Study abroad is a daunting possibility on numerous levels. For some, the prospect of a foreign language may be terrifying while for others it may be the distance from home. For me, the necessity of being alone and needed to make new friends was incredibly scary. Ironically, it ended up being the friends I met in New Zealand that made my whole experience phenomenal. There is something unifying about choosing to study somewhere so remote and so wild as New Zealand and I quickly found that the qualities that drew me to such a place were qualities shared by my peers. This being said, I would have never have discovered this if IES had not provided such a safe and easy social transition. From day one, they united us (the 24 American students) as a team and through meals, activities and field trips we explored our new city and we developed our new friendships. All of the experiences I had in New Zealand would stand alone as spectacular however they would not have been possible without the tight knit group of people I found. Therefore, if you find yourself day dreaming of weekend hikes to snow capped crystal blue pools or through golden green forests (all while taking college courses and gaining credit of course) I could not recommend New Zealand more. Also, on the possibility that you (like I) are daunted by a novel social scene- fear not. The aspects that draw you into New Zealand will be mirrored in the people you meet there and although on the surface they may seem quite different, you are all united in this experience.