A couple of years ago, I was feeling stuck and uninspired in the U.S.A. I was slogging through as a teacher and barely pursuing my creative writing. I needed to mix things up and I wanted a change of scene!
As I researched places to study around the world, there was something magnetic about New Zealand, a multicultural and beautiful place, a land of rare beauty and rare birds, magical stories, great adventure and so much more. I wanted to live abroad, to surround myself with a new and enriching atmosphere, and to pursue a graduate degree in my field of passion, Creative Writing. In every way, New Zealand fit the bill and quickly rose to the top of my list for destinations where I could go back to school.
After researching programs across the U.K., Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, I applied for my Ph.D. at the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington. I was drawn to apply to the IIML primarily because I was impressed with the work and writing of the faculty, students, and alumni. As a writer, I felt an affinity with the work coming out of the IIML. Even though it was the farthest away -- “on another planet,” my mother complained -- I felt pulled to New Zealand.
The decision to live so far away from friends and family in the U.S. was not an easy one, and living abroad continues to have its challenges, but these are challenges my husband and I are happy to take on and experience. I feel lucky and privileged to have this opportunity to pursue my professional education, but also to be educated by leaving our home country and living abroad.
I am learning to open my mind and heart to living outside the box, go off the beaten path, try something new and scary, take risks and adapt, experience other cultures, and appreciate some things about the U.S. that we previously took for granted. My worldview is no longer American-centric; I’ve gained empathy and admiration for how other people live in the world.
If you are considering a graduate degree abroad, New Zealand may be the perfect destination for you, as it is for me. Here are some of the many reasons that might convince you.