Why did you decide to study abroad with TEAN at VUW in NZ?
Kelley: It was first really hard to go through all of the Study Abroad program catalogues and see what I would be getting most out of the provider for my money. Naturally, I had help with the Global Education office on campus, but in the end it was up to me. I felt that The Education Abroad Network was the best fit because it had a lot of extra trips and activities for about the same price as other programs that didn't include. Pre-semester trip to Fiji was so amazing I would never take it back! The extra bells and whistles of TEAN's program really pulled me in initially, but then talking to an adviser I also realized they wouldn't be as 'hand-holding' as some others too. And I definitely wanted my freedom and independence on this trip.
What made your study abroad experience unique and special?
Kelley: My experience abroad was different than any other trip I have ever had. Granted I didn't spend much time abroad before New Zealand (only a few trips to Canada), but the culture and liveliness of the country absorbed me. It was winter in New Zealand, yet it only snowed and got cold up on the mountain. Fresh greens and flowering plants were left undisturbed at the base creating this dislocated feeling of ecstasy. Everywhere I looked there was something new, different, ready for me to experience. The country of New Zealand is so small as well that I was able to travel everywhere!
Though the main reason my trip was unique is because I was able to travel with my best friend, Jaime. She is a student at Keene State College in New Hampshire where unfortunately they don't provide TEAN as an abroad program. Though with the help of the TEAN advisers we were able to to pull the strings and have her travel along with me. TEAN really put in the effort to make what we wanted to happen.
How has this experience impacted your future?
Kelley: I feel that since I studied abroad it changed who I am as a person. I am way more outgoing and more motivated to step outside of my comfort zone. I know I can live independently and how to manage my time. For the first time in my life I was booking my own reservations, travel information and so on. I had to go grocery shopping and cook for myself. I needed to budget my money to get the most out of what little I had. I grew from my time abroad as well as the people I met while over there.
Also, it looks great on a resume to have studied abroad. To have put yourself out there globally and see an international insight of what other countries see the United States as. It's very enlightening to have stepped way outside of the box and look inside.