Why did you decide to study abroad with Globalinks in New Zealand?
I first decided to study in Wellington, New Zealand, after considering other locations like Switzerland and Denmark. GlobaLinks is the official provider for my school, so I didn't have much initial choice of provider. I did calculate my costs if I enrolled directly and planned my own travel without GlobaLinks, and it wasn't cheaper. I'm happy I chose GlobaLinks because they provided great support and activities that allowed me to start my time abroad with 20 new friends.
I also used GlobaLinks' knowledge pool to help me travel smarter my on-site advisor in Wellington gave me great advice for my trip to Australia.
What made this study abroad experience unique and special?
The amazing friends I made while abroad. In one semester, I gained several close friends from New Zealand - and from the rest of the world. This summer when I travel to Europe, I'll stay with some friends I made in New Zealand! I had a chance to be an entirely new person away from my friends and family.
I also had some incredible experiences: hitch-hiking, backpacking, sailing, heli-skiing, doing a bike winery tour, a 2-week road-trip, rappelling down waterfalls inside caves, and many more.
How has this experience impacted your future?
I became more extroverted and able to make new friends.When I was traveling alone in New Zealand, Australia, and Fiji, I learned that making great friends starts with a simple conversation and finding points in common. I became more self-reliant when I had to address tough situations while traveling: missing a flight and sleeping in an airport, or spending the night alone in an abandoned hospital while hitch-hiking. Professionally, I realized that an ideal job would allow for lots of travel and prepared me to launch my current venture, an international medical promotional-products startup. I didn't need any academic credits from my semester, so I took fun, interesting classes like "Globalization in the Pacific" and "International Security." Since I wasn't worried about my grades, I just had fun with the essays and assignments and ended up getting all A's!
If you could do-over one thing, what would it be?
Studying abroad for a year instead of a semester! Actually, I wish that I hadn't traveled alone for a month at the end of the semester. I would have had more fun with at least one friend on my travels. And an entire month alone was exhausting. However, it also forced me to meet more people while traveling and gave me greater flexibility.
Describe a goal you set and how you went about accomplishing it.
I wanted to live like a local and have an experience that was uniquely Kiwi. I spent as much time as possible with Kiwis, and was very involved with the Tramping (backpacking) Club which was very large and social. I went to the farmers' markets, learned a dozen words in Maori, and hitch-hiked to meet locals. I traveled almost every weekend to see the country. By the end of the semester, I felt like I got along better with Kiwis than with Americans perhaps achieving my goal too well!