There are no words to express how much I fell in love with New Zealand as a country including it's people, food and most importantly, its never ending adventures!
The first week in New Zealand consisted of participating the AustraLearn Culture week where we were at a rented out hotel with just us students and got introduced to many different parts of the Kiwi and Maori lifestyle in New Zealand. This week was a great start to my time in NZ because they gave us the opportunity to experience many different things (caving, white water rafting, Zorbing etc.) and also participate in a volunteer day where we were able to give back to the community. Not only did I get to know the NZ culture a bit better, I also made some really good friends, who are still my best friends even after we're all back home! It was a great bonding time for all of us because we were all in the same position after leaving home, family, friends, boyfriends/girlfriends so we could all relate and use that bond to continue a friendship once we got to Dunedin.
Once in Dunedin, it was never-ending adventures. There were so many things to do and see and the on campus centers really helped us get involved in different excursions or trips. Some of the things I got to do were: hitchhike around the peninsula, go on a skiing trip to Queenstown, camping in the Catlins, go sea kayaking, skydive in Moteuka, visit Mount Taranaki, see the capital of NZ (Wellington) and many many other things.
In between all of the adventures, we did actually have to attend class which for me, coming from University of Minnesota, the classes were not that much different. I had class sizes ranging from 30 to about 400 students. I did study hard while in NZ but I also made sure that I wasn't missing too many adventures for homework! I learned a good balance between the two.
Kiwis (New Zealand natives) are some of the nicest and funniest people you'll ever meet in your life. They are so welcoming to different cultures and backgrounds so it was never hard to make friends. Their fun-loving, laid-back attitude really helped for us international students to fit in and feel safe when around them. Some of my good friends that came out of my time in NZ are kiwis and I think I'll be friends with them for a very long time!
Based on all of these things and many other small details of my time abroad, I would 10000000% recommend studying at University of Otago in New Zealand. It was the best 7 months of my life and I plan on going back and hopefully spending a majority of my life there! You would never regret spending a second in New Zealand, I can promise you that!