things not just from New Zealand! As long as you aren’t a picky eater, or at least willing to try new things, it’s a good setup.
I took four classes that worked toward fulfilling my core requirements for E-town. They included: Human Development, Waiata: Te Timatanga, Introductory Spanish, and Roman Social History. My favorite was Waiata: Te Timatanga, because they taught us how to perform traditional Maori dances – poi for the women and the haka for the men. In this class, we learned a several songs in Maori (even if we didn’t understand what each word was, we memorized them in song form) and performed them as a class. At the end of the semester, we all dressed up in their cultural garments and took to the stage with our poi, haka, and songs.
There are several grocery stores you can visit that are all walking distance, but I would advise hitching a ride with a friend, since you’d have to lug all your food back home. The main part of town is called the Octagon and has many restaurants, shops, and even a mall. Basically, it has everything you need.
Past the Octagon is the route to head to St. Clair Beach. A lot of surfers will spend time here and there is a lot of sand space to relax. If you like doing runs on sand, this is one of the best beaches for it, because your feet don’t slip, slide, and sink into it.
The big draw to come to New Zealand is their nature. If you look up “prettiest country ever” in the dictionary, this country would be an example. I spent some time in the nearby areas, such as Queenstown and Milford Sound, and far-away locations up in the North Island.
Some friends and I had some free time during finals so we took a plane to Auckland and traveled around the North Island for a week before flying back in time to finish out our exams. It was my first time being in the North Island and it did not disappoint. We saw the redwoods, hot springs, a beautiful beach (where I accidentally lost my phone in the ocean), and stayed in several different hostels.
Living in New Zealand for nearly five months wasn’t nearly long enough, but by that point I was also wishing to see my family again. Next time, I’ll just have to bring them with me!
About the Author – Liz Driver ’19, Spring 2017 Dunedin, New Zealand alumna
I am a senior communications major and business minor at the great college of E-town. During my second semester of sophomore year, I decided to study abroad at the University of Otago in Dunedin, NZ. One of my favorite memories is traveling to the North Island for a week with two friends and being cool tourists as we slept in hostels and visited as many landmarks as we could in seven days. I currently serve as an Outreach Coordinator for the Study Abroad Office.
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