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A Look Back at a Semester in New Zealand

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at LUM chapter.

On July 13, 2022, I left for New Zealand for a four-month study abroad program. When I applied for the program in November, I believed I would feel prepared for living in New Zealand in the months leading up to our departure date. I paid attention during program meetings and tried to educate myself on my own, because I didn’t really know anything about New Zealand other than that it is incredibly far away. 

After a four-hour flight to Houston and then a fifteen-hour flight to Auckland, my study abroad group arrived in New Zealand at about seven in the morning. Our first day was not the slow, smooth type I imagined it to be; after being dropped off at our housing, we were told we had an hour to get ready before going to our orientation. After dropping my stuff, squeezing in a quick shower, and digging out an outfit from my suitcase, our advisor met and led us to the University of Auckland. We were introduced to our daily walk to class: what felt like an almost never-ending hill. I would later find that hill to be one of the easier ones to climb in Auckland, a city I did not expect to be so hilly. After orientation, our advisor said she would see us at dinner and to let her know if we were having trouble getting there. It felt like getting abandoned; we had just arrived in a new place and had no idea where we were or how to get around. 

After the initial shock of being in a new place wore off, I fell into daily routines. I was adjusting to a new, larger university, getting myself around the city without any maps, and learning how different life in New Zealand was than at home. I became friends with my roommates and other kids from New Zealand, they helped us make sure we didn’t miss going to any of their favorite spots. Every new place we traveled the words, “this is the prettiest place I’ve ever been” came out of my mouth. Our trips covered most of the North Island, a visit to the South Island, and to Australia! At the cost of my bank account, I adopted the mentality of “do it while you can”, and said yes to every trip I could. 

When picking a place to study abroad, I wanted to go somewhere I may never have the opportunity to go again. After spending four months in New Zealand, I can’t accept that I may never get to go there again. Before studying abroad, I never expected to feel so comfortable in a place over 14,000 miles away from home. After studying abroad, I can’t stop talking about how much I miss my life in New Zealand. It is funny to look back to the first day there, unsure of how I would adjust and if I would like living abroad. Now that I am back home, I wish I was back there, feeling pretty scared, about to make a home away from home. 

Mary is a junior at Loyola University Maryland from Fairfield, CT. Mary is a chemistry major with a writing minor. She is a writer for HC, and is excited to share her work.